Describing something as 'getting old fast' is a very common phrase in English to describe something that as tedious, but it has the nuance that the thing may not be boring initially. Is there a natural equivalent in Chinese?

  • Can you elaborate more on the phrase "getting old fast"? I think it might be taken literally "becoming older and older quickly".
    – dan
    Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 3:32
  • It's not usually used literally. It's most commonly used to describe something that might have some novelty value, but quickly becomes tiresome or painfully boring. "Old“ meaning "tiresome" or "boring" in the phrase.
    – user23661
    Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 12:07
  • A side: how would you say you literally become old fast in English? I'm just curious.
    – dan
    Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 18:34
  • I would probably say something "ages fast"
    – user23661
    Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 19:09

7 Answers 7


There is an equivalent in another perspective, and that is


which refers to a person who has a passion that quickly dies off, like


  • Thanks! This is a little different from what I'm looking for though.
    – user23661
    Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 3:04
  • @DarkMalthorp No problem, hope someone would come up with a better answer.
    – zyy
    Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 3:13

'beating a dead horse' will make the topic 'getting old fast'

The core meaning of 'getting old fast' is 'action or words become repetitive and starting to bore people'

The equivalent in Chinese would be 千篇一律. It literally means "a thousand song with the same tunes" (it would certainly getting old fast and bore people). That captures the essence of the English expression "getting old fast" pretty well. However, the common usage of 千篇一律 nowadays is to describe 'uncreative'

A close equivalent in Cantonese is

「講嚟講去三幅被」(talk and talk and it is all the same), but it only refers to 'repetitive boring talk' not including 'repetitive action'


形容人講嘢重重複複,毫無新意 - describes people repeating words repeatedly, without new ideas.

The problem with matching English and Chinese idiom is that no matter how close their meanings are to each other, there would always be some stable difference gets lost in translation.

  • It is a rare treat when idioms have direct equivalents between languages, like in the case of 小题大做 and its equivalent expression "to make a mountain out of a mole hill" Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 3:50
  • 1
    @小奥利奥 chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/21050/… 「一箭雙雕 」and 「一石二鳥」are equivalent to the English idiom " kill two birds with one stone" but 「一石二鳥」match it better
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 3:55

This blog post recommends two general translations:




The author also gives a suggestion of:

不耐 + V.

For an online game getting old real fast they translate it:


You need to be selective with this one because 不耐 doesn't work with all verbs.

Another suggestion is to use a phrase like:


Sometimes the answer in Chinese is too simple that you wouldn't even have thought of it.

  • 不耐玩 seems to be the best expression because it focuses on the object, not the person.
    – River
    Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 13:55

in cantonese we say “霎眼嬌”

roughly, with the first glance, it’s pretty; no more with the next one 🙀


How about 曇花一現?





Colloquially, we say 两天半新鲜. E. g. I bought a new iPhone. I like it very much at first. Then after not very long time, I don't like it as before. In this case, we say 也就两天半新鲜.

It's an expression that is used to describe that the liking only lasts for a very short time(两天半).

It's not an idiom though, but a common colloquial expression.

  • I think this is the closest answer so far to the English sense of the "getting old fast".
    – user23661
    Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 19:12

In a sense of "the novelty or interest fades quickly":

If you are mad about something, like baking, for a short while, then quickly lose interest, it's a:


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