I have been learning Japanese 四字熟語 as a passtime for sometime and I would like to know whether most of them can be used verbatim in Chinese or if there are Japanese-made yojijukugo which cannot be used in Chinese.

I don't have a Chinese 成语 dictionary, but most of the 四字熟語 that I know are absent from CEDICT. However, some blog posts such as this one would suggest that a large part of them can be used in Chinese as well.

What is the overlap between 四字熟語 and 成语?

  • Normally, if the 四字熟語 comes from Chinese classics, it has a high chance of being understandable. if it's something from Japanese culture (and there are plenty of those), then the likelihood of understanding dramatically decreases, unless the 四字熟語 is very literal. – dROOOze Aug 12 '20 at 14:25
  • A lot of them seem to come from Chinese classics, a way detect Japanese-made 四字熟語 could be that they seem to include Japanese readings of 漢字. Even though there seem to be some equivalents: 海千山千 becomes 老奸巨滑 and 苦髪楽爪 becomes 苦长头发 for example. – 永劫回帰 Aug 12 '20 at 14:34
  • The overlap is similar to the general overlap between words of Chinese origin in Japanese and modern Chinese words having origins in China. After accounting for equivalent characters but written differently, many 四字熟語 can be legible in Chinese. The legible phrases/words tend to be ones originating from before Song dynasty after which Chinese loanwords became less and less frequent. There should be lots of free 成语 dictionary online. Try Google it! – Argyll Aug 19 '20 at 21:22
  • 成语是指约定俗成的语言,具有比较长远的时间沉淀,以及产生成语的原因。在使用前需要理解其主要含义甚至于衍生含义。 – N.W Mar 11 at 8:15
  • I thought about it carefully and checked what most people in the country said. My English is not so good, I hope you can understand 熟語refers to:People often say, it's kind of like Internet language。 Fixed for use in special circumstances。 成语refers to:It all comes from a source。 There may be a long story behind it。 Most of them are very educational。:) – MMhuhu Mar 15 at 7:37

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