Questions concerned comprehension and understanding the finer aspects of individual words or phrases, with or without a context in which they are expressed.

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5
votes
6answers
334 views

Using 老头 / 老头子 when speaking to others

I'm trying to get some clarification on whether or not it is impolite to use 老头 / 老头子 when speaking outside a group of friends when referring to a third party. From my understanding 老头 is quite ...
5
votes
5answers
292 views

What is the difference between 投诉 and 抱怨?

is there a difference between 投诉 and 抱怨? All I know is that they both mean "complain".
5
votes
2answers
205 views

Why is 土著人 used for Aboriginal people in Australia?

In Australia it is quite common to talk about Aboriginal people as they feature quite often when talking about sports, Olympics or politics. The word that is used to describe Aboriginal people by ...
5
votes
9answers
804 views

Is 我很对不起你 a unique sentence structure?

I'd never seen or heard this before until I recently watched a TV series and had to ask my wife to explain. My initial guess was that it meant "I feel sorry for you" when in fact it means something ...
5
votes
4answers
233 views

太: Meaning in 灰太狼

灰太狼 灰太狼 (A character in a TV show) is translated in English as "Grey Wolf". What has happened to the 太, wouldn't 灰狼 be enough to mean "Grey Wolf"?
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Why does the word 萌 mean “cute”?

A friend of mine said in a photo of me, my eyes looked very 萌(meng2). 你的眼睛很萌 My dictionary defines 萌 as; 萌 méng (动) sprout; bud; germinate But apparently in this context it means ...
5
votes
3answers
197 views

Meaning of '沒梗'?

你為什麼打我? 是沒梗了嗎? I'm wondering what 沒梗 means in this context. I know the literal translation is 'no stem', but I'm sure there should be an idiomatic meaning to it.
5
votes
4answers
339 views

What is the meaning of ㄝ?

From wikipedia: ㄝ是注音符号中的韵母之一,字形取自“世”字,发音则取“世”字之韵。 But I am not seeing how it should be used, and what is the meaning of this. Anyone knows what is the meaning of this, and when it should be ...
5
votes
2answers
309 views

What does 餅乾 mean in Taiwan?

I'm unfamiliar with the variety of Mandarin spoken in Taiwan, so I was surprised to see a chilli-snack 香脆椒 referred to as 餅乾: http://mall.tw100years.com/goods.php?id=9 ...
5
votes
5answers
477 views

Another meaning of 同志

Is it true that 同志 have some different meaning. Like gay (as in homosexual) or something. I know that during the XX century in China and communist Russia it was very common to call people 同志(товарищ). ...
5
votes
2answers
227 views

What is the difference between 人民 and 民族?

What is the difference between 人民 and 民族, for example in 中华人民 vs. 中华民族?
5
votes
2answers
389 views

Pattern in the Chinese numbers 1 to 9

I know a lot of Chinese characters are either a symbol of something or a combination of symbols in the space of one character, so what's the origin of the symbol for numbers 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9? since ...
5
votes
5answers
349 views

寻 找 , 就 寻 见: I do not understand the second “xún”

At the website http://learnchinesethrubible.org/ I find the following phrase: seek and you will find 寻 找 , 就 寻 见 I do not understand the second "xún". In the dictionary http://www.mdbg.net I ...
5
votes
2answers
795 views

Who exactly is a 干妈

This dictionary translates 干妈 as "Godmother", and my pocket dictionary also gives "nominal mother". In English, "Godmother" and "Godfather" are very specific titles - Your Godparents are the people ...
5
votes
1answer
143 views

What is the meaning of 不同而不同?

This is taken from the phrase: 口感依成分不同而不同 Sounds like it means "manifold" or something like that?
5
votes
4answers
3k views

Meaning of “去你的头”

I just heard "去你的头" in a joke, and while it sounds like an approving "go ahead" OR "go with your head/what you think" I realized at the end of the joke it's kind of an equivalent of "go f*** yourself" ...
5
votes
3answers
404 views

What is the “Chinese Dream?” (中国梦) [closed]

Sorry if this is getting too non-language specific, but I think it still has language merits that fit the sites requirements. 中国梦 we really don't need a translation as it's clearly just a play on 美国梦 ...
5
votes
1answer
230 views

What does 触控 mean in this sentence?

