With the idiom 车水马龙 which is used to describe somewhere that is bustling and crowded, why was 龙 included considering it is a mythical creature?

Does it represent something other than a creature in this context?

Does it have some special meaning when paired with 马, are there other idioms where 马龙 is a pairing?

1 Answer 1


I quote some words from my dictionary specified for idiom(成语)


Let me try to translate

idiom,it describe the scenery that the wagon and the horse come and go just like the stream and the dragon.

马--->horse,龙--->dragon,they have no relationships with each other.In Chinese language,we often use metaphor ,here,we use dragon(龙) to describe the busy horse(马).

There is no word called 马龙 in Chinese,but it is of great possibility to have someone called 马龙,because this year is the year of dragon,if someone has the family name 马,then his parents may call him 马龙。

there is another idiom 龙马精神,it describe one man with great passion.

  • 1
    Very interesting: 车像流水, 马像游龙. I always assumed that 车水马龙 would be four different things, not two.
    – going
    Jan 16, 2012 at 3:18
  • The Chinese dragon is very different from the western one.
    – fefe
    Jan 16, 2012 at 3:23
  • 2
    just as fefe said,The Chinese dragon is very different from the western one.The dragon in China is just like snake,but I think you know it ,so I dont explain it in the answer.
    – coqer
    Jan 16, 2012 at 3:40
  • @fefe: this is off-topic, but I agree with you so much that I don't really think 龙 should be translated as Dragon, just Long because they are two different creatures.
    – Petruza
    Jan 16, 2012 at 11:58
  • @user911865 There is a county in China's Yunan providence, in the Qujing prefecture, called 马龙. I doubt that this place has anything to do with the idiom. :p
    – Krazer
    Feb 13, 2012 at 7:11

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