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Questions tagged [idioms]

Questions related to idioms, maxims, sayings, and other expressions consisting of a combination of words that has an indirect, figurative meaning.

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3answers
460 views

Is 不 A 不 B a grammatical structure like 又 A 又 B?

I ran across 不知不觉 the other day. If I use MDBG to look up c:不*不* I see there are many idioms with that format. Can I use it with any verbs (?) or is it only part of fixed expressions?
5
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1answer
80 views

Selling it as soon as you've bought it — Chinese expression

In college, I had just started a physics class in relativity and I was so excited that I began explaining everything I had learned to my Taiwanese roommate. Perhaps my tone was a bit too arrogant or ...
0
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2answers
95 views

What is the function of 便 here? And what does the sentence mean?

This is a sample sentence for 八九不离十, from 现代汉语规范词典: 不猜便罢, 若猜便猜它个八九不离十。 It uses an interesting idiom 八九不离十 which I just learnt thanks to duchinese.net. http://www.duchinese.net/lessons/E269-eight-...
0
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1answer
68 views

How to translate these inspirational phrases correctly?

I'm trying to make a label for my workbook but I'm not very sure how to write this phrase: If you can dream it you can do it!. Using google translate (traditional chinese) renders me this result: ...
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2answers
47 views

What does '眼观鼻鼻观心' represent? Obedience or an attempt to be invisible?

Is it more about obedience as in 'obediently looked down and listen to someone's teaching'; Or is it more about pretending to be oblivious/invisible? For example two of your bosses are fighting each ...
2
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2answers
61 views

What is the meaning of 妖星?

I'm trying to make sense of the word 妖星 ("demon star") which I have encountered in a Japanese phrase. This word does not appear in any Japanese or Chinese (English) dictionaries I've run across, but ...
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2answers
103 views

Are 仙草, 毒草 and 良草 broadly-used idioms?

Today I learned from a Chinese friend (a rather literate fellow) that you can use those words to describe books. Apparently: 仙草 = outstanding book, book as if made for Gods 毒草 = very poor or even ...
1
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1answer
65 views

The synonyms of '雨后送伞'

The phrase '雨后送伞' means unnecessary assistance. [释义] 比喻事后献殷勤。也比喻帮助不及时。 Is there better phrases or idiom to express such a context?
3
votes
3answers
142 views

怎么用草船借箭这个成语 how/when to use 草船借箭

When and how do we use the idiom 草船借箭? I know where the story comes from — 《三国演义》— and I know the meaning. But I'm still not really clear in what situation I'd say this.
2
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1answer
118 views

Do “lipstick on a pig” and “画蛇添足” share the same meaning?

Do "lipstick on a pig" and "画蛇添足" share the same meaning? 画蛇添足 means "drawing snake with feet".
0
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1answer
107 views

你不敢吃我 What's the meaning of this?

你不敢吃我 What's the meaning of this? Is it something like don't fool me?
1
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1answer
35 views

What does the phrase 豪华名贵 mean in Dave Wong's song “爱不起”?

Cross-post notice Here is another Quora cross-post, this one 21 days old and marked as needing to be in English. Quora post. Question At the end of 爱不起, there is the sentence "越是迷住我 豪华名贵 越是发现爱不起". ...
0
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1answer
110 views

Is the 边~边 the synonym for 一边~一边?

Is the following sentence: 并与当地青年一同BBQ,边烧烤边交流。 Is the 边~边 the synonym for 一边~一边, which mean "doing ~ while doing ~"? Or is there any difference?
4
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4answers
165 views

Plural marker 们 in 哥们(儿)

Can someone explain why 们 is used in the word 哥们 to mean buddy/dude, even if it's referred to a single person? Would it be possible to add 们 to any other family name, like 妈们,姐们,爸爸们 etc.? And if ...
2
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4answers
103 views

What's the reverse version of the saying “既要做婊子,又要立牌坊”?

The saying 既要做婊子,又要立牌坊 is used derogatorily to describe someone who does bad things but want to have good reputation. Does it have a reversed or non-derogatory version which is also a saying or idiom? ...
4
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3answers
1k views

What does 骑在 someone's 头上 mean?

