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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. Use also the tag [chengyu] for questions about chengyu's.

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In what context can "半推半就" be used?

I came across this verse in a taiwanese rock band music, and I'm not entirely sure what it means: 我們半推半就的人生 Google translates 半推半就 as "The life we ​​live half-heartedly" but it's the first ...
Eric Wu's user avatar
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2 votes
5 answers
610 views

Do you *always* say Chinese idioms the exact same way (unlike English)?

I got some idioms from ChatGPT, like 井底之蛙 (jǐng dǐ zhī wā): "frog in the bottom of the well". Here we have: 他从未离开过家乡,真是一个井底之蛙。 Literal Gloss: 他 (tā): He 从未 (cóng wèi): never 离开 (lí kāi): ...
Lance's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
50 views

Can "没完没了" be used as an Adjective/形容词?What are some adjective to express describe someone that is "没完没了" or someone what won't stop?

I am wondering if there is a adjective that is similar to 没完没了, to describe someone that is won't stop at something. An example would be someone what offended you but still won't stop making jokes. ...
Zorua Kuma's user avatar
4 votes
10 answers
2k views

The meaning of 我看你呀

I had my tutor explain to me " 我看你呀" that is meant to sound sarcastic. But I just can not wrap my hand around what it means in the context of these sentences: 我看你呀,还是早点儿洗洗睡吧。 我看你呀,还是别去吧 。 ...
Chiara's user avatar
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5 answers
172 views

Looking for an English equivalent of : 勿以恶小而为之,勿以善小而不为

context: meeting btwn Chinese and American Foreign affairs bosses. original: 双方就开展人文交流,便利人员往来交换了意见。王毅敦促美方停止无端滋扰盘查中国公民,多做有利于增进两国人民相互了解的事情,并送美方一句古话:“勿以恶小而为之,勿以善小而不为。” During their exchange of views on ...
LetterQuest's user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
71 views

Interested in idioms similar to the theme of 集腋成裘

I'm interested in learning idioms that are related to small parts or actions eventually adding up to something bigger, or like idioms related to emergent property, kind of like 集腋成裘 (jíyè-chéngqiú). ...
Haider Vanek's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
237 views

expressions (idioms, proverbs etc) with two or more homophonic characters

This is a follow-up question from Other than 秘密,are there two-syllable words in Chinese where each syllable is a different character with the same pronunciation?. What are the notable or remarkable ...
goPlayerJuggler's user avatar
4 votes
5 answers
4k views

Is 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' used as an idiom in Chinese? If so, how is it grammatically structured?

The film title Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (臥虎藏龍/卧虎藏龙) apparently is an idiom describing a place or situation that is full of unnoticed masters. Is this phrase actually used in speech, and if so, ...
David Scarlett's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
85 views

The use of 就 in a sentence from a drama

For listening immersion purposes, I supplement the other elements of my Mandarin study with an episode of a C-drama each day. In the first moments of the first episode of the series "Begin Again&...
user968270's user avatar
3 votes
4 answers
1k views

Does Chinese have idiomatic equivalents of "a regular" and "the usual"?

In English there is an idiomatic noun sense of "regular" for a regular customer. Somebody who regularly dines/drinks/etc at the same café/restaurant/bar/etc: That guy is a regular, he comes ...
hippietrail's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
222 views

How can I read 你让我做什么我就做什么?

我今天听你的安排,你让我做什么我就做什么。 For today, I will listen(obey) to your arrangement(s). I'll do whatever what you let me do. The above English translation was made by me. I've been stuggling to understand the ...
TG24's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
67 views

Keeping up with the Joneses

What is the best Chinese proverb or translation that would best capture the meaning of the English idiom "Keeping up with the Joneses"?
CrazyDolphin's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
156 views

Which is the most common chengyu (idiom)?

I was discussing a linguistics paper about chengyu in one of my YouTube videos and wondered what is the most common chengyu. It's the kind of question someone like me would like to know off the top ...
Becky 李蓓's user avatar
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2 votes
4 answers
205 views

Is 风光不再 correct in 广州恒大风光不再?

