Questions tagged [vocabulary]

For questions about vocabulary, i.e. a set of words, as a whole. NOT for questions about meaning or translations, even when more than one word or phrase is involved.

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2
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2answers
1k views

How to give a thinly veiled threat?

I want to know a phrase in Chinese that most native speakers would immediately understand to be a (thinly veiled) threat to their physical safety, very similar to "You had better watch your back" in ...
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2answers
177 views

Usage of 非不 in Middle (?) Chinese

I encountered this line: 色生,生故計是我,非不生。and as an amateur, I was confused by the two negatives in a row (非不), which was followed by 生, and when I tried to figure out what it might mean, I figured it ...
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2answers
212 views

Is it proper to say “她给我帮助”?

What are the ways of saying somebody helped you in Chinese? For example, I want to say, "My Chinese friend gave me some help for writing my Chinese essay." Is this correct?: "我的中国朋友给我帮助写我的中文文章”。
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4answers
414 views

What does 風雲 mean?

Many Cantonese dramas titles contains the suffix 風雲. Examples include: 法外風雲 TVB 酒店風雲 Korean What does it even mean? A google translate gives: Outrage Situation ( Makes sense) Hotel Situation?? ...
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4answers
106 views

Is the rendering of 相 into English as "mutual(ly)" sensible?

Here is the passage with a rough translation of what I believe it is supposed to be saying, it is from 3-400AD, Buddhist scripture: 少欲者,少欲俱相類相聚相應相可; few are the chaste, the few chaste are altogether ...
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3answers
192 views

Usage of 是 in 自以爲是

The phrase 自以爲是 loosely means "to think that one's self infallible". 自以为 makes sense to me, but the 是 confuses me. What does it mean here? I know it should mean "fallible", but the dictionaries I ...
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1answer
848 views

How to ask "anybody/anyone/somebody/someone" questions in Chinese?

For example, how do you translate, "Does anybody/anyone in the dorm have a vacuum I could use?" Or, "Can I borrow somebody's/someone's shoes?" I don't know how to say these types of questions that ...
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3answers
658 views

Difference between 顾客, 客, 客户 and 客人

As in the title what is the difference in word usage/meaning between the following fours words: 客 顾客 客户 客人 ?
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3answers
1k views

Fridge and Freezer Beyond 冰箱

How do I say the words fridge and freezer while keeping the distinction? There seem to be a lot of Chinese words for each, which is most accurate/natural? I don't trust Google. But here is what I ...
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1answer
819 views

How do you translate "could have been" sentences?

For example, how do you translate this: "All his wife wanted was a peaceful life. When he returned from the war, their lives could have been peaceful, but the government situation at that time ...
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2answers
130 views

Question about the usage of 是---的 in Chinese Bible translation

I have a very poor grasp of Chinese, being only a beginner learning. These are two parallel translations of John 1:17. 1) 因為律法是藉著摩西賜下的, 2) 律法本是藉着摩西传的 The best I can make sense of them is: 1) ...
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1answer
129 views

What is the correct way to say "-shaped"?

How do you correctly say "sth-shaped", such as "heart-shaped" or "star-shaped"? Do you say 心状?星星状?
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2answers
978 views

What are the differences between 报名,登记,挂号?

It looks like they all mean "register". Are there any differences between these three words?
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2answers
733 views

图片 and 照片: are they interchangeable?

I see both words used on modern websites. Do 图片 and 照片 mean the same thing? Are there cases where they are not interchangeable?
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2answers
1k views

What are the common tennis terms in Chinese?

Particularly for advantage set / tiebreaker set game set match love (the term used for 0 or a no score situation) 15/30/40 deuce advantage in / advantage out
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5answers
941 views

In Chinese, how can I describe someone as being cynical?

cynical as in "believing the worst of human nature and motives; having a sneering disbelief in e.g. selflessness of others."
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2answers
745 views

Question about how to say "sounds like" "looks like" "tastes like" "smells like" "feels like (referring to touch)"?

