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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13
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5answers
4k views

How to say "giving someone the benefit of the doubt" in Chinese?

This expression connotes that one is willing to not insist on accusing someone of a mistake despite most evidence pointing to that someone as being responsible. As in a legal proceeding where the jury ...
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2answers
234 views

Is "空时间" a valid phrase in chinese? If not, why not?

For example, "你有没有空时间呢"? In my intuition, 空时间 is most likely a physics terminology (though it isn't).
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1answer
74 views

What is this proverb?

I met someone who told me a proverb which in English read as follows: Wake up late and you lose the morning. Wake up early and you lose the whole day. She repeated it in Mandarin very quickly ...
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4answers
417 views

Meaning of 上不上下不下

What does 上不上下不下 mean as an idiom? (Not the riddle) Here is the sentence where the phrase came from. 可惜,她越是这样,楚野就越是觉得被一根刺卡在喉咙处,上不上下不下,非常的不爽。
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2answers
173 views

'To revise for an exam' idiom

In English, its natural to say the following sentence: 'I will revise for my exam.' In the above case, it could be argued that the word 'for' is being used as an idiom since you are revising for ...
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2answers
160 views

How to say "it's a function of ..." in Chinese?

The algebra analogy "it's a function of X" seems commonly used in daily conversations in English but it's rare to say "X是Y的函数" in non-mathematics context in Chinese. What would be ...
5
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1answer
95 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 ...
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2answers
267 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-...
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1answer
185 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
378 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 ...
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3answers
326 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.
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1answer
89 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?
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4answers
344 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 ...
5
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6answers
3k views

How to say "as you wish" in Chinese

I want to know what to say in the following scenario: I am pushing someone for his own good, and he is not doing what I want, so I would then say to him "Okay, as you wish." How can I express this in ...
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1answer
164 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?
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1answer
50 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". ...
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1answer
333 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?
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4answers
165 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? ...
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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 tóu ...
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3answers
354 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
367 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
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Why are 成语 (idioms) four characters long? Are there 成语 with more or less than four characters?

I really enjoying learning 成语 (chéng yǔ) in Chinese, and I'm curious to know why they are often or always four characters long? Where does this tradition stem from? And are there 成语 with more or ...
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6answers
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Are there any online resources for learning Chinese 4-character idioms

I'm interested particularly in the 4-character idioms/chengyu's. Some that I've learnt recently: 独一无二 - unique 由此可见 - this shows that 一般来说 - generally speaking I've realised they come in really ...
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4answers
236 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
64 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
889 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
80 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
131 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). ...
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3answers
457 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
468 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 ...
4
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2answers
266 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
358 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
895 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?
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5answers
1k 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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4answers
394 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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2answers
836 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?
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2answers
518 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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5answers
528 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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3answers
131 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.
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3answers
2k views

"C'est la vie" (such is life) in Chinese

On Wiktionary there are two ways listed for saying "such is life" / "c'est la vie" in Chinese. Both look like literal translations: 這就是生活, 这就是生活 (zhè jiùshì shēnghuó) 生活就是這樣, 生活就是这样 (shēnghuó jiùshì ...
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4answers
570 views

Chinese equivalent of expression

In English, if someone explains a simple joke that should be obvious they get the nickname "Captain Obvious", as the Wiktionary and Wikipedia say. Is there an equivalent expression in Chinese? If so, ...
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2answers
545 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 ...
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2answers
140 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.
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1answer
385 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
130 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
113 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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1answer
225 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 ...
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3answers
505 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, ...
3
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1answer
586 views

What is an idiom that describes aiming for high achievement or success but not forgetting one's roots?

What is an idiom/phrase/saying that describes aiming for high achievement or success but not forgetting one's roots? Something like 展翅高飞 and 饮水思源 combined