I was busy reading about Apple's new textbook announcement on Engadget China, and I came across the following sentence: 使用者将可轻松地以触控的方式浏览教科书内容. What is the meaning of 触控 in this sentence? (My ...
5
votes
2answers
193 views

Usage and meaning of “占我的便宜”

My understanding of 占我的便宜 means something similar to 吃豆腐 and I have never heard it used outside of taking sexual advantage. Can this be used in other contexts? Google translate suggests it means "take ...
5
votes
2answers
290 views

How to translate 'hyper-','super-' and 'ultra-' exactly?

The prefixes hyper-, super-, and ultra- seems all has meaning 'transcend' or 'upper class' and can all be translated to '超'. But they have a bit difference, e.g. hypergiant is larger than supergiant; ...
5
votes
1answer
215 views

Meanings behind “吹牛” and “拍马屁”

I would like to find out more about the two sayings "吹牛" and "拍马屁". How these sayings come about and get their current meanings? 吹牛 chuīniú meaning to brag 拍马屁 pāimǎpì meaning to excessively ...
5
votes
3answers
177 views

What is the difference between 撒谎 and 说谎?

As far as I know, 撒谎 and 说谎 have the same meaning of "telling a lie". Is there a difference between them?
5
votes
3answers
507 views

Why does 拉倒 mean “forget about it”?

拉倒 is a word that can mean "forget about it". For example: 鲁迅 《华盖集续编·马上支日记》:“现在这书既然借不到,只好拉倒了。” This seems strange though, because 拉倒 literally means "to pull over". What is the etymology of this ...
5
votes
1answer
90 views

Why is 相 pronounced with a fourth tone in some cases?

I notice that 相 is pronounced xiang1 in most cases, but xiang4 in a few, mostly less-common words and phrases. The most commonly-used examples seem to be 照相 zhàoxiàng 'photo'; 照相机 zhàoxiàngjī ...
5
votes
2answers
133 views

Is the difference between and saying 有时 and 会偶尔 very big?

Does one imply a much greater frequency? What about register? Is the difference between and saying 有时 and 会偶尔 very big, or is it in all cases quite close?
4
votes
5answers
518 views

When to use 想 versus 喜欢?

Could someone please give we a hint when to use either of those?! My take is that 想 is used for actions and 喜欢 for things!? Am I right?
4
votes
2answers
254 views

What is the difference in meaning between 应变 and 适应 here?

Is there a difference in meaning between 应变能力 and 适应能力 in this sentence? If so, can you please try to explain it? 公司领导人认为,在未来十年的商战中,最重要的武器是应变能力、适应能力和创新能力。 Thanks!
4
votes
6answers
497 views

Is Mandarin impossible for my goals?

Since years ago I have been studying some languages with the major goal of being able to read texts, complex or not, written under them. My native is Portuguese (from Brazil) and nowadays I have no ...
4
votes
2answers
90 views

Meaning of “不了” in “忘不了/喝不了/…”

I know that 了 after a verb means a completion or termination of a certain action, such as: 吃飽了 (I am) full. 開始了 (It) has started. 不動了 (It) is not moving anymore. But what about 了 ...
4
votes
3answers
56 views

Formality of “悲哀” as opposed to “悲傷” and “哀傷”

From what I have learned, or I remember I have learned, 悲哀, 悲傷, and 哀傷 all mean sadness and are interchangeable. However, as I remember, I have read 悲傷 and 哀傷 in academic/professional writings, but ...
4
votes
4answers
537 views

Difference between 我饿了 and 我很饿?

Someone tried to explain the difference in this answer http://chinese.stackexchange.com/a/43/38 saying that 我饿了 means "I became hungry", but I don't see the difference because we don't say I became ...
4
votes
3answers
317 views

What does 自个 mean: “since a” or “onself”

As a title, I have found to meanings for 自个: "since a" or "oneself", what is correct and how to translate it?
4
votes
1answer
674 views

Does 给你 mean “Here you go?”

I found a very short sentence on tatoeba.org. All it says is, "给你。" That literally means "Give you," but what does it really mean? My best guess is that I could say it as I give something to you, ...
4
votes
1answer
284 views

What is the difference between 变成、变化、变得、改变、转变?

There are five 变 here, so what is the difference between 变成、变化、变得、改变、转变? Thanks!
4
votes
2answers
119 views

山火 vs 野火 vs 丛林大火: Chinese for “bushfire”

I would imagine that 山火 meant "a fire in the mountains", but the dictionary lists "wildfire / forest fire". Is 山火 then a generic word for an out of control fire? What about 野火? I saw 山火 on the news, ...
4
votes
6answers
402 views

What does 糗大 (qiǔdà) mean?

