I'm having trouble making 坚强 concrete:

CC-CEDICT: 坚强 (jiān​qiáng​) staunch / strong

The standard example phrase is 坚强的性格 which is sometimes translated to a "strong/staunch personality". However, this is a rather vague/broad phrase in English, and could refer to an enormous range of personality types (e.g. readily offends others; does not like to admit defeat, fault, etc.; does not readily change their mind, opinions, etc.; does not give up easily; does not laugh or have fun).

I don't believe the Chinese 坚强的性格 is as versatile as the English translation.

Question: What are the key traits of someone with a 坚强的性格, and which notable people are examples?

I want to get a concrete mental picture of what this personality type entails, e.g. a specific celebrity who has a 坚强的性格.


坚强的人 can deal with difficult circumstances. E. g. A person has a cancer, but he wasn't depressed by it. Instead, he can make his effort to fight with it. So, he is 坚强的人.

In other words, 坚强的人 is 不怕困难的人.


I want to get a concrete mental picture of what this personality type entails, e.g. a specific celebrity who has a 坚强的性格.

well, may i, use a celebrity “pig” as an example 😸


the strong-willed pig survived after 36 days under rubble, in the wenchuan earthquake, in 2008.

became a symbol of hope, fortitude and resilience



howard blackburn

in january 1883, fisherman howard blackburn rowed alone in a dory, in north atlantic for 5 days, arrived newfoundland, and survived.

the most extraordinary of his characters is:

Blackburn knew that without the protection of his mittens, his hands would freeze solid in the cold. Without his hands, he would be helpless. Before they froze solid, he bent his frozen fingers around the oars. and waited until they were frozen stiff. He then slipped his frozen claws off the oars, and started to bail again

more details in this page, indeed, there’re a few books talked about his “peril/achievement”.

imo, he’s a textbook sample of “堅強” 🙀


坚强 - a personal trait for those who have a "strong mindset and not easy to bend" under any adverse circumstances and under the pressures that a normal person cannot endure.

Remember the movie "Rocky", in which Sylvester Stallone played a 坚强的拳擊手, a boxer with a strong mind who never gave up the fight to final glory.

Hillary Clinton is a 坚强的女人, for who has endured the much-publicized humiliation caused by her husband's affair. At that time, albeit with shape criticisms from her old allies/followers (liberal women groups), she has chosen to stay as a wife, a mother, and the first lady of the USA. Her public life hasn't ended there, she has gone on to be the United States Secretary of State, and even closely challenged Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. If she isn't a 坚强的女人, who is?!

  • readily offends others = 剛直 (upright and outspoken), it is not the same as strong

  • does not like to admit defeat, fault, = 好胜 (eager to win); 不服输 (reluctant to admit defeat), it is not simply strong

  • does not readily change their mind, opinions = 顽固 (stubborn), not simply strong

  • does not give up easily = 执着 (persistent). It is somewhat similar strong, but people can be persistent on the wrong thing. In that case, we wouldn't use 坚强 to describe it

  • does not laugh or have fun = 严肃 (stern), it is not the same as strong

坚强 in Chinese doesn't simply mean strong, it also refers to "steadfast and unyielding/ perseverant " (坚定不移,不屈不撓)

Almost all the great figures in history have this trait. Defeat and hardship can't weaken their determination or bend their principle

  • 2
    Yeah, 坚强 is more of "strength of character". Personalities that come to mind are Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Margaret Thatcher, Greta Thunberg, and many others of course. Jul 14 '21 at 5:45

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