In the famous poem "清明" by the Tang dynasty poet 杜牧 (Du Mu), rain 雨 is "纷纷".

As reported by dictionaries, like https://www.yellowbridge.com/chinese/dictionary.php , 纷 (fēn) means "numerous; confused; disorderly", then 纷纷 (fēnfēn) is one after another; in succession; one by one; continuously; diverse; in profusion; numerous and confused; pell-mell.

Referred to rain, 纷纷 means that rain is "continuous and long-protracting, with not much water falling all at once, maybe not very windy, somehow boring and sad" (this would be my interpretation, according to the poem) or "copious, with lot of water and wind, stormy, somehow violent"?

Is "雨纷纷" an expression that could be used in everyday life, or only an aulic expression?

  • can you make a sentence under your understanding?
    – Voyager
    Feb 22 '19 at 7:52

Baidu Baike's page on 清明 has a vernacular translation of the line:


which goes:


Here 雨纷纷 has been rendered as 细雨纷纷.

细雨纷纷 is defined in ABC as:

a steady fall of drizzling rain

while KEY defines it as:

steady drizzle

雨纷纷 itself is very poetic, but it is well known enough that most people would be aware of its existence and usage. The entire first line of the poem, in fact, shares the same status. Sometimes you will see or hear it quoted.

Unless the situation calls for it, there is no real reason you would want to go around sounding like a bard and it would be quite off putting to most people listening to you.

For normal everyday conversations, 细雨纷纷 would do just fine.


雨纷纷 imply "細雨纷纷" (constant light rain )

if it is heavy rain, we would describe it as "大雨滂沱" (pouring heavy rain )

清明時節雨纷纷 is a 寫景句 (scene description). It describes a scene of 'there is constant light rain during the Qing ming time'

大雨滂沱 and 細雨纷纷 are more literary and classical

滂沱大雨 and 纷纷細雨 are more colloquial and contemporary


It could be used in everyday life, only with some modern adaption.

小雨纷纷, 下个不停. 👌


雨纷纷. 🙄 Odd, the problem is not from 纷纷, but from modern expression behavior.

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