Questions tagged [meaning]

Questions concerned comprehension and understanding the finer aspects of individual words or phrases, with or without a context in which they are expressed.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
8
votes
1answer
286 views

When should I use the 是…的 construction?

I've been told that 是...的 is used to put emphasis on something, but I'm not sure when or why I should use it.
13
votes
3answers
792 views

Why is 月 used when speaking about anatomy?

One thing I've been curious about while learning Chinese is the use of 月 in many 汉字 representing anatomical features (for example, 脸, 腰, or 腿). What is the etymology of the use of 月 as a radical?
8
votes
6answers
620 views

A unified theory of 就 meaning

就 always bothered me. I couldn't (and maybe still can't) get a hold of its meaning. By looking at many examples of the usage I came to realization that 就 marks a process of becoming a subject to or ...
22
votes
3answers
30k views

What is the exact meaning of 吃豆腐, and where does the expression come from?

I'm not talking about eating tofu, but the expression that means something more like taking advantage of someone. What exactly does 吃豆腐 mean, and where does this expression come from?
20
votes
11answers
24k views

How offensive is 他妈的?

How offensive is the expression 他妈的? What is an English expression with a similar degree of offensiveness? In what situations is this expression appropriate / not appropriate?
11
votes
3answers
1k views

也 和 并 与 及 跟 而 同 difference? [closed]

I have read about connectives 也 和 并 与 及 and asked some questions about them but still I'm somewhat not satisfied with my understanding. Let me summarize my knowledge: 1. 与 connects: nouns only (...
6
votes
2answers
554 views

To 了 or not to 了

I'm Chinese learner and as everybody else I'm puzzled by the verbal aspect 了. My research into the subject gave such results: 了 belongs to a class of perfective aspect markers just as many other ...
14
votes
8answers
1k views

Sheep or goat? 一只羊跑过来

In the sentence: 一只羊跑过来 Would a Chinese person typically assume this is a goat or a sheep?
4
votes
6answers
653 views

Why use combined characters that have the same meaning?

(rèn shí ) both characters means ( to know)and when combined it still have the same meaning. So why can't I use only one of them ?
10
votes
6answers
1k views

How gender specific in writing is the character 他

A couple of years ago I wrote this comment below an answer: On mainland China 他 is used for both male and female. I've only seen 她 used as a stylistic thing for advertising and some old formal ...
8
votes
6answers
803 views

What is the meaning of 相声?

Today I read a blog post talking about a Canadian guy called Mark Rowswell (aka 大山) that appears on Chinese TV shows and who is able to do 相声. This 相声 is referred to as "the art of language". What ...
4
votes
1answer
146 views

What does the use of 'verb 了 verb' indicate?

This text is 囊萤照读。 In this short text I found 5 'verb 了 verb' repetitions: 擦了擦汗,晃了晃头,揉了揉脖子,挪了挪屁股,灯在耳边摇了摇 Do these just indicate repeated action? Or is it 'verb 了 noun': 擦了擦: wipe a wipe 晃了晃: shake ...
3
votes
2answers
576 views

Roots of the difference between 谈,论,说,讲,议, 叙,言,报,告,述

All those talk, discuss, chat and ect. In any language there are a lot of words expressing different connotation of people speaking. In my own language (russian) there are lot's of them BUT I can ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Difference between 哥 and 哥哥

Is there any difference between 哥 and 哥哥? Both are defined as “elder/older brother” in various online dictionaries.
8
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the meaning of 真是的

What is a meaning of 真是的. I heard for many times in context something like 你真是的! And yet I have doubts about proper meaning of this expression.
7
votes
1answer
73k views

Very frequently used word in Mandarin that sounds like “nica” or “nigah”

I work in a group where I am the only person that does not speak Chinese, thus I hear Chinese conversations all day every day. I've noticed that there's a word which is used extremely frequently, in ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

What does the `的` mean in `我是九点去上班的`?

In the reply to 你是什么时候去上班的?, what does the 的 in 我是九点去上班的 mean? I think that without the 的, the sentence makes sense in and of itself, right? And the meaning is that I start to work at 9:00 am...., ...
4
votes
6answers
71k views

What shoud I use to say “I love you”: “wa ai lo” or “wo ai ni”?

