I had this text: 我的性格比较好静,让我发言或接受采访我就犯晕。

First I thought 犯晕 is a word, but I can't find it as a word.
I see 犯 can mean 'recurrence of something bad'. I also found:

英雄犯大错误。 Great men (often) have great faults.

In this kind of context, can 犯 be 'often'??

6 Answers 6



/faan6/ /faan6*2 / ( jyutping)

/ fan4 / (pinyin)

[1] [v] offend; violate; go against

[2] [v] invade; attack; encroach on

[3] [n] criminal; convict; culprit

[4] [v] suffer recurrence of (illness, bad habit, etc)

In the context of :

「犯頭暈」,「犯作嘔」,「犯肚痛」「犯口癢」and 「犯儍」,「犯」means " suffer recurrence of "(see [4])

  • 「犯頭暈」= "suffer recurrence of fainting"
  • 「犯作嘔」= "suffer recurrence of vomiting "
  • 「犯肚痛」= " suffer recurrence of stomachache"
  • 「犯口癢」= " suffer recurrence of open my big mouth."
  • 「犯儍」 = " suffer recurrence of stupidity."

The word "often " describe an event happens frequently, but not regularly; while "recurrence" means something happens repeatedly, regularly. Therefore, The answer to your question is: "No" - 「 犯」doesn't mean " often", it means: " repeatedly suffering"

*「犯暈」is short for 「犯頭暈」

Can I just translate 犯 as often?

You could translate 犯 as "repeatedly suffer"

"I repeatedly suffer fainting every time they ask me to make a speech or take an interview."


It simply means :" The hero made (committed) a big mistake."

  • Thanks for the answer, I like long answers! Here: ce.linedict.com/dict.html#/cnen/example?query=%E7%8A%AF they translate 英雄犯大错误。 as 'Great men have great faults.' Can't agree with your definition of 'recurrence' 'recur' really means re-run, from the Latin. Something repeats, but regularity is neither implied nor excluded. 'recurrence: an occasion when something happens again' (MacMillan)
    – Gangosa
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 23:01
  • You do know the 犯 (commit/ perpetrate) in 英雄犯大错误 is not the same as the 犯(suffer recurrence of) in 犯頭暈, right?
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Aug 28, 2016 at 0:04
  • No, did not know that, my Chinese is not good enough! Above you listed 4 meanings for 犯, but commit/perpetrate was not among them. I know however that Chinese words can be very flexibly interpreted when translating. That's what makes Chinese hard but interesting! My best guess is 犯晕 is 'confused'.
    – Gangosa
    Commented Aug 28, 2016 at 4:29
  • @Gangosa please read this thread and you would know why commit/perpetrate was not among the definitions cantonese.sheik.co.uk/phorum/read.php?1,137948
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Aug 28, 2016 at 6:18


犯晕 doesn't mean fainting in the literal sense, rather it means getting a bit bewildered, drowsy or tired as a result of information overload.

  • Do you regard 犯晕 as a word?
    – Gangosa
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 9:26
  • 2
    A word, a set phrase, whatever.
    – user4452
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 9:49
  • 1
    Here they use 'confused' for 犯晕 iciba.com/%E7%8A%AF%E6%99%95 That fits with 'a bit bewildered'.
    – Gangosa
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 22:31
  • 大人物有大缺憾 sound more right for 'Great men have great faults.'
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Aug 28, 2016 at 8:55

犯, in the very beginning of it's creation means "dog hurts people", the left radical 犭 implies animals, in this case is a dog(taking 狗,狼,猪,猫... for examples and you can find that they all have a 犭)

Given this background, the original meaning can be summarised as "to offend, to violate" or so, generally, what will you get if you offend/violate something? I'd say you will suffer from some bad results in most situations.

so, if you 犯晕, you will suffer from dizziness(will, not really dizziness, it only a metaphor here which means if people want you to give a talk or have an interview with you, you'll become embarrassed and have no ideas what to do, just like dizziness).

in summary, you can use 犯 in two ways:

  1. in an active way: to offend/to violate something(often rules, laws..). e.g. 犯罪 -> to commit a crime
  2. in a passive way: to suffer from something(more like an extension in meaning, you violate something hence you suffer the result). e.g. 犯晕,犯迷糊,犯傻,犯难, in this way you can simply translate it as "to be"

"犯" is always used before a word, which is a noun represent something bad of people, to describe something bad are occurring.

eg. 犯病,犯坏,犯傻,犯晕,犯浑

In your text, "让我发言或接受采访我就犯晕。", means that " the bad situation "fainting" will occur when you are asked to make a speech. There is no meaning about "often", you also can say 『我今天犯晕』.

So I don't think it is necessary to translate "犯" explicitly in your first sentence. You can just translate it as "always feel faint".

"英雄犯大错误" , there isn't a idiom like this, and the "犯" has the same meaning as "犯晕", "大错误" is something bad of people same as "傻", "坏", "错".

Actually, there is an implicit "often" in this sentence, but not because of the "犯" and it's because of the logic of the sentence. It means that :

If some one is a big man, his mistakes will alway get great influence. so in Chinese, it's same as "英雄犯的错误一般都是大错误".

We have a proverb like this : "淹死会水的",it also means:"被淹死的人一般都是会游泳的"




In these situations I think you can just translate "犯" as the word "make". "I'm quiet. Letting me speak in public or be interviewed will make me dizzy." "Great men will also make great faults." Or "Great men made great faults."

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