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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Is there a reliable way to check if an idiom (成语) is widely used?

Sometimes I encounter an idiom (or 成语) and think to myself "oh, I like this 成语, maybe I should learn it". However, I'll often find out later that nobody actually uses that particular 成语, and I've ...
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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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Alternatives to say "顾名思义"

I am reading a book to explain factorial. n! = n*(n-1)*(n-2)....3*2*1 Decompose word factorial阶乘, I am enlightened to see its meaning literally. Since Factor is 乘数, So factorial should 阶乘. How ...
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131 views

Is 想必一定 a wrong usage?

There are many example sentences (763,000). Such as 你这么成熟懂事,想必一定没人疼你. Intuitively I think it's fluent. But think carefully, 想必 means "presumably, most probably," is this wrong?
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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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'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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1k 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 ...
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The meaning of 东瞧西瞅?

In Mandarin translation of Little Red Riding Hood that can be found around (Grimm Stories, BaiDuBaiKe), mother warns Little Red Riding Hood: "外婆家的时候,别忘了说‘早上好’,也不要一进屋就东瞧西瞅。" How would you translate ...
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88 views

are there region specific idioms?

I am trying to learn more about idioms. I was told this might be a good place to ask this question, so please delete this if this isn't good for this exchange. Are there widely used idioms specific to ...
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769 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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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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Is 金口难开 an idiom, and if so what would be a suitable CC-CEDICT definition?

I stumbled upon 金口难开, and I think it's a 成语. I think it describes people who are pretentious (金口 = gold mouth), which makes it hard for them to speak (难开 = difficult to open). Examples: ...
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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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236 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 ...
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103 views

Chinese Idiom puzzle 4

Please solve the following puzzle The country is peaceful, citizens are happy. - 出自宋·吴自牧《梦梁录·山川神》 A talented man and a pretty lady (a good match) - 出自唐·李隐《潇湘录·呼延冀》。 Heros show themselves when the ...
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69 views

Idiom, common phrase crossword puzzle challenge 2

Please solve this puzzle A famous Chinese general with a red face Too greedy; take on more than one can handle Extremely insightful Going back on one's words Soul flying out of the sky ...
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What is the significance of 女娲补天 beyond its literal meaning “Nüwa mends the sky”?

女娲补天 refers to an ancient Chinese myth, and literally means something like "Goddess Nüwa mends the sky". I'd be interested in creating a CC-CEDICT definition for it, so it'll need the syntax: 女媧補天 ...
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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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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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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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150 views

Idiom, common phrase crossword puzzle [closed]

I made this for fun, please try to solve it. I will post the answer later if no one can solve the whole puzzle. Suggestions on improving the hints are welcome. Since I know the answer, it is hard ...
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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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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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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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How should I understand 虱子多了不咬,债多了不愁 (“lice much stop biting, debt much ignored”)?

After describing various urgent or overdue matters I should be dealing with yet ignore, my teacher said this: 虱子多了不咬,债多了不愁。 Shīzi duō le bù yǎo, zhài duō le bù chóu. I think she used it to mean ...
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739 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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How can I use the idiom 米已成炊 to explain “once I've told you, I can't un-tell you”?

I wrote the following: 我愿意告诉你我的故事,可是后来就跟米已成炊一样。 Basically, it was intended as a warning: I'm willing to tell you my story, but afterwards I can't un-tell you. My Chinese teacher indicated she ...
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What kinds of things can be described as 丰富多彩 (richly colorful), and how do I describe them?

A while back, my teacher asked me to use 丰富多彩 ("richly colorful") in a sentence, but it wasn't received particularly well. The relevant part in my writing was ...丰富多彩地环境 and she said 各种颜色 was ...
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what does this phrase mean 我偏不信邪

what does this phrase mean 我偏不信邪? the English literal translation is "I don't believe in evil" but that doesn't make sense to me.
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Is there an idiom that means to make big claims but have little evidence to support them?

Is there an idiom that means to make big claims but have little evidence to support them?
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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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Chinese Idiom puzzle 7

Please solve the following puzzle To win a war, you need XX, YY, and 人和, What are XX and YY? All formed by nature, no traces of man-made carvings One hand covers the sky. ( Describes someone use ...
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144 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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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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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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how to translate the idiom 阴阳怪气?

Some has translated it into "say something with sarcasm", but it lost the connotation of the literal meaning of this idiom, the strange, unnatural, ugly-sounding and a bit sissy tone.
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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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Chinese Idiom puzzle 6

Please solve the following puzzle Simultaneously raise the Combat capability and reduce the number of soldiers of the army When living is so painful, it is better off being dead To fight a battle ...
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35 views

Chinese Idiom puzzle 5

Please solve the following puzzle You are not a gentleman if you don't take revenge for a wrong against you - 見:《施公案》六四回 People in the world are all brothers - 出自:先秦·孔子《論語·顏淵》 Give no quarters ...
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44 views

Idiom, common phrase crossword puzzle challenge 3

Please solve the following puzzle 語出《易經. 繫辭下》It means that when things develop to the extreme and exhaustion, they must seek changes. After the changes, they will be accessible and suitable for needs....
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Looking for a [common] idiom that loosely translates to “I fart you away”

A few years ago when I first started learning Mandarin, a friend told me of a certain idiom that's used when you want someone to just leave you alone / go away. I can't recall the idiom in Mandarin ...
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263 views

Why “mistreat” is translated as “三顿饭” by Google translate?

In Google translate, one of the Chinese translations of “mistreat” is “三顿饭”: What does “三顿饭” have anything to do with "mistreat"? Is it an idiom?
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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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247 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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728 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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119 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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101 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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Hi, I just wanna know what 莲 means and if it has like a “social” meaning, if it's used in everyday life and stuff. Thank you so much!

I think that '莲' literally means "lotus" but I heard some people saying that it also has a bad meaning, if somebody calls you like that you should be offended. Can someone explain me why? ...
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Chinese idiom puzzle 8

Please solve the following puzzle Describe a woman's husband is not good (nowadays refers to get together with a bad partner) 語出《詩.王風.中谷有蓷》 A live and death matter Everyone has one 遏後語 "年晚煎堆&...
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895 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?