My question is not really about comparing things. My question is about expressing the quality of things, like characteristics. For example, how do you say: 1. "it sounds like your work is very ...
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1answer
73 views

What other words than 奥 exist for places of reveration?

奥(ao4) denotes a place inside a house,where offerings to one's ancestors are put. It is located in the south western corner of the house. Beside this term, are there further words like this?
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1answer
85 views

How are 连绵词 used in modern Chinese?

A concise definition of 连绵词 I found is an alliterative and echotic biome e.g. : 窈窕 徘徊 孜孜 Is this group perceived as sth. distinctive with unique rules how or under which circumstances to use ...
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5answers
287 views

How do you say "to stay" or "to visit" a business instead of a person or vacation destination?

How do you say 'to stay' or 'to visit' a business? For example: "How long do you plan stay at the coffee shop?" or "We are glad you came to visit our store." Words like 看,访问,住,下榻,... All seem to ...
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2answers
317 views

What is the subtle difference between 志愿, 意愿, and 心愿?

I noticed many Chinese words have the same or similar meanings but they are not exchangeable. In many cases it is hard to decide which one to choose. Can anyone tell the subtle difference between 志愿, ...
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1answer
238 views

Measure word and vocabulary for internet posts

If I want to say "There are 100 Facebook posts" or "There are 100 Tweets", how do I do so? From Pleco, I got: 帖子 = post (forum), 推特 = Twitter, 脸书 = Facebook. So is it something like: "这是百个脸书(推特)帖子。...
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3answers
3k views

The meaning of 牛气 and 很牛

I have seen one of my language partners use 牛气 and 很牛, but he couldn't explain it to me. The context suggested it meant something like "bullshit" or "you are kidding me", a sign or disbelief, but the ...
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9answers
3k views

Why is hot water called 开水?

Why is hot water sometimes called 开水? What is the meaning of "open" in this context? How is this different than saying 热水 or 烧水? Is it something to do with how the water was made hot, kind of like ...
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1answer
105 views

Internet user - 网民? 互联网用户?

The question is simple – do these two terms mean the same thing? I have seen the first one translated as a "netizen" once, but do they principally mean the same thing? Thanks in advance!
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5answers
1k views

Vocab problem: 肥 vs 胖 vs 肥胖

Do all of these mean just "fat, obese"? Dictionaries seem to indicate that these characters mean that separately. Is there a reason to use them both? Is this one of the cases where two characters just ...
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3answers
145 views

What is the real original of 微妙在智,触类而长 ,玄通阴了, 巧夺造化

I was trying, in my poor way, to make sense of these old 4 character stanzas from 郭璞《葬经》. 微妙在智,触类而长 ,玄通阴了, 巧夺造化 An American told me, this is not correct, I should look up the original first. It ...
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5answers
1k views

A 理解 and 了解 comparison

I know the question regarding the difference has been asked but the answers didn't really help me in the other post. I'm trying to recall what my Chinese teacher once taught me. 理解 is when you can ...
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6answers
1k views

Difference between 肯定 and 确定

Does anyone know the difference (if there is a difference) between 肯定 and 确定? I seem to have trouble in knowing when to use each of them in certain contexts.
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3answers
1k views

chinese bound trisyllabic morphemes

I'd like to know whether there're truly bound trisyllabic morphemes in mandarin Chinese. Thank you so much in advance.
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2answers
167 views

Difference between 面包 and 列巴

What is the difference between 面包 and 列巴? Dictionaries suggest both mean bread, but Google search seems to indicate that 面包 is any kind of baked flour (buns, bread, baguettes, croissants etc.), while ...
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1answer
685 views

Was "jih pun"- an origin of "Japan", came from Cantonese?

Looking up the origin of pun, I came across this for the origin of Japan. I suspect jih pun must be Cantonese. Tang Ho, as resident Cantonese expert, is that so?? http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?...
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3answers
1k views

Help me identify this Chinese word?

