Questions tagged [idioms]

Questions related to idioms, maxims, sayings, and other expressions consisting of a combination of words that has an indirect, figurative meaning. Use also the tag [chengyu] for questions about chengyu's.

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Chinese version of "action speaks louder than words"

What is the chinese version of the common idiom: Action speaks louder than words Google translate gives this: 行动胜于雄辩 Is this correct? And what other alternatives are there?
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What is the colloquial meaning of 小祖宗 ?

I've heard someone saying 小祖宗 to a little kid (literally: little ancestor). I assumed it was some sort of general exclamation or lament, like 我的天呢!as the mood was of slight annoyance. However after ...
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What's the deeper meaning behind 不吃饭则饥,不读书则愚?

I'm loving learning some of these wise sayings, but I'm having a little trouble getting the deeper meaning. It seems like it basically is "don't eat the hungry, don't read the stupid". Does ...
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What literary device would we associate with the aforementioned Chinese old fashioned way of greeting? ( (Chī le ma) ? )

Credit Reference: http://blog.tutorming.com/mandarin-chinese-learning-tips/why-do-chinese-people-ask-have-you-eaten "吃了吗 (Chī le ma)?" (also "吃饭了吗 (chī fàn le ma)" Many ...
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3 answers
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Why do people say “你死了这条心吧” instead of “这颗心”?

I thought the classifier of "心" is always "颗" or "个"? But why here is more common to use "条"?
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3 answers
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Is 各行各业 equivalent to “all walks of life”?

各行各业 was from of Google Translate.
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2 answers
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What are the meanings of 三分顏色上大紅?

According to https://www.easyatm.com.tw/wiki/%E4%B8%89%E5%88%86%E9%A1%8F%E8%89%B2%E4%B8%8A%E5%A4%A7%E7%B4%85 it is stated as: 字面意思:給三分顏色你就可以上大紅色,就等於不自量力,自大。明明做不到這事情都說可以做到,人家給三分顏色就想染大紅色,染得到嗎? 後來形容:...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Is there a idiom or term to describe someone who don't see you as the same level as them?

The best I can think of are the combination of: 讽刺意味 (to have the "smell" of irony on you) and 很偏激 (very extreme or biased)。 举个例子/For example: Everything you say or do is viewed as ignorant(...
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262 views

Precise meaning of 马到成功

So I just happened to watch a youtube video that has displayed in the background an artwork with horses and the phrase 马到成功. Google Translate offered these: It's a success. Gain an immediate victory....
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What is the meaning of 及义?

One of Confucius sayings contains the construction 言不及义. It carries the meaning "unable to talk on serious topics", from what a dictionary gave me. However, I was interested in the per-...
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Chinese Idiom puzzle 21 (中文填字遊戲)

A new puzzle for July 2021 The hunter doesn't know he is being hunted extremely foolish 在水滸傳中的梁山泊排第一百零七位,綽號鼓上蚤的人物 If you want to deliberately frame others, you can always find excuses Busy ...
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1 answer
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Chinese Idiom puzzle 20 (中文填字遊戲)

Puzzle for June 2021 「病從口入」下句 Lengthy article (or speech) Asking a tiger for its skin (Make deal with dangerous people) Busily run around or move around for a certain purpose Bragging without ...
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2 votes
2 answers
134 views

Literal meaning of 無奇不有

The correct meaning of 無奇不有 would be: full of extraordinary/bizarre things. But why don't the individual characters not add up to the intended meaning? This is not the only idiom that I found ...
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Chinese Idiom puzzle 19 (中文填字遊戲)

Another puzzle for May-2021 One of the three dynasties in the Three Kingdoms period ruled by the 曹 family A poem that was written by Cao Zhi (曹植). Fictionalized the author's encounter with a goddess ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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What is the origin of the word 鬻?

The word 鬻 (yù) appears to originate as a joint pictogram from: 粥 depicting the rice and two whirls of steam on the sides 鬲 (pronounced lì?) a cooking vessel Later 粥 alone came in use to express the ...
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1 answer
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Chinese Idiom puzzle 18 (中文填字遊戲)

A new puzzle for May-2021 All or nothing Bathe A modern metaphor for a person’s life with extreme luxury and indulgence, without restraint (有關紂王的典故) Everyone wants to get to a higher position ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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What does 出人头地 mean?

