Questions tagged [idioms]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
4
votes
2answers
228 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.
2
votes
1answer
220 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: ...
0
votes
5answers
715 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?
0
votes
5answers
467 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?
1
vote
3answers
338 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
0
votes
2answers
613 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
votes
4answers
278 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
293 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
votes
2answers
298 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?
7
votes
3answers
276 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?
0
votes
3answers
107 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.
4
votes
5answers
378 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
2k 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?
2
votes
2answers
519 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
122 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.
5
votes
1answer
328 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 "...
0
votes
1answer
115 views

What is the meaning of 亲收获? [closed]

What is the meaning of 亲收获? Thank you in advance.
0
votes
2answers
92 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
vote
1answer
730 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
votes
1answer
186 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
votes
1answer
167 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
413 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
453 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
231 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
398 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.
2
votes
2answers
561 views

What does it mean to 占便宜?

What exactly does it mean to 占人家便宜? Are there other ways of using 占便宜? My general understanding is that it means to get the better or others, but I'm never sure when or how to use it properly.
4
votes
1answer
287 views

What does 含饴弄孙 mean?

What does 含饴弄孙 mean? What's its origin, what sort of contexts is it usually used in and also how popular an idiom is it? It does not seem to appear in any regular Chinese-English dictionary I've ...
2
votes
3answers
508 views

Idiomatic Translation: Guilty Pleasure

jDictionary Advanced English Dictionary defines guilty pleasure as: guilty pleasure (idiomatic) Something that brings pleasure but is considered taboo, unadvisable or lowbrow. "For the ...
5
votes
1answer
358 views

Chinese Chengyu (Idiom): Refute somebody with his own argument

Is there a Chinese Idiom for "Refute somebody with his own argument"? I thought this is not quite the same as "self-contradictory" 自相矛盾. Thank you.
3
votes
1answer
452 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
1
vote
5answers
936 views

Translation for “ray of sunlight after rain”

I am looking for a Chinese translation of the Swahili word kianga, which has the following meanings: burst of light burst of sunshine clear up (after rain) ray of sunlight after rain clearing up (of ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

How to translate 掩耳盗铃 into English?

Preferably an idiom just as picturesque and succinct. Thanks. Here's the original meaning: The expression 掩耳盗铃 comes from a story about a person who decided to steal a bell. However, the bell ...
3
votes
6answers
246 views

How to translate “For all you know”? [duplicate]

What are the best ways to translate For all you know? For example: For all you know, she could be lying to you. In response to a friend getting upset that her friend isn't picking up her ...
6
votes
2answers
185 views

Should names in idiomatic expressions be capitalised?

As the title indicates, I'd like to know the proper way of writing Pinyin for idiomatic expressions that contain names. Should those names be capitalised? Some dictionaries say that they should (Pleco ...
-1
votes
1answer
78 views

How to translate “desires have been granted”

I am trying to think of a 4-word 成語 that means "my/your desires have been granted" but I can't remember or think of one.
0
votes
4answers
379 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, ...
4
votes
3answers
367 views

Thoughts on the expression 腦洞大開?

腦洞大開 (Simplified: 脑洞大开) seems to be a phrase that's making its rounds in Sinophone online communities (a Google search may be illuminating), although its precise meaning as of yet still eludes me. It ...
1
vote
1answer
199 views

How to translate 武大郎开店 into English?

武大郎 is a legendary short man. He runs a shop; and all of his employees are shorter than him. It characterizes an orgnizational phenomenon. I wonder if there is an English saying that means the same ...
2
votes
1answer
400 views

What does 狗吃连帮 mean?

I heard people say this phrase once or twice, in derogatory tone. It sounds like 狗吃连帮 or 狗吃粮帮. Internet search gives no result, but it didn't sound like some local dialect to me. I heard people say ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

How to Say the “something” in the phrase “Do something”

I was trying to explain the meaning of the phrase "hang out" to a Chinese friend, and the first thing that came to mind was 一起做什么了, with me intending 什么了 to mean "something". He seemed to understand ...
4
votes
2answers
301 views

What are these “riddle jokes”?

In Chinese there are these jokes which are delivered as a small riddle followed by the answer. They are often used humorously, with the answer used as an insult. Here are some examples: 哑巴吃黄莲/有苦说不出 ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

What does 狗改不了吃屎 mean?

What does 狗改不了吃屎 mean? I think it is a proverb. Something do to with god? In my research, is it similar to 江山易改,本性难移?
2
votes
1answer
139 views

來鴻去燕 interpreting idioms

So I am studying idioms and in many cases I come across one whose words I understand but whose meaning must apparently lie in a deeper story. The Wise Talk app gives: 來鴻去燕 (lai2 hong2 qu4 yan4) ...
3
votes
1answer
259 views

Meaning of 爱惜花草树木

I'm trying to get the meaning of the following expression: 爱惜花草树木. A Chinese friend told me that it's something like "It's so corny", but I'm having a hard time finding an explanation online. I've ...
3
votes
5answers
410 views

Meaning of 他急红了眼?

I've heard that expression while I was in Beijing, and I can't find the translation when I scroll the Internet. Do you know what it means?
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does 拉倒 mean “forget about it”?

拉倒 is a word that can mean "forget about it". For example: 鲁迅 《华盖集续编·马上支日记》:“现在这书既然借不到,只好拉倒了。” This seems strange though, because 拉倒 literally means "to pull over". What is the etymology of this ...
2
votes
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
107 views

How would you say 绵延不绝的小山 and 一望无际的田野 in English [closed]

How would you say 绵延不绝的小山 and 一望无际的田野 in English? Continuous mountains, and large and large fields? Thanks!
2
votes
2answers
413 views

Correct use of 惹人心烦

I am not sure if I used the idiom 惹人心烦 correctly. This is the sentence I used, 好啊,然而我不要惹人心烦。 Would that be a good use of it or is there a better way of saying you don't want to be a pain in the neck ...
7
votes
3answers
481 views

冰雪聪明… only for girls?

Is the expression 冰雪聪明 (bīng xuě cōng míng) really only used for girls? The literal translation is "snow smart" and I understand it means something along the lines of "extremely smart" but the times I'...