What does 糗大 (qiǔdà) mean in the following phrase? 那才真的糗大了。 From context, I think it ought to mean something like "that would really be terrible" or "that would be far worse," but I can't find ...
4
votes
2answers
323 views

Meaning of 白 in words for “nonsense”?

There are a number of Chinese words containing the 白 character that all mean "nonsense" or "speaking nonsense": 白呼 夸白 白话 What's the significance of 白 in these words? 白 usually means ...
4
votes
2answers
287 views

Need help understanding 爱慕虚荣

I came across this phrase 爱慕虚荣 today in a piece of writing. When I use Goggle translate it tells me 爱慕虚荣 means "vain", but 虚荣 by itself also means "vain" and when I search for "vain" and ask for the ...
4
votes
2answers
70 views

What is the original meaning of 匈 (besides “chest/breast/thorax”)?

The Wikipedia article on the 匈奴 gives a literal translation as 'fierce slaves'. Did 匈 mean 'fierce' in former times? What is the etymology of this character?
4
votes
1answer
85 views

What does “蕊屁” mean?

At https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyNNvgW1dSg&lc=z13jt1khfxr4zzw0k225sjfzzyn1hhebs04, someone wrote: 看完電影後整晚都在蕊屁OST Another person wrote in reply: +1 瘋狂蕊批 What does "蕊屁" mean?
4
votes
2answers
245 views

Why should I choose 几乎 over 将近?

I had this 填空。 我国与其他国家_____ 同时起步,在这一项目上有一定的实力。 I could choose 似乎,几乎,将近,曾经 I can't see much difference between 几乎 and 将近, I am told 几乎 is correct. I there a definite, palpable reason for this?
4
votes
6answers
342 views

How to parse 没得 + Verb constructions

I've heard phrases of the form 没得V, where V is a verb. Sometimes, the 没得 appears to function like 没, e.g., 我没得选: I don't have a choice. Sometimes, it appears to function like a softer, ...
4
votes
1answer
150 views

What is the difference between 竟然 and 居然?

As I know, 竟然 and 居然 both mean "unexpectedly". Do they have any difference?
4
votes
1answer
181 views

演 = 氵+ 寅 but what's it got to do with water!? How did it get its modern meanings?

氵+ 寅 = 演 zisea 拼音:yan3 ①根据事理推广发挥:推~。讲~(亦作“演讲”)。~义(以史书及传说的材料为基础,增添一些细节,用章回体写成的小说)。~绎(一种推理方法,由一般原理推出关于特殊情况下的结论)。 ②依照程式练习:~练。~示。~算。~武。~习。~兵场。 ③不断变化:~变。~化。 ...
3
votes
7answers
524 views

How does “多” work in this describing sentence “多好看啊!”?

I know 多 means many. But in some cases, it is used as in this sentence, such as this one: "多好看啊!" How exactly does it work? Thanks!
3
votes
7answers
470 views

What does 起来 mean in this phrase?

把被子收起来吧. Translation: Let's put the quilt away. In other circumstances, 起来 means to get up but here there is a different meaning, and from the definitions I can't decide which definition is ...
3
votes
7answers
523 views

Difference between 坏 and 破

Looking for some concrete answers on the difference between 坏 and 破 From what I have been able to understand: 坏 bad: as in 坏人 (bad person) or 鱼坏了 (rotten food) broken: as in 手机坏了 (broken mobile ...
3
votes
4answers
576 views

Why do people say “吃飽了嗎”

I have heard my Chinese-speaking friends asking each other 吃飽了嗎? several times when they are done or almost done with their own meal. And I have wondered, "Why would they ask others such question? ...
3
votes
4answers
443 views

What is the pronunciation of 行 according to its context?

行 can be pronunced háng or xíng. As far as I have seen, it means "OK, to go, profession", and many more other meanings. Could you briefly summarize the usage of it and its corresponding ...
3
votes
6answers
323 views

Requesting an English translation for 来 in 你哪儿来的这么多书? compatible with a Chinese-to-English dictionary

I am a Caucasian American with English as my native language. I want to improve my knowledge of the Mandarin Chinese language. I found the following question in Modern Chinese Beginner's Course 3, ...