The idiom 出人头地 chūréntóudì means “stand out among one’s fellows”. How to mix the above four words and arrive at the above meaning?
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What does 按部就班 mean?

I have checked the dictionary, the following are the meanings for Idiom and its components. could not get how ‘keep conventional ways’ was the meaning derived. can share more light on this? thanks ...
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Idioms Quiz of 23

Idioms Quiz of 23Q for Idiom lovers Q1. 小华的爸爸是围棋高手,你在他面前夸耀自己的棋技,不是____吗? Q2. 自从那次火灾后,村民一听到孩子的惊叫就_____以为又是哪一家失火了。 Q3. 世界上没有_____的事情,要成功就应该付出努力。 Q4. 这个电视剧向人们提出一个 _____的问题:中学生应该追求什么? Q5. 小女孩由于找不到妈妈,...
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Chinese Idiom puzzle 17 (中文填字遊戲)

A New puzzle for April 2021 Launch a direct attack on the enemy’s headquarters Makes people happy and satisfied (especially when someone gets the deserved punishment) Notorious Extremely urgent ...
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4 votes
1 answer
179 views

Is there an explicit/crude saying for bravery in Chinese?

I am looking for something similar to the english 'having big balls' as an indication of bravery.
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3 votes
4 answers
147 views

成语 and 俗语 emphasizing adaptation

I would like to know what chinese 成语 or 俗语 can be used to emphasize the need of people or generations to adapt to the given situation or environment. Thanks.
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2 votes
3 answers
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Does 没有办法 have the same idiomatic meaning in Chinese that "No way" does in English?

"No way" in English has a couple of meanings. Like, it can be used to express surprise. Does 没有办法 also carry some idiomatic meanings?
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Why 看 is used in 我看得目瞪口呆?

Going through this sentence. 我看得目瞪口呆。I was stunned/dumbfounded. 看 means see, why see in this sentence?
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1 vote
1 answer
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Chinese Idiom puzzle 16 (中文填字遊戲)

A new puzzle for March 2021 Steal the bell while covering your ears (deceiving yourself that you are deceiving the others) Revenge one's personal vengeance in the name of official business ...
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2 votes
3 answers
125 views

Four-character idioms that contain an allusive pair

I am interested in finding some examples of four-character idioms that contain exactly a pair of allusions, different in source but similar in nature, that were often compiled by a specific literary ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Chinese Idiom puzzle 15 (中文填字遊戲)

A new puzzle for Feb 2021 It’s better to see it with your own eyes than hear it hundreds of times. It often takes many twists and turns to get what you want Good for others and oneself Boxing ...
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2 answers
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Up close and personal equivalent

How do you express something similar to “up close and personal”? Like this sentence: She likes to get up close and personal.
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2 votes
1 answer
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Attack them when they are unready, take them by surprise : 这个成语有多少方法可以说?

Could you please let me know which of these sound right and why the other ones sound wrong? I'm not sure about the difference between 不 and 无. 出其不意,攻其不备 攻其不备,出其不意 攻其无备,出其无意 攻其不备,出其无意 攻其无备,出其不意 都可以用吗
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1 answer
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Chinese Idiom puzzle 14 (中文填字遊戲)

Please solve the following puzzle Untidy (of one's appearance) Too poor that there is no place to insert an awl. Describes as poor as nothing It is the collective name of the three most prominent ...
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2 votes
5 answers
328 views

How to translate 因為所以科學道理?

I heard this from native speakers but am confused about its meaning. I understand every word but this phrase itself does not make much sense to me.
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2 answers
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Is there a common idiom equivalent to "tomato tomahto" in mandarin?

I'm being very nitpicky with a coworker (20s, first language is mandarin) and I'm trying to tease myself playfully by saying something along the lines of "tomato tomahto" in mandarin. I'm ...
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1 answer
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Chinese Idiom puzzle 13 (中文填字遊戲)

Please solve the following puzzle A grain of rice in the sea. A metaphor for something small and insignificant To bluff Disappear without a trace, no news, or nothing to follow Idiom The multi-...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Chinese Idiom puzzle 12 (中文填字遊戲)

Please solve the puzzle below sharp tongue (edit: the first character was replaced by a Homophone) A match made in heaven Come back to life by borrowing a corpse (a metaphor for things that have ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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看图说成语: What chengyu do these sketches refer to (from a grade-3 语文 textbook)?

