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Questions tagged [meaning]

Questions about understanding the meaning of words, phrases, etc. For in-context meaning, use [meaning-in-context].

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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?
八带永's user avatar
  • 555
10 votes
1 answer
994 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.
Friso's user avatar
  • 418
10 votes
6 answers
1k 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 ...
coobit's user avatar
  • 2,073
10 votes
5 answers
4k views

A Complex Chinese Character (Characters Identified: 招財進寶)

I randomly saw this character on the blog a while ago and saved a image of it as shown below. Is this even a character? If so, what does it mean? When is it used? What was the origin of it? How do ...
Thomas Hsieh's user avatar
  • 3,297
8 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
coobit's user avatar
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5 votes
6 answers
3k 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 ?
Jenin Hope's user avatar
27 votes
14 answers
53k 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?
jsj's user avatar
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24 votes
5 answers
54k 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?
Ciaocibai's user avatar
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20 votes
8 answers
10k views

What's the difference between 星期X and 周X?

When accepting an answer, I noticed that the example used the word 周三 for Wednesday, but in my grammar, the days of the week are 星期一, 星期二, etc... They seem both correct but, what's the difference? ...
Alenanno's user avatar
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11 votes
3 answers
3k 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 (...
coobit's user avatar
  • 2,073
17 votes
8 answers
3k 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?
going's user avatar
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12 votes
7 answers
2k 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 ...
going's user avatar
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9 votes
5 answers
1k 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 ...
noe's user avatar
  • 462
5 votes
2 answers
903 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 ...
coobit's user avatar
  • 2,073
3 votes
3 answers
5k views

What is the difference between 打算 (dǎ suàn) and 计划 (jì huà)

Are 打算 (dǎ suàn) and 计划 (jì huà) both synonyms for "plan," or are there some additional nuances here?
Everyone_Else's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
678 views

Differences between "Verb + Adj", "Adj + Verb", "Verb + 得 + Adj" and "Adj + 地 + Verb"?

I am having some difficulties understanding the differences in meaning between the following structures (the examples are from Line dictionary): Verb + Adj e.g: 走快了她会累。 Zŏu kuài le tā huì lĕi. ...
Puco4's user avatar
  • 2,142
1 vote
3 answers
2k views

What's the difference between 周 and 星期? [duplicate]

From a dictionary lookup, it seems that both 周 and 星期 can mean "a week"—is there any difference in usage?
MrVocabulary's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
285 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 ...
Pedroski's user avatar
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24 votes
12 answers
6k 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 ...
aelephant's user avatar
  • 1,160
17 votes
9 answers
13k views

Is Sunday 星期天 or 星期日?

I am using the ChineseSkill app to learn Chinese and I learned that 'Sunday' in Chinese is 星期天 (xīngqītiān). However, sometimes on the internet I see 星期日 (xīngqīrì). Are both correct? Why is there ...
Leonel.L's user avatar
  • 173
15 votes
2 answers
208k 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 ...
Hack-R's user avatar
  • 261
15 votes
7 answers
2k views

Why do people say 慢点儿阿("man dianer a") when you leave their shop?

When you leave a shop, you often hear the shopkeeper saying something like "man dianer a", which sounds like 慢点儿阿 (something parents say to their kids to get them to walk more slowly [even if they ...
Becky 李蓓's user avatar
  • 16.6k
13 votes
4 answers
24k views

Why 干菜类 was mistakenly translated to Fuck Vegetables?

In the following famous sign which appeared in some supermarket in China: why 干菜类 was mistakenly translated to Fuck Vegetables instead of Dried Vegetables? Is there any hidden meaning in it? Source: ...
kenorb's user avatar
  • 233
12 votes
5 answers
3k views

Why does 有机 as in 有机食品 mean organic?

有 and 机 are some of the first characters we learn in Chinese, but only recently did I find out that they mean "organic" when put together. Can anyone explain why this is?
Ciaocibai's user avatar
  • 4,626
11 votes
2 answers
11k 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 ...
jsj's user avatar
  • 3,455
11 votes
6 answers
2k 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 ...
going's user avatar
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11 votes
4 answers
3k views

What is the difference between 國語 and 普通話?

I am still a beginner, but after 1 year I'm still not sure about the difference. I've been talking with some citizens from China mainland on the Internet, when I mentioned that I'm learning 國語, I ...
Henry Kingston's user avatar
10 votes
5 answers
4k 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.
Denis Kucherov's user avatar
10 votes
6 answers
1k 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 ...
congusbongus's user avatar
  • 8,592
9 votes
5 answers
3k views

Why say 少说两句 to break up a fight?