I think it is a misspelling, which should have been 风光不在. 不再 is no more, or not any more 不在 is absent, unavailable Comparing the two, I think only the latter makes sense, for the former there has to ...
NanningYouth's user avatar
  • 2,841
1 vote
3 answers
317 views

Mandarin translation of "hidden gem"

Is there an equivalent to something being called a "hidden gem" in Mandarin, particularly referring to a travel destination, restaurant or an experience? For example: "This trail is a ...
martin's user avatar
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6 votes
5 answers
1k views

Is the saying/idiom 天生我才必有用 religious?

I recently learned of the idiom "天生我才必有用," which if you translate it directly in google translate, is "everybody is good for something." However, I am curious about the origin of ...
T L's user avatar
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1 vote
4 answers
158 views

"Set the priority straight" in Chinese?

What is Chinese for "Set the priority straight" ? Or is there any Chinese fable or ancient story that relates to the idea of setting the priority straight?
PPP's user avatar
  • 31
2 votes
3 answers
79 views

Understanding 落实政策

I've often read about 给 XXX 落实政策。This thing seems to be very flexible. For example, 落实疫情防控政策 and 给烈士子女落实政策。 How to contextually translate this phrase into English?
Lily White's user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
190 views

English idiom of "想入非非"

There is a chinese idiom called 想入非非: to indulge in fantasy Is there is an english idiom that is similar to this? Searching gave me this strange "idiom": allow one's fancy to run wild
DialFrost's user avatar
  • 527
1 vote
3 answers
184 views

Chinese version of "beat around the bush"

Most people know the famous english idiom: beat around the bush How should I write this in Chinese? Cambridge dictionary gives: Don't beat around the bush - get to the point! 别兜圈子了——有话直说! But I ...
DialFrost's user avatar
  • 527
1 vote
2 answers
375 views

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?
DialFrost's user avatar
  • 527
2 votes
2 answers
682 views

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 ...
blackgreen's user avatar
  • 5,452
2 votes
3 answers
136 views

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 ...
Jon's user avatar
  • 21
0 votes
5 answers
102 views

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 ...
crazyTech's user avatar
  • 101
2 votes
3 answers
187 views

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"?
hiroshi's user avatar
  • 123
0 votes
3 answers
160 views

Is 各行各业 equivalent to “all walks of life”?

各行各业 was from of Google Translate.
EmilyJ's user avatar
  • 509
1 vote
2 answers
288 views

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:...
Stefanie Gauss's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
124 views

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(...
Monokuma's user avatar
  • 241
1 vote
5 answers
884 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....
EmilyJ's user avatar
  • 509
2 votes
1 answer
98 views

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-...
Rusurano's user avatar
  • 221
0 votes
1 answer
104 views

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 ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
80 views

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 ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
  • 79.3k
2 votes
2 answers
161 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 ...
cgo's user avatar
  • 1,052
0 votes
1 answer
110 views

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 ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
  • 79.3k
4 votes
1 answer
308 views

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 ...
blackgreen's user avatar
  • 5,452
0 votes
1 answer
261 views

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 ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
  • 79.3k
1 vote
1 answer
164 views

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?
user27485's user avatar
  • 645
0 votes
2 answers
126 views

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 ...
user27485's user avatar
  • 645
0 votes
1 answer
74 views

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,...
user27485's user avatar
  • 645
0 votes
1 answer
143 views

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 ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
  • 79.3k
4 votes
1 answer
327 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.
wxecqz123's user avatar
  • 151
3 votes
4 answers
318 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.
Joselin Jocklingson's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
811 views

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?
user55570's user avatar
  • 231
1 vote
1 answer
106 views

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?
user27485's user avatar
  • 645
1 vote
1 answer
167 views

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 ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
  • 79.3k
2 votes
3 answers
135 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 ...
L Parker's user avatar
  • 5,605
1 vote
1 answer
156 views

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 ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
  • 79.3k
0 votes
2 answers
93 views

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.
EmilyJ's user avatar
  • 509
2 votes
1 answer
64 views

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
Soroush's user avatar
  • 95
0 votes
1 answer
226 views

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 ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
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