I saw this on Jukuu.com: 我并不否认,你姐姐老是象个暴君似的骑在我们头上。 I don't deny that your sister comes the mogul over us, now and then. Wǒ bìng bù fǒurèn, nǐ jiějiě lǎo shì xiàng gè bàojūn shì de qí zài wǒmen ...
5
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7answers
1k views

What does 尽信书不如无书 mean?

After pointing out the many bugs in an online Chinese "how to give a presentation in English" webpage, one of my colleagues wrote this on WeChat: 尽信书不如无书 Jìn xìn shū bùrú wú shū Question: What ...
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2answers
297 views

“Speak Greek” in Chinese

In English, when someone says something incomprehensible, one can say they "spoke Greek". In Italian, the equivalente is "parlare Arabo" (lit. speak Arabic). What about Chinese? Is there a similar ...
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4answers
114 views

The meaning of idiom '急火攻心'

Example: 人们会急火攻心 Does it mean 'heart was attacked with anxiety/anxiousness'? Therefore in the example it would mean people's heart would be anxious?
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2answers
46 views

Help checking the correct meaning of '遐想连篇'

I'm not sure whether the phrase has a typo in it or not because I couldn't find the proper translation from MDBG, Ichacha or Ichiba. However, I did find an example: 中国的5000年悠久历史、丰富多样的风俗文化以及无处不在的神秘感,...
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2answers
453 views

What does the phrase 'holding in the palm of hands' in chinese mean?

I've read that phrase in a lot of stories and in a lot of different form; could you tell me the official form of that phrase (or maybe idiom) and its meaning?
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2answers
64 views

Can anyone explain to me what “热闹的嬉笑怒骂外加弹唱小曲” means?

I'm really confused about what the idiom '嬉笑怒骂' in this sentence means.
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2answers
62 views

Is swapping words within an idiom often done in chinese language? (example: “万绿丛中一点红” to “万红丛中一点绿”)

For example: "万绿丛中一点红" : a single red among ten thousand of green/a single red flower in the midst of thick foliage I've found some people wrote "万红丛中一点绿" (a single green among ten thousand of red). ...
4
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3answers
204 views

How did 马马虎虎 come to mean so-so?

Why does the above phrase (马马虎虎- lit. Horse horse tiger tiger) mean so-so or moderate? Curious as to how animals can represent expressions
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5answers
290 views

What are five most useful or common Chengyu phrases in the workplace?

I know there are thousands of chengyu (成语) (4 character proverbs in Chinese) out there, so obviously I would not have time to learn them all. Could I have 5 of these chengyu from you? (bonus marks if ...
3
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2answers
155 views

Why it is called 没大没小?

It is a commonly used idiom that means rude; no respect for one's elders. However, I wonder why it is called 没大没小. I would like to know its origin.
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1answer
110 views

How to translate 谈情说爱 in English?

The definition from Yabla (which is prettier in Ninchanese ): to discuss passion and talk of love (idiom); to express love with terms of endearment billing and cooing And to translate the sentence: ...
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5answers
302 views

For 錢應該花在刀口上, 錢 and 刀口 are so different things… why associate 錢 with 刀口?

For 錢應該花在刀口上。刀口…… and spending money. How is spending money related to 刀口?
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5answers
287 views

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?
2
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3answers
323 views

How to say 上蹿下跳 in English?

I am learning Chinese idioms. How to say 上蹿下跳 in English? help me
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2answers
357 views

Translate 表面風光、內裏陰乾 in English [closed]

Translate 表面風光、內裏陰乾 in english. Where is this ancient idiom coming from by the way?
0
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4answers
234 views

Are idioms like 亡羊补牢 commonly used by native Mandarin speakers?

