Questions tagged [chengyu]

Chengyu (simplified Chinese: 成语; traditional Chinese: 成語, pinyin: chéngyǔ, lit. "set phrases") are a type of traditional Chinese idiomatic expressions, most of which consist of four characters. Chengyu were widely used in Classical Chinese and are still common in vernacular Chinese writing and in the spoken language today.

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Meaning of characters in 休戚相关, 患难与共

I have consulted a dictionary, but am unsure of the meaning of 关 in 休戚相关, 患难与共。 Also I'm not sure about the meaning of 与 in this context.
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What is the meaning of 庸 in the phrase 毋庸置疑?

毋庸置疑 is a chengyu. Its meaning is "beyound any doubt", but what is its verbatim meaning in literary Chinese? 毋 is like "don't" 置 is "to place, to put" 疑 is "doubt" 庸 I am not sure of the correct ...
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How well-known is the expression 杯弓蛇影?

I like this 成语 and brought it up in a conversation, but the person I was speaking with (an expat Chinese) didn't know it. So I would like to know how well-known it is. Would a 10 year old in Beijing ...
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袖手旁观 generalizations

I am looking for Chinese 成语 that generalize 袖手旁观, but indicate complacency with regards to something that could happen, rather than to something that has already happened, or is happening. Thanks. ...
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揠苗助长 or 拔苗助长 ? Which one is correct?

A dictionary says both chengyus being equal in meaining. Is it so, or is there any difference between these two idioms?
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What is the verbatim (grammatical) meaning of 不了​了之?

不了​了之 is a ChengYu, read as bu4 liao3 liao3 zhi1 its figurative meaning is "to let sth. in its original state". I guess the ChengYu had some concrete verbatim meaning in literary Chinese, but I do not ...
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What is the difference between 井底之蛙 and 坐井观天?

To express a person that has a narrow view, there are two 成语. According to 百度词典: 坐井观天 坐在井底看天。比喻眼界小,见识少。 井底之蛙 井底的蛙只能看到井口那么大的一块天。比喻见识狭窄的人。 Both words include derogatory sense (含贬义). But for me ...
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“If you can't beat them, join them” 成语 or 俗语

There is an English expression, "If you can't beat them, join them." For example, After competing with Microsoft for so many years, he finally accepted the lucrative offer and joined as their ...
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Meaning of 别 in 别开生面?

I am aware of the fact that 别 usually means "don't", but what about :/ the expression 别开生面​。 Here, doors it mean "another"? What exactly does it mean in this context? Thanks.
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What is the meaning of 晦 in the phrase 韬光养晦?

I find the phrase 韬光养晦 in a context,and I look up it in the dictionary,it means hidden talents, do not make the leakage.But I still don't know the meaning of 晦.
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精益求精, how to properly interpret this classical Chinese chengyu?

The idiom stands for constantly strive for improvement. When I look at 精益求精, I read Excellence increase seek excellence But shouldn't it be Excellence increase seek more excellence Of course if ...
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What is the correct saying?

In Zhuang Zi 5.2 we read: 聞之曰:『鑑明則塵垢不止,止則不明也。久與賢人處,則無過。』 Lin Yutang translation: "Now I have heard that if a mirror is perfectly bright, dust will not collect on it, and that if it does, the mirror ...
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Two contrasts between 文 and 武, culture and war

There are two sayings available on-line, each with various explanations. One is: 文无第一 武无第二 (in culture there is no first, in war there is no second) And one is: 文无第二武无第一 (in culture there is no ...
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A shorter translation of 举案齐眉

举案齐眉 - 汉英大词典 A wife lifts the tray to a level with her eyebrows to show great respect for her husband Are there any shorter translations? PS: Why do people still admire such kind of marriage?
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Is there a proverb that means something like an enemy's best tactic is to hide himself?

I'm looking for a 成语 that means something along the lines of an enemy's best tactic is to hide himself, or to make you believe he doesn't exist.
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the leaf always falls down on its root

A friend of mine mentioned the Chinese saying that says that "the leaf always falls down on its root". I would like to know whether this refers to the text that in old age several people return to ...
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Alternatives to 自圆其说, but for self-justification

自圆其说 refers to making one's statement plausible. Is there a similar saying, indicating the action of justifying one's own reason, but justifying it to oneself, i.e., without necessarily making it ...