Some of my chinese friends speak Chinese. I asked them how to say "I love you" in their language, but most of them said "wa ai lo" not "wo ai ni", how can this be? I look for google translate, it ...
19
votes
12answers
3k views

Why do native speakers often say a character has “no meaning”?

Many times I will know all the characters in a name but one & I'll ask what that one character means. 9 times out of 10 the response is, "That character has no meaning". While it might be true ...
8
votes
6answers
957 views

犬子: who's the dog?

犬子 (literally, dog + son) is an archaic, self-depreciatory term to refer to your son (occasionally it's used to insult other people's sons). This answer raises a question though; who is the dog ...
7
votes
5answers
345 views

太: Meaning in 灰太狼

灰太狼 灰太狼 (A character in a TV show) is translated in English as "Grey Wolf". What has happened to the 太, wouldn't 灰狼 be enough to mean "Grey Wolf"?
7
votes
6answers
618 views

Using 老头 / 老头子 when speaking to others

I'm trying to get some clarification on whether or not it is impolite to use 老头 / 老头子 when speaking outside a group of friends when referring to a third party. From my understanding 老头 is quite ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

When to use 想 versus 喜欢?

Could someone please give we a hint when to use either of those?! My take is that 想 is used for actions and 喜欢 for things!? Am I right?
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Difference between 我饿了 and 我很饿?

Someone tried to explain the difference in this answer https://chinese.stackexchange.com/a/43/38 saying that 我饿了 means "I became hungry", but I don't see the difference because we don't say I became ...
4
votes
3answers
322 views

What is the difference between 嘗試,試圖,and 企圖?

I'm trying to translate this sentence to Mandarin: She's trying to recover the torn photo. So I was trying to find a meaning of "to try" in Pinpin Dictionary, and I came up with three different ...
3
votes
3answers
236 views

How does a body with no arms mean finished? 了子

Reading Henry's question about 了 below, I thought I would look up 了。 http://www.fantizi5.com/ziyuan/ You will have to enter 了。 了是象形字。 To my mind, a child with no arms, or its arms cut off, is '...
3
votes
5answers
1k views

What does “大概” mean? Are there any words with the same meaning?

I looked up in the dictionary, there are 12 meanings for it! well aiblins anywhere belike supposedly probably prob. maybe mayhap presumedly presumably ordinarily somewhere easily mainly Just wonder ...
2
votes
3answers
241 views

why is ‘fruit’ referred to as 水果 if 果 already means fruit?

i’m trying to learn chinese again for the first time after a very long time and i’m just looking at meanings of words to see what individual characters of certain words mean (like 饭 is rice and 店 is ...
2
votes
3answers
528 views

Radical meaning vs characters in use

The radical 阜 and its other form 阝, used on the left, supposedly means mound or dam. Looking at image web search hits for 阜 or 阝, I get nothing related to dam or mound. When I look up the Chinese ...
1
vote
3answers
134 views

What would the meaning of '之前知道' be? And '之前知道了'?

If someone said '我之前知道【proposition】' would this imply that they knew it before, but no longer do? How about '我之前知道了【proposition】'? What about when the time is specific such as ‘昨天我知道【proposition】’? ...
6
votes
2answers
6k views

Who exactly is a 干妈

This dictionary translates 干妈 as "Godmother", and my pocket dictionary also gives "nominal mother". In English, "Godmother" and "Godfather" are very specific titles - Your Godparents are the people ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

How is 马马虎虎 used?

I think it's used like 'so so' in English. Like 问题:你觉得怎么样? 回答:马马虎虎。 Am I correct in this? Are there other ways to use it?
5
votes
2answers
215 views

How to translate the phrase 利而物利章 in context?

I am reading a passage from 呂氏春秋. I think I understand the basic meaning of the three first quarters, but then it becomes difficult. The hard part is the tiny snippet below and especially the last ...
4
votes
7answers
1k views

What does 起来 mean in this phrase?

把被子收起来吧. Translation: Let's put the quilt away. In other circumstances, 起来 means to get up but here there is a different meaning, and from the definitions I can't decide which definition is used ...
4
votes
6answers
1k views

What is the difference between 听到、听过 and 听说?

