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燦爛輝煌 is a chengyu.

From my understanding, 燦爛 means bright and beautiful while 輝煌 means bright and eye-catching. Correct me if I'm wrong.

So then 燦爛輝煌 means bright bright beautiful eye-catching. Or generally it's saying the same thing twice. This makes zero sense to me. Please help me understand what it means thank you.

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  • This is the first time I saw 燦爛輝煌. Commented Apr 12 at 2:59
  • 燦爛輝煌 is a not a chengyu, but 燦爛奪目 and 金碧輝煌 are
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Apr 12 at 10:36

1 Answer 1

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saying the same thing twice.

There's a saying: "Important things have to be said three times" For example, "It is a sad event" sounds less powerful than "It is a sad, sad event" (if you don't want to say "sad" twice, try "It is a sad, sorrowful event")

Seems duplicative to me

Using two similar adjectives together to amplify each other is a common writing style in literature

If you want to say someone is very talented, you can say "他才高八斗" or "他學富五車" or you can use both and say "他才高八斗,學富五車"

With the same logic, you can say 光彩燦爛 or 光彩輝煌 or you can use both and say 光彩燦爛輝煌

Besides, 燦爛 and 輝煌 have subtle differences.

  • 燦爛 mostly describes brightness (e.g.: of one's life/ shining light)

  • 輝煌 mostly describes grandness (e.g.: of one's achievement/ reflected light off smooth surfaces)

Examples:

燦爛人生 (bright and colorful life)

燦爛星光 (bright starlight)

輝煌成就 (shiny achievement)

輝煌宮殿 (shiny palace)

燦爛輝煌 = bright and shiny (something emitting or reflecting bright light. In one word "bright")

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