I've been learning about idioms and one that I came across was 亡羊补牢 (wang yang bu lao), which means to mend the fold after the sheep are gone. However, when I've used it in conversation, native ...
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3answers
257 views

Pinyin of 車 in idioms

In Cantonese, 車 has two pronunciations: [ce1] and [geoi1]. In Mandarin, 車 also has two different pinyin: [che1] and [ju1]. [ce1] corresponds to [che1]. [geoi1] corresponds to [ju1]. In most idioms,...
7
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2answers
224 views

The question is regarding 成语-挟怨报复

I have a question: 成语-挟怨报复-可以用在下面情形吗? 有一位前辈的报告写错了。 我善意指正他。 后来,我的报告他故意找问题。 下面这些可以吗? 一朝权在手 便把令来行 心胸狭窄 倚势挟权 倚老卖老 窃弄威权 哪一个最好?
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3answers
258 views

The question is about 成语-虚有其表

I have a question: 成语-虚有其表-可以用在下面情形吗? 有一个人的报告写的很好看,很漂亮,可内容都错了。 有没有其他的成语? Any suggestion?
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3answers
92 views

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.
5
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5answers
348 views

Meaning of 翼 in 不翼而飞

The Chinese idiom " 不翼而飞" contains the character 翼 meaning wings, but how could one fly without wings? Here 不翼 = 无翼 ? I'm confused. I am aware of the fact that the saying means "vanish into the air ...
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5answers
1k views

Should I use “闷声发大财” or “闷声大发财”?

闷声发大财 闷声大发财 Both are widely used among the Chinese people, which one is the correct one?
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2answers
494 views

Why 文以載道 but 以文會友?

以 is one of the most confusing words in Chinese. Texts that really challenge me are usually full of it. Today I saw something confusing again: I encountered the phrase 文以載道。The document claims it ...
0
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2answers
113 views

Meaning of 则 in 欲速则不达?

What is the meaning of 则 in 欲速则不达? Does it mean fortune, wealth, success? I couldn't figure out out.
4
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1answer
282 views

Is there a Chinese idiom that involves a “Creator”?

Background This recently retracted article on the scientific journal PlosOne was retracted (amongst other reasons) due to concerns that the authors were adherents to the pseudoscientific theory of "...
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1answer
106 views

What is the meaning of 亲收获? [closed]

What is the meaning of 亲收获? Thank you in advance.
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2answers
77 views

What does “犊不畏虎” mean?

I would like to know what the following Chinese expression means. 犊不畏虎。 I know what it literally means by deciphering the meanings of individual Chinese characters, that a calf is not afraid of a ...
1
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1answer
479 views

What does 狸猫换太子 mean?

I came across this in a Chinese television show where someone says: "咱们狸猫换太子的计划". I can't figure out what "狸猫换太子" could mean. To my knowledge this means: "Leopard exchange for Crown Prince". Which ...
0
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1answer
161 views

Something I came across in a movie 你说它真它就真说它假

I came across this in a Chinese television show, which I would like some help to translate. 你说它真它就真,说它假它就假,它是真真假假假假真真谁也弄不明白. The first part I do understand. It means: "If you say it is real then it ...
5
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1answer
146 views

What does “杀牛”mean in this context?

In the story I'm reading for class, a man meets a woman online and she asks him what sign he's born under (属什么). He says 牛, and she says "我是杀牛的." He recounts, "就这么两句话一下子就把我打动了." So they arrange to ...
3
votes
2answers
282 views

Chinese idiom to describe a long line

What is the idiom to describe a really long line of people (waiting in line to buy tickets, for example)? I know one of the words is 龙. I tried googling it, but couldn't find it.
2
votes
3answers
411 views

How would one translate “full of life?”

I would like to say, "She's so full of life". This is to mean she's energetic, she lively, exuberant, loves to live life. I came across two idioms: 生气勃勃 and 生机盎然, but from the examples I've read, ...
2
votes
2answers
92 views

In what context would I use 见怪不怪?

怎么用见怪不怪? 请给我一个例子。谢谢! Could I use this idiom do describe another culture that once seemed foreign? Also, does the idiom have good or bad connotations?
2
votes
3answers
306 views

Chinese words for “everything can be viewed from a positive side”

What Chinese idioms or sayings (哪条成语或者俗语) can be used to express the following? Everything can be appreciated, when its own context is taken in consideration.