I was in Shanghai on a business trip several weeks ago. One evening, while my coworker and I were walking down Nanjing Road on the way back to our hotel, we were accosted my many ladies of the night ...
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1answer
1k views

What are the most common Chinese terms for travel power adapters between different international socket and plug standards?

Are there more specific terms than “適配器” which is the general word for “adapter”? What about “轉換器”? English speakers use a variety of terms to refer to these devices. Personally I find "travel ...
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4answers
5k views

What is the polite way to say a grandparent has passed away?

I've been trying to find out what is the polite way of telling someone that someone, specifically a relative, has passed away? I'm pretty sure it's not very nice to say someone died (死)。 Google ...
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2answers
376 views

What is the meaning of 很搭?

I have never heard of this adjective...? Also I checked on Baidu and it was less than helpful... http://zhidao.baidu.com/link?url=RobUqePv2YKUWD1PXNi_ZHv9awWxDw4oSQoJQPtHo5st56o9ELMlOm2-...
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2answers
3k 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.
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5answers
3k views

Should I use "闷声发大财" or "闷声大发财"?

闷声发大财 闷声大发财 Both are widely used among the Chinese people, which one is the correct one?
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1answer
137 views

How well-known is the expression 杯弓蛇影?

I like this 成语 and brought it up in a conversation, but the person I was speaking with (an expat Chinese) didn't know it. So I would like to know how well-known it is. Would a 10 year old in Beijing ...
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1answer
972 views

What's this vegetable in Taiwan called?

Please tell me what this vegetable in Taiwan is called in Chinese. (I also don't know its English name so can't look it up in a dictionary.)
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1answer
115 views

Translation for "Woodlouse"

What is the best simplified Chinese translation for the isopod known as the common European "Woodlouse", also called "Sow bug" or "Pill bug" in US? (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodlouse for ...
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3answers
256 views

What is the best translation for 会说?

The Wenlin dictionary translates 会说 as "talker", but the meaning of talker in Harrap's dictionary is bad. Should 会说 be translated as "narrator"?
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4answers
202 views

In mathematics, how to express "两者不能同时成立"?

Is there any reference book from which I can learn the basic usages applied to the proofs in mathematics? I met several problems these days, for instance, "两者不能同时成立" seems hard for me. Thank you!
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3answers
286 views

Does a Chinese character almost-always represent a word?

My guess is that (at least) 99.9% of Chinese characters represent words. The possible exceptions are 的 and 吗 -- as in: 的 in "my car" (wǒ de chē) 我的车 吗 in 你好吗? or "Ni Hai Hao ...
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2answers
323 views

How to express 踏实 accurately?

What I want to say is "我是一个踏实的人", but I am not able to think out an accurate word or phrase to say that, thank you!
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6answers
267 views

Is 医好了 outdated in favour of 治好了?

I have been working through a grammar book with exercises where one of the solutions is "医生把病人医好了." My language partner said that 医好了 is unusual and that it is better to say 治好了 instead. Is this ...
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4answers
1k views

What percentage of Chinese words are 1-character ? ... 2-character?

Within an average Chinese person's vocabulary ... (which may be ~ 30,000 (?) words, but this number isn't important) could you guess what percentage of the words are 1-character, and what ...
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1answer
1k views

how to refer to beginning/middle/end in Mandarin?

I'm taking private Mandarin classes in Taipei. I'm having trouble referring to the beginning/middle/end of things. I asked my teacher how to say this, and the more I explained the more confused she ...
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1answer
814 views

Verbs to indicate animals walking?

What are the various verbs that can be used to indicate walking for animals? Saying something like 老虎开始走向巴士 or 小猫在街上走着 sounds odd to me.
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8answers
936 views

Why can't I say "我的腰不好”

My teacher said it wasn't a good thing to say - why? For example, my back really hurt - is this not what I should have said? How do I express that my lower back hurts?

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