This chengyu puzzle is on page 66 of a grade-3 语文 textbook (上册). I'm fairly sure I can get the top-left one, and the middle-right one, but not the others. I present this as a chengyu puzzle (a ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Chinese Idiom puzzle 11 (中文填字遊戲)

李白名詩: 「舉頭望明月, ?????」 Hate the social status quo and the state of the world Grammar mistake The peach blossom is the same but the missed person is nowhere to be seen Go between and put things ...
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3 votes
1 answer
268 views

Chinese Idiom puzzle 10 (中文填字遊戲)

Please solve the puzzle below People use their collective wisdom and abilities to work together (something good) Happens twice Give no quarter Awesome skill Miles of waves Overly militaristic; ...
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2 votes
1 answer
78 views

Why is 系 pronounced xì (not jì) in the idiom 解铃还须系铃人?

With regards to the idiom: 解铃还须系铃人 jiě líng hái xū xì líng rén CC-CEDICT: lit. whoever hung the bell on the tiger's neck must untie it (idiom) / fig. whoever started the trouble should end it I'm ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Chinese idiom puzzle 9 (中文填字遊戲)

Please solve the puzzle below Hints: Use the power of others to dominate Like bathing in the spring breeze Rock breaking shock the sky It's like disappearing all at once A very long distance ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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"Single drop of red" (Wuxia)

I have this only via oral tradition, but wanted to ask about it here b/c I assume this is where the Chinese scholars are. Where does this phrase appear in the Chinese literary tradition, what are the ...
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2 answers
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Is the following text grammatically correct?

Would you be so kind as to help me correct this text? I am currently trying to incorporate more 成语 and more complex vocabulary in my writing. -- 首先,你必须试探你的对手,因为他的话靠不住。不要让他的想法弄垮得稀巴烂你的思想。其次,你应该每天选择自己的战斗。...
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1 vote
1 answer
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What 莲 means? does it has a "social" meaning, if it's used in everyday life?

I think that '莲' literally means "lotus" but I heard some people saying that it also has a bad meaning, if somebody calls you like that you should be offended. Can someone explain me why? ...
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3 votes
6 answers
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What is the role of chengyu (成语) in a sentence?

I've learned some chengyu (idiomatic expression), and I see many are used in different position in the sentence. For example: adjective -> 那个人看来有点不三不四 noun -> 我集市看到人山人海 adverb or verb? -> ...
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3 votes
7 answers
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How to say something "gets old fast"?

Describing something as 'getting old fast' is a very common phrase in English to describe something that as tedious, but it has the nuance that the thing may not be boring initially. Is there a ...
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2 votes
2 answers
47 views

另當別論 : 另, 別 superfluous? What does 當 add?

ABC Chinese–English Comprehensive Dictionary (2003), p 561. I can't access the "slightly revised through July 2005" ed. I also quote Wiktionary. Why both 另 and 別? Aren't they redundant? ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Chinese idiom puzzle 8

Please solve the following puzzle Describe a woman's husband is not good (nowadays refers to get together with a bad partner) 語出《詩.王風.中谷有蓷》 A live and death matter Everyone has one 遏後語 "年晚煎堆&...
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0 votes
3 answers
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Chinese Idiom puzzle 7

Please solve the following puzzle To win a war, you need XX, YY, and 人和, What are XX and YY? All formed by nature, no traces of man-made carvings One hand covers the sky. ( Describes someone use ...
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3 answers
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Chinese Idiom puzzle 6

Please solve the following puzzle Simultaneously raise the Combat capability and reduce the number of soldiers of the army When living is so painful, it is better off being dead To fight a battle ...
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1 vote
1 answer
67 views

Chinese Idiom puzzle 5

Please solve the following puzzle You are not a gentleman if you don't take revenge for a wrong against you - 見:《施公案》六四回 People in the world are all brothers - 出自:先秦·孔子《論語·顏淵》 Give no quarters ...
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1 vote
2 answers
172 views

Chinese Idiom puzzle 4

Please solve the following puzzle The country is peaceful, citizens are happy. - 出自宋·吴自牧《梦梁录·山川神》 A talented man and a pretty lady (a good match) - 出自唐·李隐《潇湘录·呼延冀》。 Heros show themselves when the ...
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