In the movie 北京遇上西雅图 (~25m45s), during an argument the protagonist calls another pregnant woman a 骚货 ("slut") and they start physically fighting. A third woman tries to break them up and ...
Becky 李蓓's user avatar
  • 16.6k
7 votes
2 answers
4k views

Difference between 正在 and 在?

I am a beginner in Chinese (Mandarin), and I am following a phone app to learn. However I cannot understand what is the difference between 正在 and 在 ? For example: 你正在干什么? and 你在干什么? The app ...
clem steredenn's user avatar
7 votes
5 answers
473 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"?
jsj's user avatar
  • 3,455
7 votes
2 answers
916 views

Meaning of 差 in 现在差一刻九点?

I have difficulties understanding sentence. What is meaning of 差 in the following sentence? 我看一下,现在差一刻九点。
Boris Ivanov's user avatar
7 votes
4 answers
5k 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 ...
going's user avatar
  • 10.2k
7 votes
5 answers
2k 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?
user137313's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
429 views

演 = 氵+ 寅 but what's it got to do with water!? How did it get its modern meanings?

氵+ 寅 = 演 zisea 拼音:yan3 ①根据事理推广发挥:推~。讲~(亦作“演讲”)。~义(以史书及传说的材料为基础,增添一些细节,用章回体写成的小说)。~绎(一种推理方法,由一般原理推出关于特殊情况下的结论)。 ②依照程式练习:~练。~示。~算。~武。~习。~兵场。 ③不断变化:~变。~化。 ④把技艺当众表现出来:表~。~出。~播。~奏。主~。义~。 I can't really ...
Mou某's user avatar
  • 36k
6 votes
3 answers
4k 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?
Friso's user avatar
  • 418
6 votes
4 answers
2k 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...., ...
Blaszard's user avatar
  • 5,444
6 votes
2 answers
5k views

Is there a difference between 担心 (dānxīn) and 着急 (zháojí)?

They're both verbs, they both have meanings "to worry, to be anxious", they both seem to be able to be used as adjectives also. I just want to know if there's any difference: is one used more in ...
Ming's user avatar
  • 1,789
5 votes
3 answers
713 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 ...
Reynaldi's user avatar
  • 535
5 votes
3 answers
2k 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., "...
Pedroski's user avatar
  • 18.6k
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

What does j8傻逼 mean?

In the following picture: I understand the meaning of 傻逼 but what is the "j8" before it?
Blaszard's user avatar
  • 5,444
5 votes
7 answers
2k views

What does 尽信书不如无书 mean?

After pointing out the many bugs in an online Chinese "how to give a presentation in English" webpage, one of my colleagues wrote this on WeChat: 尽信书不如无书 Jìn xìn shū bùrú wú shū Question: What ...
Becky 李蓓's user avatar
  • 16.6k
5 votes
2 answers
248 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 ...
Ludi's user avatar
  • 2,816
5 votes
3 answers
949 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 ...
Нет войне's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
151 views

Official definition of (單)字, (單)詞, 片語, 成語

As stated in the title, is there an official, or unified, definition of these terms?
r13's user avatar
  • 13.4k
5 votes
1 answer
175 views

Why is 饰界 used to mean "hinges" in a 1908 book?

I've got this translation here: The door turns on its hinges. 门靠着饰界转 I'm assuming 饰界 matches up with hinges. It's not a word I've encountered before or that's readily searchable online. The ...
Mou某's user avatar
  • 36k
4 votes
1 answer
394 views

The translation of "I never said she stole my money."

Translation nightmare! Is this an acceptable translation of the sentence "I never said she stole my money."? If it is acceptable, is there any, even slight, trace of ambiguity in the Chinese ...
Pedroski's user avatar
  • 18.6k
4 votes
2 answers
2k views

Difference in MEANING (NOT structure) between 得 vs 地

Please, don't explain when to use 得 or 地. I already know that the grammar difference between them both, which is: V 得 adjective (老师话说得很快。) adverb 地 V (老师快快地说话。) Also there are many posts on this ...
Enrico Brasil's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
2k views

Who should be counted when responding to 你家有几口人 (nǐjiā yǒu jǐkǒurén) "how many people are there in your family"?

An early question in Chinese people learn is: 你家有几口人? How many people are there in your family? (nǐjiā yǒu jǐkǒurén) My Chinese text book contains these example responses: 五口人。他们是我爸爸,我哥哥,我弟弟和我。你呢?(...
Becky 李蓓's user avatar
  • 16.6k