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 土著人 used for Aboriginal people in Australia?

In Australia it is quite common to talk about Aboriginal people as they feature quite often when talking about sports, Olympics or politics. The word that is used to describe Aboriginal people by ...
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9answers
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Is 我很对不起你 a unique sentence structure?

I'd never seen or heard this before until I recently watched a TV series and had to ask my wife to explain. My initial guess was that it meant "I feel sorry for you" when in fact it means something ...
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4answers
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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...., ...
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4answers
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Difference between 新 and 生?

Until now, I thought 新 meant 'new' in all contexts. In class recently, our tutor showed a slide in which he used 生词 for 'new words'. My dictionary gives the meaning of 生 when used as an adjective as '...
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2answers
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What does 餅乾 mean in Taiwan?

I'm unfamiliar with the variety of Mandarin spoken in Taiwan, so I was surprised to see a chilli-snack 香脆椒 referred to as 餅乾: http://mall.tw100years.com/goods.php?id=9 真不敢相信這真是美味的餅乾!看起來是紅紅的辣椒,吃起來是香、...
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3answers
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What does 生命诚可贵 爱情价更高 若为自由故 二者皆可抛 mean?

生命诚可贵 爱情价更高 若为自由故 二者皆可抛 I think it means "life is expensive, but love is even more so. However, both are not as good as freedom."
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Is Mandarin impossible for my goals?

Since years ago I have been studying some languages with the major goal of being able to read texts, complex or not, written under them. My native is Portuguese (from Brazil) and nowadays I have no ...
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5answers
349 views

What's the difference between 兵器 and 武器?

According to the dictionary, 兵器 = weapons, weaponry while 武器 = weapons, arms. It sounds like they are synonyms to me so I was wondering if those two words are synonyms or do they have some difference ...
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172 views

Translation/Meaning: 棒棒机

What exactly is a 棒棒机? I know it's a simple, ordinary kind of cell phone. Is it the same as the English: burner? What constitutes a 棒棒机? What equivalent phrases do we have in English?
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What is the difference between Chinese simplified and Chinese traditional?

I'm Indian. I'm trying to learn Chinese. I searched Google translate, it's showing Chinese simplified or Chinese traditional. What is the difference between Chinese simplified and Chinese traditional?...
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寻 找 , 就 寻 见: I do not understand the second “xún”

At the website http://learnchinesethrubible.org/ I find the following phrase: seek and you will find 寻 找 , 就 寻 见 I do not understand the second "xún". In the dictionary http://www.mdbg.net ...
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Does 给你 mean “Here you go?”

I found a very short sentence on tatoeba.org. All it says is, "给你。" That literally means "Give you," but what does it really mean? My best guess is that I could say it as I give something to you, ...
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3answers
449 views

What is the difference between 人民 and 民族?

What is the difference between 人民 and 民族, for example in 中华人民 vs. 中华民族?
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1answer
228 views

What is the meaning of 不同而不同?

This is taken from the phrase: 口感依成分不同而不同 Sounds like it means "manifold" or something like that?
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2answers
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Pattern in the Chinese numbers 1 to 9

I know a lot of Chinese characters are either a symbol of something or a combination of symbols in the space of one character, so what's the origin of the symbol for numbers 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9? since ...
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3answers
977 views

What is the meaning and proper usage of 凭什么?

I was watching a TV show and heard them using the expression 凭什么 to say 'why' - I hadn't heard this with this exact meaning before, so I'm wondering what the proper meaning is in English, and what the ...
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3answers
863 views

How should you start a letter in Chinese?

How should you start a letter in Chinese? More specifically, what's the difference between starters such as 尊敬的,亲爱的,and 敬爱的, and in which cases should you use which one? 写信的时候,“尊敬的”、”亲爱的“、与“敬爱的” ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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3answers
797 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 ...
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3answers
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How to come from 二百五 to 二百九?

I know 二百五 stands for foolish/stupid and I assume I have to add up 二百五, 三八 and 二 to it to obtain 二百九. Is this right and if so, what does 二 mean and where did it get it's meaning?
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1answer
193 views

Did the ancients really think mangoes were garlic like?

Flipping through Endymion Wilkinson's Chinese History: A New Manual I came across the following excerpt: 36 Food & Drink 36.7 Ming-Qing Mangoes: fansuan 番蒜, mangguo 芒果 (Malay mangga?) 番蒜 is a ...
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668 views

Usage and meaning of “占我的便宜”

My understanding of 占我的便宜 means something similar to 吃豆腐 and I have never heard it used outside of taking sexual advantage. Can this be used in other contexts? Google translate suggests it means "take ...
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3answers
292 views

What's the difference between 蝦 and 鰕?

I found there are two characters for "xia1" (ghra as in Middle Chinese), 蝦 and 鰕. Could someone explain what the difference is?
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Why does Chinese sometimes put 儿 after verbs and nouns?

