Questions tagged [meaning-in-context]

Questions concerned understanding of individual words or phrases, considering a context in which these words and phrases are expressed.

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The correct usage of 大约 vs. 差不多

I am a bit confused by the appropriate use of 大约 and 差不多. I have learned to use 差不多 in many cases where I am talking about an approximate amount, value, extent, etc. of something, or speaking about ...
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Meaning of 閒日 (cantonese)

In the sentence 唔知佢點解,佢閒日唔會打電話嚟。 What is the meaning of 閒日? The official translation given by my reference is “weekdays”, but when i searched this in the dictionary, the meaning given is “free time”. ...
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What does 足有 mean?

I found this in Matilda (p.13): 这本书的这一版本足有四百一十一页。 that edition contained four hundred and eleven pages. [original English (ref.)] the book's [这本书的] edition [这一版本] has (?) [足有] 411 pages [...
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What does the word 'field' mean in this context?

I edit a manuscript for non-chinese-speakers. The writer was an expert in Chinese language and literature. I want to learn, but I am not a native speaker. So, I have difficulty in interpreting how ...
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Is the 健 in 健忘 (“forgetful”) ironic?

The word 健忘 looks like a contradictio in adiecto: "healthy" + "forget". Am I missing something?
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Does 差不多 (chàbùduō) imply “slightly less than” when comparing quantities?

差 implies a kind of deficiency, so I expect A比B差不多 to mean A is slightly "worse" than B in some way. For example, I would expect 我比你差不多高 to imply I am slightly shorter than you. I'm not sure ...
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What does 玄机 mean?

When we were talking about chengyu 知难而上, one my Chinese friend said, 你没看出来这里面的玄机 Then he explained 知难而上 can be understood as 知男而上. By the dictionary, 玄机 means mystery. However, I think it being ...
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A better translation of 假作真时真亦假,无为有处有还无。

In the Chinese classic 红楼梦 ("Dream of Red Mansions"), there is a famous couplet: 假作真时真亦假,无为有处有还无。 Pinyin: jiǎ zuò zhēn shí zhēn yì jiǎ, wú wéi yǒu chù yǒu huán wú. This has been translated into ...
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What part of speech is 到 (to) when used in this case?

I was having trouble with the sentence "两只饿到眼绿的老鼠正在房梁上打架" because I could not understand the usage of 到 here. After I spent some time thinking I figure the meaning is that the rats were hungry to the ...
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如何把名词形式的 'Nothing' 翻译成中文 How to translate the English noun form of Nothing into Chinese?

Here are 2 English sentences, both have the word 'Nothing' in it in the noun form. I am wondering if it can be translated into Chinese while preserving as much of its original meaning as possible. ...
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What is 给 doing in 你给宠坏了 and 一个人给丢在家里 (Matilda 玛蒂尔达, p.7)?

I bought the Chinese version of Matilda, and I'm confused about this: Specifically, I'm confused about why 给 (usually meaning "to give") is in these phrases: 你给宠坏了 You're getting spoiled [...
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44 views

Help help, maybe a basic question

Can somebody tell me what 友並表 means? I know that 友 means friend.
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167 views

What does 我正好是诗情勃发 mean in the Chinese translation of Roald Dahl's Matilda (p.2)?

I went to a library the other day and found Roald Dahl's Matilda. I started reading, and I found what I think might be a typo (but maybe not---Roald Dahl has a quirky writing style): My ...
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What should I picture when I read 终端?

I have a text talking about a GPS system. 北斗卫星 导航 系统 北斗系统终端不仅可以为船只导航,还能通过其特有的短报文通信技术,报告船只位置和随航人员的情况。 Should I just picture a computer terminal when I read 终端? A screen where I can see information ...
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Function of “也” in “一点儿也不喜欢”

In the sentence "我一点儿也不喜欢这件衣服", translated as "I don't like this piece of clothing at all", what is the function of "也"? Is it valid to think of this syntax as "not even a little bit [do I like this ...
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Can 吃 be used for liquids?

