I was looking for examples in Mandarin of poetic two-character words. What words have the following form...

Verb + Noun

...where the noun is something that occurs in nature?

The first examples that spring to mind for me are 赏月 and 踏青.

  • 1
    the "verb+noun" pattern is common to see in Chinese words, but what do you mean by "poetic" in the title of the question? to be "poetic" would be subjective in my opinion.
    – Huang
    Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 11:49
  • (1) It's more than verb+noun; it's verb + natural noun. (2) Yes, "poetic" is a subjective term; interpret as you see fit.
    – user2251
    Commented Dec 26, 2012 at 0:41
  • 1
    I voted to close this question for two reasons: 1) it is too broad even when limited to poetic two characters verb + natural noun; 2) few users, if any, would be looking for such poetic two characters verb + natural noun for this question to be of useful value. Others who voted to close may have their own reasons.. Due to the open and voluntary nature of the moderating community, some may be more lenient while others more strict, but rest assured that there is nothing personal about it. You can try to ask this on Meta as it would be a better venue for such discussion.
    – 杨以轩
    Commented Jan 10, 2013 at 5:20

1 Answer 1


Everything can be poetic, especially Chinese write all kinds of poems ...

Part I - Nature/Astronomy

Nature 自然

乘风 乘風 Ride the Wind
破浪 破浪 Break the Eave

拈花 拈花 Touching Flower

采花 採花 Picking Flower
扑蝶 撲蝶 Catching Butterfly

看海 看海 Watch | Look | Admire the Sea
听涛 聽濤 Listen to the Wave

落花 落花 Flower Dropping 
流水 流水 Flowing Water
开花 開花 Blossom
结果 結果 Have Fruit

煮海 煮海 Boil the Sea
焚天 焚天 Burn the Sky

毀天 毀天 Destroy the Sky
灭地 滅地 Destroy the Ground/Earth(crust)

Astronomy 天象

追风 追風 Chasing the Wind
逐月 逐月 After the Moon
追星 追星 Chasing Star
逐日 逐日 After the Sun
摘星 摘星 Picking Star (as in Picking Flower)
采月 採月 Picking the Moon (as in Picking Flower)
奔月 奔月 Run to the Moon
赏月 賞月 Moon watching
观星 觀星 Star Gazing 
观天 觀天 Sky Watching
登天 登天 Ascend to the Sky/Haven

Part II - Extra

Daily Live 日常生活

修桥 修橋 Fixing Bridge
补路 補路 Repair Road
杀人 殺人 Killing People
放火 放火 Burning Houses

杀人放火金腰带  殺人放火金腰帶
修桥补路无尸骸  修橋補路無屍骸

    Those who kill
        who burn
            Wear a golden belt

    Those who build
        who fix
            Have no remains (Die and body not found)

登顶 登頂 Ascend to Top(Mountain)
登极 登極 Ascend to Top(Thrown)
上台 上台 Get on Stage / Win a seat (Political)
落台 落台 Lost the seat/position (Political)
落幕 落幕 Closing/End (Performance/Situation)

画眉 畫眉 Put on make up (specific for eyebrow)
弄妆 弄妝 Put on make up
添妆 添壯 Put on make up

Yin Yan Elements 陰陽五行

溶金 溶金 Melting Metal
生木 生木 Growing Wood
納水 納水 Absorbing Water
炼火 煉火 Refining Fire
归土 歸土 Returning to Earth
化阴 化陰 Digesting negative energy

Animal 飛禽走獸

骑虎 騎虎 Riding Tiger
骑鹤 騎鹤 Riding Crane

Direction 方向

东进 東進 Enter/Move towards east
东来 東來 Come to the east (from west)
西去 西去 Go west
北上 北上 Go up north
南下 南下 Go down south
归西 歸西 Return west (also mean dying / death)

Time 時間

不长命 不長命 Don't live long
留千年 留千年 Remain for millennium

Part III - Bonus

When we say poem, or poetic, we offend associate the term with beautiful, romantic, relax, all the positive side of life.

However, a lot of famous Chinese poem has nothing to do with the above. They are good, excellent poem. Their wording are beautiful (詞藻幽美/華麗), but not the scene they describe. They present some dark reality in a poetic form. Following are two examples

Poem about deep disparity between the rich and the poor

朱門酒肉臭    朱门酒肉臭
路有凍死骨    路有冻死骨
 (唐 杜甫)     (唐 杜甫)

    朱門 朱門 Red Door / Red Gate. In the past, only the wealthy can paint their door in red
    酒肉 酒肉 Wine and meat / Food
    臭   臭   Giving out rotten smell

    路有 路有 On the road / On the side of the road / On the ground / On the floor
    冻死 凍死 Die from coldness / Freeze to death
    骨   骨   Bone / Dead Bodies

Rotten food at wealthy door
Frozen bodies on the floor
(by Du Fu, Tang Dynasty)

Poem about courage and wish, disappointment and helplessness of a General

怒髮衝冠 憑欄處            怒发冲冠 凭栏处
瀟瀟雨歇 抬望眼            潇潇雨歇 抬望眼
仰天長嘯 壯懷激烈          仰天长啸 壮怀激烈

三十功名 塵與土            三十功名 尘与土
八千里路 雲和月            八千里路 云和月
莫等閑 白了少年頭 空悲切    莫等闲 白了少年头 空悲切

靖康恥 猶未雪             靖康耻 犹未雪
臣子恨 何時滅             臣子恨 何时灭
駕長車 踏破賀蘭山缺        驾长车 踏破贺兰山缺

壯志飢餐 胡虜肉            壮志饥餐 胡虏肉
笑談渴飲 匈奴血            笑谈渴饮 匈奴血
待從頭 收拾舊山河 朝天闕    待从头 收十旧山河 朝天阙
  (宋 岳飛)                  (宋 岳飞)

There is an extremely good translation here. I cannot beat that.


Previously included, but removed after review (Thanks NS.X for pointing out)

朝花 朝花 Morning Flower | Blossoming in the Morning
夕拾 夕拾 Picking Flower in Evening

The two do not meet OP required Verb+Noun formation, not even in reverse order. (I have to read like 6 times to realize it >.< )


Tradition/Simplified Chinese Conversion Web Site

  • This is an elaborated answer but op explicitly asked for V+N phrases. Besides 修桥/铺路/杀人/放火 is hardly poetic in common contexts.
    – NS.X.
    Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 19:27
  • LOL, down vote for what reason? :P I will give you example for that!!
    – John Siu
    Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 19:27
  • 朝花/夕拾 are not V+N phrases. 采花 is used in poems but can be also used in colloquial language without bringing any poetic effect; 拈花 would be a better example.
    – NS.X.
    Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 19:35
  • 1
    hmm, ok, you are looking specific for Nature. I missed that part. My bad. Then only Nature and Astronomy section fit your requirement.
    – John Siu
    Commented Dec 26, 2012 at 1:40
  • 1
    Reformatted to fit original question. SC TC side by side to fit everyone eyes. Happy Holiday!!!!
    – John Siu
    Commented Dec 26, 2012 at 4:45

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