I've read from Baidu that '惊鸿' has three meanings.

However, I still don't understand what it means in this sentence:


"惊鸿" word in 化为一道惊鸿 is confusing for me. I think the most probable answer is 'flying swan', but if it does mean swan, why is "道" used as the measure word?


3 Answers 3


显然这出自一篇网文(玄幻或武侠之类)。惊鸿即为受惊而翀的鸿雁,“翩若惊鸿”就是盛赞洛神之体态轻盈。言归正传,这里就是一类仙侠玄幻小说常用设定罢了——此剑既唤作 惊鸿剑,就真的能够化为惊鸿了。或是极言其变换移形之迅捷,好突出它的厉害。事实上,随便用其他的意象也无妨。换成“化为一闪电光”之类的也可以。


This quote looks like it comes from a type of web novel (specifically fantasy stories of martial arts, righteous warriors, and immortal sages).

「惊鸿」refers to a swan goose「鸿」which flies straight upwards (like a missile/jet) whenever it gets startled「惊」, and harks back to the idiom「翩若惊鸿」, which is an old chengyu describing the graceful body figure and mannerisms of immortal beauties.

In this context, the novel has set the usage of the word「惊鸿」. Either this sword being called「惊鸿剑」can really transform into a「惊鸿」, or「惊鸿」is a metaphor for its powers, or「惊鸿」is just one of its powers. Describing the sword as being able to transform into a lightning bolt gives much the same imagery.

「道」is a measure word, but its use here is innovative.「一道X」gives an impression of a flash of lightning, highlighting the swiftness and nimbleness of a sword's motion. In literature, a measure word (that may be different from expected) may be used to bring out some special features of the object measured for the audience. For example, I could use the word「闪」to measure occurrences of lightning.

  • However, it is hard for me to express my idea in English.(›´ω`‹ ) Nov 1, 2018 at 15:06
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    @droooze “道”自然是量词,但是属于“创意性的用法”。“一道”什么,首先令人想到的就是闪电,量词的运用可以带来感官的变化。比如在我编辑后所给的句子中“一闪电光”同样用了一个不寻常的字眼来作量词,是一个道理。 Nov 1, 2018 at 15:12
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    @Fai91 Hummm, quite true. But I must point out that the measure word is essentially and originally used to modify a noun. In classical Chinese, there's no necessity to add a measure word before a noun. For example, In 《湖心亭看雪》,“惟长堤一痕、湖心亭一点、与余舟一芥、舟中人两三粒而已”,it is accepted to put as“惟一长堤、一亭,与余一舟、二三舟中人而已”, or even something like “作五绝一、七绝二” is correct. Nov 1, 2018 at 17:08
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    @Fai91 If you write something like “隆冬雪骤,西湖上只见一痕长堤、一点湖心小亭,我橹一芥扁舟,载二三粒人,飘飖水面” In modern Chinese, it will receive accolades for your wording. Nov 1, 2018 at 17:13
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    @Fai91 Though the measure word is very commonly used and even is regarded as “grammarly necessity”, your choice of measure words still conveys different meanings. “一条面包” and “一块面包” are different. “一扇猪” and “一头猪” are totally two things. “一瀑乌发” says more than “一头黑发”. Last but not least, measure words can be omitted in colloquialism, or text in classical style. Nov 1, 2018 at 17:25

鸿,即鸿雁,也叫大雁。 曹植《洛神赋》用“翩若惊鸿,婉若游龙”来描绘洛神美态。后来人们就用“惊鸿”形容女性轻盈如雁之身姿。


化为: turn into;

一道: a streak of; streak;

惊鸿: a flying goose swan

So, 化为一道惊鸿 can be "turned into something like a flying goose swan streaking across/down/away/ ...".


鸿 可以看作是一种鸟。 鸿鹄之志 形容志向高大。都是比较突出的鸟类。

惊 做动词解释是惊吓,可以做形容。 鸟类受惊起飞的景象。

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