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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What is the 成语 for “face like buddha, heart like scorpion”?

I was watching Raise the Red Lantern (which is an excellent movie by the way) and saw this phrase come up on the subtitles, but wasn't able to catch what the actual Mandarin behind it was. Does anyone ...
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4answers
157 views

「批烂斗臭」这个四字词语,除了「批评」强调什么?

为了练习阅读,我有时候看小报新闻因为内容比较简单。在下面关于“逆向种族主义”的文章中我遇到了一个四字词语:「批烂斗臭」。 当然,并不是所有西方人都认同这场文化层面的“革命”。很多保守派的白人就认为这场“革命”是偏激和粗暴的,是在通过树立种种“政治正确”的言论牢笼,逼迫人们去接受“革命者”的观念。而倘若拒不服从,就遭到网络暴力的攻击,被“批烂斗臭”,甚至会失去工作和前途。 美国白人终于喊出这个词,...
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Chinese of “No one will think you’re mute because you don’t speak”

Does anyone know the correct Chinese expression that goes something like no one would think you’re mute because you don’t speak? And how it’s correctly written in Chinese? I’ve read the translation a ...
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2answers
538 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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7answers
684 views

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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3answers
488 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, ...
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136 views

Is there an idiomatic way to express being overwhelmed by vocabulary?

The other day, I wanted to describe my shock regarding the overwhelming HSK6 vocabulary list (~2500 additional words) to my teacher, so I came up with a self-made idiom 词山词海: taking 人山人海 and replacing ...
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2answers
106 views

Is there a chengyu to describe small-time thieves or scoundrels with a playful connotation?

I'm looking for a chengyu or an idiom to colloquially describe small-time criminals, but without excessive negative connotation. There are already words both in Chinese and English that come close: ...
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4answers
170 views

Good translation for song title “二泉映月”?

I’m working on materials for a concert of Chinese music, with an audience of general people here in Texas (not for the Chinese community). So, I want meaningful and lucid titles in English along with ...
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624 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.
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260 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 phone, I ...
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1answer
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What does 七年之痒 mean?

I looked it up and something about the Seven Year Itch but I'm kind confused. Does it have any deep meaning in Chinese culture?
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1answer
263 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 ...
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2answers
467 views

Correct use of 惹人心烦: is 然而我不要惹人心烦 a suitable way to say you don't want to be a pain in the neck?

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 ...
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1answer
505 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
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3answers
966 views

How to use 如 to make comparisons or analogies

I see this come up sometimes in idioms, and I find it easy to understand but not easy to use(1) Is it used to spoken comparisons or analogies? Or is it only for literary, formal, fixed expression? If ...
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132 views

Does the idiom 高城深池 have a positive or negative connotation?

The dictionary says that this idiom means impenetrable defense (high city walls, deep moat). Does this mean that an individual described with this idiom is stubborn or strong in resolve?
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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
410 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 ...
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1answer
198 views

How did 黑鍋 “black wok” semantically shift to mean “blame for a crime”?

https://chinese.stackexchange.com/a/38716 spurred this question. 黑鍋 - Wiktionary (literally) black wok (figuratively) blame for a crime How did "black wok" semantically shift to mean ...
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Usage of 能骗就骗 (if you can cheat, then cheat)

There is a Youtube video by a popular Youtube blogger who lives in China and is married to a Chinese woman, and he says in that video that the Chinese language has the idiom 能骗就骗 ("if you can cheat, ...
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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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What does 降维攻击 mean?

The idiom 降维攻击 is quite popular in Chinese chatting rooms. Interestingly, it's used almost in any context. What's the origin and meaning of it?
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Is 各式各样 Taiwanese version of 各种各样?

I know that 各式各样 = 各种各样, but is one Taiwanese version of the other one? What I mean is: is one more frequently used in China and the other is more frequently in Taiwan?
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“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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152 views

Is there an expression similar to the English “gut feeling” in Chinese?

Is there a metaphor or idiom that has a similar meaning to "gut feeling", as a metaphor for "intuition" or "instinctive feeling", in Mandarin Chinese?
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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
114 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!
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6answers
130 views

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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2answers
83 views

How widespread is the idiom 蘑菇?

I have seen the word for mushroom [蘑菇, mógū] to be an action such as dilly dally. Is this an inherent idiom in the written language apparent across a large spectrum of dialect, whereas the word ...
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2answers
107 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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520 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.
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1answer
270 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".
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378 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?
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604 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 renowned ...
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1answer
150 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) [...
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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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1answer
29 views

New idiom related to surveillance: People do things, the sky watches

I'm trying to find information (including the original Chinese) on an idiom that seems to be gaining popularity recently, related to surveillance (unsure whether this is a traditional phrase or not). ...
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1answer
72 views

What does 跳马猴子 mean?

The term literally indicates some kind of monkey jockey riding a racehorse. I’m guessing it means “lunatic”. I can’t find it in any dictionary. Any ideas?
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1answer
92 views

“Big Fish & Begonia” 大鱼海棠

I just saw the movie, and I can’t understand why it has this title. First of all, A whale is not a fish! Is the word translated as “fish” used for all swimming animals? Even if that’s the case, any ...
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1answer
98 views

Is it a solvable Idiom Crossword Puzzle? [closed]

Native Chinese speakers should be able to solve this puzzle. Just want to know if the hints I give are too hard or too easy. And how long it take for you to solve it. Shock heaven and move earth ...
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1answer
281 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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641 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.
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120 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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4answers
127 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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401 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 ...
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2answers
131 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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128 views

Idiom/chengyu meaning: 小葱拌豆腐一清二白

I recently came across 小葱拌豆腐一清二白 as a dictionary submission, but the explanation of the submitter was unclear. I have had mixed/little luck searching for the expression (or parts of it), and I also ...
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1answer
68 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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6answers
281 views

What does 委屈你了 mean in this situation?

Suppose your friend invites you to dinner. He prepares a dish that he knows is too spicy for you, but you're a good sport and try it anyway; it actually turns out to be quite tasty. He says 委屈你了. "I ...