As you know, when you say 无期徒刑, that means it is a lifetime prisonment or the term is limitless until your death, but recently the news said a Chinese singer claimed that he would 无限期 stay out of career due to his wife getting videoed having an affair with a male model, but two or three months later, he resumed his singing career at the jeer of fans, who thought he broke his promise.

Are they the same?

  • not the same, as revealed by online dictionaries, e.g. bkrs: 无限期 indefinite duration: 无限期罢工 a strike of indefinite duration 无限期搁置动议 shelve a motion sine die 无限期休会 adjourn indefinitely; adjourn sine die 无限期的长期贷款 indefinite long-term loan
    – user6065
    Sep 21 '17 at 12:40
  • 无期 1) have no deadline or due date 2) have no end in sight 1) 无穷尽;无限度。 2) 指无了期。 3) 犹言不知何时,难有机会。 4) 指没有约定日期。 (which of 无期 or 无限期 depends on context)
    – user6065
    Sep 21 '17 at 13:07
  • examining jukuu's samples seems to lead to conclusion that 无限期 is the usual term for indefinite duration, used for legal (contracts), economic,scientific matters, while 无期 is used almost exclusively when referring to length of sentence as in 无期徒刑 ("现代汉语词典" e.g. has no separate entry for 无期, only one for 无期徒刑)used very rarely in other contexts, see comment #2, and 万寿无期! 无期别,无期贷款(an abbreviation of 无限期贷款?)
    – user6065
    Sep 21 '17 at 13:55
  • 无期 (without time limit) in '无期徒刑' is short for '无限期' . However, the term '无期徒刑' itself is a common set phrase for 'life sentence' . Therefore '无限期徒刑' is considered incorrect phrasing of "life-sentence' , although it is not grammatically incorrect. ('无限期' as an adjectival phrase that modifies the noun '徒刑')

无限期 (without time limit) is a phrase made up of 无 (without) and 限期 (time limit).

  • When used as an adjective, it requires an adjective marker '的' as in '无限期的徒刑' (jail sentence that without a time limit)

  • When used as an adverb, it requires an adverb marker '地' - as in '无限期地監禁' (indefinitely imprison)

  • '无限期' can also be an adverbial phrase, and modifies a verb without marker, as in '无限期罢工'

无期 (never) in '會再无期'(no date/ never to meet again) is an adverb


They mean differently in these two settings.

无期徒刑, as you quoted, means life-long time in prison.

Well, what the singer means by saying '无限期 stay out of career' is he could stay out of career as long as the affair of his wife resolved. He conveys he could be very patient and also shows his determination.

But he resumed his singing after two or three months. It might imply he already got that affair resolved.


I think they are same.

无限期 means no deadline, it means forever, but if you read 无 as "unspecified", that would mean "deadline does not set", I can set it later and at any date.

And 无期徒刑 can be reduced to 17 years.

There is another word you can find in news, 无限期整改, obviously you can not 整改 forever.

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