There are 3 听 (hear or listen to). What is the difference between 听到, 听过, and 听说?
4
votes
2answers
270 views

What is the meaning of 子 in words like 菓子(과자), 帽子(모자), or 獅子(사자)?

I'm learning Sino-Korean vocabulary at the moment and have noticed that many words seem to end in a '子' that doesn't seem to add much semantically to the other character in the word. What should I ...
3
votes
2answers
241 views

What does 三声无奈 mean?

There is this Min song called 三声无奈, lit. "three sounds helpless". This seems to be an idiomatic expression. I am not totally sure what it means though. It seems to mean "completely helpless". This is ...
3
votes
1answer
81 views

Meaning of 的 and 之 when both are used in the same sentence

I’m reading a text in which 的 and 之 are sometimes used in the same sentence, in seemingly equivalent or exchangeable function and position. But I’m sure the author had good reasons to choose the ...
2
votes
3answers
186 views

Understanding 年頭 in context

As part of my efforts to improve my Chinese, I read various books. I just started one. In the first sentences, the author uses 年頭 instead of 時期。I searched the dictionary and found various meanings: ...
2
votes
3answers
763 views

What is the meaning of 看在 and 分上?

看在孩子的分上,夫妇二人没有离婚。 In the phrase above, what do they mean? Neither is found in a dictionary. The sentence is said to translate to "The pair would not divorce because of the children".
2
votes
2answers
157 views

Need help in translation. Problems with 了. Again :)

The sentence is (1)突然父亲嘘了一口气 and (2)突然父亲嘘一口气 I would have undertand them if it's not the for the "突然" part. My take: (1) "Suddenly father exhaled (once)" (like "ooooh" and then maybe died). ...
2
votes
1answer
259 views

What is the difference between qi3 and qi3 lai2?

In both situations my pen is now on a table. Speaking to another person, why do we say: 1) Qing3 na2 qi3 wo3 de5 bi3. 请拿起我的笔。 Not: 2) Qing3 na2 qi3 lai2 wo3 de5 bi3. 请拿起来我的笔。 How does the ...
2
votes
3answers
333 views

What is the difference between 假如 and 例如?

What's the difference between 假如 and 例如? As far as I know, their usage is the same.
2
votes
1answer
70 views

How do I parse 天津图书馆园区馆 (tiān jīn tú shū guǎn yuán qū guǎn)?

I saw the road sign photographed below, but I'm confused about how 天津图书馆园区馆 (tiān jīn tú shū guǎn yuán qū guǎn) makes sense. I'm mostly familiar with the components: 天津 = Tianjin, the city I live in....
1
vote
4answers
172 views

What's the difference between 确实, 的确, and 实在? [duplicate]

They all seem to have the same meaning. What's the difference between them? Thank you.
1
vote
2answers
283 views

Does xiang (third tone) mean “want” or “echo”?

I am reading this set of poems for my humanities class. One of the lines is: Supposedly, the last character is xiang with a third tone and it means to "sound" or "echo". But I thought this character ...
1
vote
1answer
73 views

What is the function of 贴 in 四贴袋?

I can't figure out what 贴 is doing here: 中国革命先行者孙中山综合了西式服装与中式服装的特点,设计出了一种直翻领有袋盖的四贴袋男用套装,定名为中山装,此后几十年,中山装大为流行,成为中国男子喜欢的标准服装。 ‘四贴袋‘ is 贴 a 量词 here?
1
vote
2answers
97 views

What is the purpose of verb reduplication?

In English, we can say: I sneezed a big sneeze. She sleeps a long sleep. "Waiting for a king to apologize, one can wait rather a long wait." (from the film The Kings Speech) and many more such ...
1
vote
2answers
302 views

What is the difference between 魂 and 魄?

Maybe this is a religious technical question and therefore a bit tricky. In English, soul and spirit are used more or less interchangeably, although their origins are dissimilar. spirit: mid-13c., "...
1
vote
1answer
961 views

Weird Chinese text next to the Great Wall [duplicate]

I was looking the Great Wall of China with Google Earth, and I found relly weird characters (that are the same size as the Great Wall) near it. I don't know what these characters mean, so here is ...