I was confused by the lyrics of the children's song 三个和尚: 一个和尚挑水吃 两个和尚抬水吃 三个和尚没水吃呀 三个和尚没水吃 没水吃呀 I've seen other versions of the song that use 喝 instead of 吃, which makes more sense to me....
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How to use 走勢 in finance/tech industry

I'm struggling to clearly understand how to use the term 走勢. I've been told that this translates to "trend" but I'm not clear if this suggests trend in terms of general popularity, or trend in terms ...
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42 views

Lost Postcard Shop

I travelled to Shanghai a long time ago and recently got to come back for CPhI. I returned to Tianzifang, where I bought these beautiful poscards, and though I can speak and read some Chinese, I ...
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need help me translate this title and signature?

can someone help me with what this says, i've tried google image search and even looking for different signatures but no luck so far.
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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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129 views

How does do (做) mean become (成)?

In the sentence ‘I want to be[come] a policeman’, why is the verb for ‘become’, ‘do’? 我想做一个警察。 Wǒ xiǎng zuò yīgè jǐngchá. I have seen one of the dictionary definitions of 做 to mean become, ...
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Is 香气袭人 only ever used for a good smell?

I was reading about 雪莲。 It says “雪莲花香袭人,” I'm pretty sure that ’香气袭人‘ is used to indicate a good smell, not a stench. Is that correct? However, 袭 seems to mean 'attack, assail'. In English, if a ...
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What does 经济生活 mean here?

I'm a bit stuck translating these 6 characters. What does he mean with : 经济生活途径? (Probably not 'economic life way') 记者对社会学者进行访谈。 记者:您认为目前人们交友的目的是什么? 学者:。。。。 在他们看来,现代都市的人际关系应该务实,...
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Does the single character 神 refer to “God” (the unique God, such as in e.g. Christianity) or just “god” or “deity”?

Some people get the single Chinese character 神 (shén) tattooed on them (e.g. 1 2) thinking it means "God". I suspect most of them are Christians, where it's a fundamental part of their beliefs that ...
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What does 高举旗帜 mean?

In the latest document of the 19th National Congress of CPC, 高举。。。旗帜 was translated as “hold high the banner of...", and the translated work was said to have been revised and finalized by experts who ...
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What's a good translation for 说法?

在我们这边是有这种说法——混血儿会比较聪明。 I know several meanings for it. 官方说法, Official statement; 讨说法, seek explanation or justice. 今日说法, talk about law. However, here 说法 means a kind of public opinion. Can it be ...
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What does 东突之敌 mean here?

I am reading the article titled 沙场骁将浩气长存——沉痛悼念杨勇同志 in 人民日報, published on 1983/01/22. It describes the combat tactics of PRC general 楊勇, who had just passed away. A passage reads: 第一旅在西关向城内进行主要攻击;...
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How does 遥望却间隔 translate to "Look at the distance?

A lyric from this song: https://mojim.com/cny111282x11x2.htm https://translate.google.com/#view=home&op=translate&sl=auto&tl=en&text=%E9%81%A5%E6%9C%9B%E5%8D%B4%E9%97%B4%E9%9A%94 遥望 ...
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32 views

Meaning in car/wiring context

Whenever I try to use any available translator I've got strange results like "special for free light". 16款自由光专用 What can this sentence mean in car or electric wiring context?
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126 views

Translation of 白眼狼

十里桃花三生三世 To-the-Sky-King-Tang-Qi.pdf 可叹大师兄竟救了玄女,将一条白眼狼引入昆仑山。 Unfortunately, First Apprentice had looked after Xuan Nu, taken her in, and by so doing unleashed white-eyed terror upon Mount ...
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Why do we use 做 in this sentence as “being”?

Sentence: 我太喜欢和他做朋友了 How can we use 做 in this meaning in other sentences? Where can I read more about it and what is the name of this "rule"? And what is the meaning of the 了 in this sentence?
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What is the meaning of 左右着 here?

How would you translate 左右着他们 here? What other phrase could I substitute for 左右着他们 here? 在古代的时候,科学水平还没那么高,人们对自然的认识也是有限的。因此,碰见灾难的时候,就会认为后神灵在左右着他们,所以人们祈求于神灵。 就会认为后神灵在左右着他们, then they might believe the ...
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Is this translation English to Chinese translation correct or close?