I tend to see it a lot in text books and guides: 唱歌/唱歌儿 事/事儿 But it's always listed as optional, so what's the deal with it?
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1answer
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The slang meaning of “Seven/七” in Cantonese

I have heard a few Hongkongers saying seven in a similar, likely identical, context. I assume they are addressing a person because when they say it, they make the L hand gesture. I could be wrong, but ...
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1answer
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Meanings behind “吹牛” and “拍马屁”

I would like to find out more about the two sayings "吹牛" and "拍马屁". How these sayings come about and get their current meanings? 吹牛 chuīniú meaning to brag 拍马屁 pāimǎpì meaning to excessively ...
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1answer
309 views

What does 触控 mean in 使用者将可轻松地以触控的方式浏览教科书内容?

I was busy reading about Apple's new textbook announcement on Engadget China, and I came across the following sentence: 使用者将可轻松地以触控的方式浏览教科书内容. What is the meaning of 触控 in this sentence? (My guess ...
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1answer
243 views

When was 华/華 first used as a reference to China?

E.g. as in 中华 or 华语, and other similar words.
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Why does 拉倒 mean “forget about it”?

拉倒 is a word that can mean "forget about it". For example: 鲁迅 《华盖集续编·马上支日记》:“现在这书既然借不到,只好拉倒了。” This seems strange though, because 拉倒 literally means "to pull over". What is the etymology of this ...
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1answer
138 views

Why is 相 pronounced with a fourth tone in some cases?

I notice that 相 is pronounced xiang1 in most cases, but xiang4 in a few, mostly less-common words and phrases. The most commonly-used examples seem to be 照相 zhàoxiàng 'photo'; 照相机 zhàoxiàngjī 'camera';...
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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?
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174 views

Function of 吧 in 循环吧代码

In this page for learning loops in JavaScript by Mozilla Developer Network the title "Looping code" is translated as 循环吧代码. What is the meaning/function of 吧 here?
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5answers
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Is there a difference between 有趣 and 有意思?

They seem to mean the same thing, but I've seen 有意思 quite a few times in my books, and never 有趣. When is 有趣 used and why (especially in comparison with 有意思)?
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1answer
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What is the difference between 竟然 and 居然?

As I know, 竟然 and 居然 both mean "unexpectedly". Do they have any difference?
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8answers
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How does “多” work in this describing sentence “多好看啊!”?

I know 多 means many. But in some cases, it is used as in this sentence, such as this one: "多好看啊!" How exactly does it work? Thanks!
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7answers
1k views

Difference between 坏 and 破

Looking for some concrete answers on the difference between 坏 and 破 From what I have been able to understand: 坏 bad: as in 坏人 (bad person) or 鱼坏了 (rotten food) broken: as in 手机坏了 (broken mobile ...
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5answers
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What's the logic behind the word 从事?

Usually Chinese words are not made up of random characters, but instead have some kind of underlying logic. Moreover, understanding this logic makes it easier to remember and use the word. However, ...
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4answers
4k views

What does 狗改不了吃屎 mean?

What does 狗改不了吃屎 mean? I think it is a proverb. Something do to with god? In my research, is it similar to 江山易改,本性难移?
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7answers
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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 ...
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6answers
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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 ?
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969 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?
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4answers
288 views

了 usage conflict “now” vs “completion”

While learning about 了 usages, i confronted a headache conflict between it's usage or maybe it's an error so i need someone please to clarify this issue. 下雨了 If i go by it's use as action completion ...
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6answers
505 views

What is the difference in meaning between 应变 and 适应 here?

Is there a difference in meaning between 应变能力 and 适应能力 in this sentence? If so, can you please try to explain it? 公司领导人认为,在未来十年的商战中,最重要的武器是应变能力、适应能力和创新能力。
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What is the pronunciation of 行 according to its context?

行 can be pronunced háng or xíng. As far as I have seen, it means "OK, to go, profession", and many more other meanings. Could you briefly summarize the usage of it and its corresponding ...
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5answers
863 views

The meaning of 废柴码农

Someone called me a 废柴码农 after I made a silly mistake. I suppose it must be something negative but what does it actually means?
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3answers
660 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 ...
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3answers
968 views

What does “死党” mean?

My first impression to this word is something like "enemy" or "enemies", because the letter "死" is used and it means death. But when I do some search, it means "sworn followers"? I really doubt at it....
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2answers
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Tree: 树 (shù) vs 木 (mù)

Is there any difference between 树 (shù) and 木 (mù), in the meaning of "tree", or they are interchangeable?
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4answers
627 views

What is the meaning of ㄝ?

From wikipedia: ㄝ是注音符号中的韵母之一,字形取自“世”字,发音则取“世”字之韵。 But I am not seeing how it should be used, and what is the meaning of this. Anyone knows what is the meaning of this, and when it should be used?
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2answers
582 views

What’s the meaning of 会 in 你明天这个时候会是在做什么?

In this sentence: 你明天这个时候会是在做什么?, I find 会 useless, especially since its English translation on tatoeba.org does not seem to reflect its sense. What meaning does it carry here?

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