CC-CEDICT: 陷害 (xiàn​hài​) to entrap / to set up / to frame (up) / to make false charges against

The example sentences I see are like:

The accused man said that he had been framed.
He was framed by his enemies.

Notably, I'm not finding examples with "framed for [crime]" like we have in English. I'm wondering if the word 陷害 is the right tool for the job.

My dictionary's definition for 陷害 is 设计伤害人 (~"plan to hurt someone") which suggests to me we don't typically say the equivalent of "I was framed for murder" or "I was framed for this crime", but say "I was framed" or "he framed me".

Question: Can 陷害 ("to frame") be used to express e.g. "framed for murder"?

3 Answers 3


陷阱 = trap

伤害 = to cause harm

陷害 literally means "to trap and cause harm" and it includes all forms of "evil plotting (against someone)"

I would translate 陷害 as "set up"

Framing someone for a crime is a form of 陷害 but not the only kind. For example, misleading someone to commit a crime is also 陷害; informing someone's enemy how to hurt someone is also 陷害. That's why 陷害 can be in the form of frame, trap, trick, or betray depending on the context

To specifically state "to frame (someone for a crime)", you can use 诬陷 = "to frame (and cause harm to someone)" or the even more specific 诬告 = "to frame (and accuse someone of a crime)"

accuse falsely/wrongly; frame


Question: Can 陷害 ("to frame") be used to express e.g. "framed for murder"?

You can say someone being framed for murder is 被陷害 = be viciously plotted against (by framing) but you can't say 陷害他谋杀 instead of 诬告他谋杀


岳飞被秦桧陷害 (O)

岳飞被秦桧诬告 (O)

岳飞被秦桧诬告谋反 (O)

岳飞被秦桧陷害谋反 (X)

岳飞被秦桧陷害,诬以谋反 (O)

The general term 陷害 (set up) cannot express a specific method


After 5000 years of convoluted, rough and tumbled human history, the Chinese people, (like every other human nation I suppose), have "developed" distinct categories, sub-categories, of how men could harm, threaten fear, anxiety, by way of evil plots, false accusations, insidious traps, devices, etc, and actually have specific words for each.

Here are some such evil devices, not necessarily in any order of severity of "evilness" with and without bodily harm, as I see it.

--- 诽谤, Fěi bàng, = defamation, (slander, libel)

--- 陷害, Xiàn hài, like 阴谋, Yīn móu, = (evil conspiracy), are actually general umbrella terms for all kinds of evil devices, and when such devices have actually taken on a definite form to be carried out, they become:-

  1. 陷阱, Xiàn jǐng, (a specific situational trap to ensnare), e.g. 请他吃晚饭是要害死他的陷阱, (inviting him to dinner is a trap to kill him);

  2. 诬告, Wú gào, (false accusation of a specific wrong doing / crime), e.g. 他的敌人贿赂了他的员工诬告他逃税, (his enemies bribed his employees to falsely accuse him of tax evasion)

Thus when you want to "frame", meaning falsely, someone for a crime / wrong doing, 诬告 is the more suitable word.

If it is not necessarily a false accusation, meaning no intentional falsehood, then 指责, Zhǐ zé, could be used, but certainly negative as no one wants to be accused of anything, whether falsely or not.


Let's exam the sentence "I was framed for murder", in it, "framed" is an adjective, so we need an equivalent adjective in Chinese, thus, the translation could be: 我被陷害作謀殺(者)

In here, 作 can be replaced by "成" or "為".

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