An unprecedented look into the food and culture of ice, from Iceland's premier chef and the owner of Reykjavik's Restaurant Dill. 一个史无前例的食物和冰岛的文化,从冰岛总理厨师和雷克雅未克的所有者迪尔餐厅。
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Ten obligations in 三字经

Here's the final excerpt from part one of 三字经 [1]: 父子恩 夫婦從 兄則友 弟則恭 長幼序 友與朋 君則敬 臣則忠 此十義 人所同 Simplified Chinese: 父子恩 夫妇从 兄则友 弟则恭 长幼序 友与朋 君则敬 臣则忠 此十义 人所同 Translation [2]: ...
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How to distinguish PICTURE OF ME and PICTURE OF MINE in Chinese?

This is a PICTURE OF ME. This is a PICTURE OF MINE. Both can be translated to 这是我的图片
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Is the non-literal interpretation of 浪漫是她想要月亮时,你不会给她星星 that young romance is selfish, particularly of women?

This dialogue is from the book Standard Course 标准教程 HSK4 上, page 8 (JD.com): I'm interested in this part: ... 年轻人说:浪漫是她想要月亮时,你不会给她星星 ... I (literally) translate this to: Young people [年轻人] ...
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What does 还真别说 mean?

Some commented about a joke, 还真别说,这个笑话有点意思。 The translator gives Don't mention it I don't think it's right.
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How did 零 came to mean zero?

I understand that 零 originally meant rain, however for some reason it eventually became fragments then also zero. How did the meaning of this character shifted to become also fragments (rain drops, ...
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150 views

What does 融 in 融资 mean?

融 means melting, right? So 融资 means melting capital? Some Chinese friends told me that it was the ancient practice where gold ingots from different sources are melted to become the property of ...
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Meaning of 重剑 aside from the fencing sword epee

The main translation of 重剑 is epee, which is a fencing sword. However, in a novel, I saw the term used in a fighting scene. It was also described to be placed on the character's back. Since the two ...
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What is the difference of the meaning of 挂牌 in 挂牌督办 and 挂牌上市?

牌 is a sign or a board, 挂 is hanging, I understand that in a market where goods are to be sold, the seller would post a sign to tell potential buyers that here is the thing you want. But what is the ...
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“以” in “敗義以求生, 豈荀巨伯所行邪”

Does "以" have the same meaning in the following sentences? 敗義以求生, 豈荀巨伯所行邪 志士仁人 無求生以害仁
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What is 茜 in the phrase 茜纱窗下?

晴雯死了。宝玉祭文。黛玉听见了。宝玉说,”有什么不妥的地方,还请你替我修改修改。“ 宝玉写的是:红绡帐里 黛玉说,”何不说 ‘茜纱窗下’“ Is 茜 just 红色? Or is it what the window screen is made of? Is it 芦苇?
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'最终有个交代‘, '交代’ meaning

The sentence comes to my mind is at least, in the end, I can say that I tried everything I could. Is there a corresponding expression for ‘交代’ here?
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What does 算不上 mean in 算不上太美好的日子?

This is from the book 我是马拉拉 (the Chinese version of I am Malala). I transcribe it to: 2012年10月9日,星期二那天发生的事情,改变了一切。那天原本要大考,对学生们来说算不上太美好的日子。但和大多数同学不一样,我号称“小书虫”,感觉考试并不是什么大事。 I translate this to: ...
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What tense is this sentence?

"你会不会怕我" example What tense is this sentence? It seems like future tense, but if you watch the video the person talking (the dad) is talking to his daughter. But, that makes me think it is current ...
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How does word order affect the meaning of a sentence

A foreign friend of mine asked me the following questions and I cannot explain to him very well. So I am looking for help here. Context: I said to him: it's ok to say a sentence in different word ...
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Is it known to which bird species 雎鸠 refers?

关关雎鸠,在河之洲。is a very well known line. When I look up 雎鸠 in Baidu, I see pictures of ospreys, cormorants,herons, seagulls and other species. Is it known to which bird species 雎鸠 refers? According to ...
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What does this 切 mean here?

Looking at 诗经,第一首诗: 求之不得, 寤寐思服。 悠哉悠哉, 辗转反侧。 in 现代的普通话 追求的姑娘却总得不到, 日日夜夜心里想着她。 时常思念情意切, 翻来覆去难入眠。 In the 3rd line, what does 切 mean? true? ? sure?
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What is the meaning and function of 幸 in “则幸分我一杯羹”?

What is the meaning and function of "幸" in the following sentence? 吾翁即若翁。必欲烹而翁,则幸分我一杯羹