I collect the following phrases that have the meaning of "independent".
support oneself by one's own labor
earn one's salt
earn one's own living
live by the sweat of one's brow
live by one's own labor
live on one's toil
live on the earnings of one's own work
stand on one's own ...
If you use Facebook, you may know the relationship status It's complicated; the Chinese version is 一言難盡. That said, the phrase is intended be used whenever the situation is complicated, in a good way or in a bad way. On the other hand, despite its intended usage, people often use it for certain feelings or thoughts in disguise, such as when they simply do ...
The idiom's meaning is reinforced by the rhyme. I think you have the basic meaning correct. Maybe if you rhyme it in English it'll come out more like the Chinese:
"People are iron/Rice is steel/You'll feel like crap without a meal" - not a literal meaning, but conveying the gist.
I may answer to the first part of the question. I did a script to search all 4 characters ChengYu with your requirements. Here a resume about their number and the exaustive result from my db (ccdict).
I'll answer based on the article provided by @Stan. From what I can tell, it is a transcription from a 1999 article that appeared in 《语文建设》, the raw data of which came from 汉语成语考释词典 by 刘洁修, 1989.
Period | Number | Percent
春秋以前 Before Spring and Autumn | 88 | 1.21
春秋 Spring ...
Theory 1: A coffin is made of three long and two short pieces of wood. And a coffin means death, dangerous.
You also can find some clues in the wikipedia article about "使用筷子禁忌".
Theory 2: Taoist forecasts through burning incenses. It is the most dangerous condition that there are three long incense sticks and two short incense sticks after burning five ...
I've come across a PhD dissertation which covers this exact topic plus many others:
Analysis of Chinese Four-Character Idioms Containing Numbers: Structural Patterns and Cultural Significance
Nall, Timothy M.
It turns out this subject is much larger than I anticipated, so I'll only strictly answer the question I've asked (chengyu with only two numbers,...
It means "to breeze (in)".
To examine this in more detail, the phrase 飘然而至 simply means "to arrive" in a 飘然 manner", and 飘然 has a couple of interconnected meanings:
unrestrained, unencumbered; carefree
A good overall translation would be "to breeze (in)". However, the precise translation can be adjusted depending on the ...
画蛇添足 means 'ruin things by adding unnecessary, inappropriate addition'
Adding legs on a snake in a painting not only doesn't improve its quality , it actually ruins it by adding unnecessary, inappropriate addition
Man: "I love you"
Woman: "I love you too"
So far so good
Man: "I love you as much as I love my dog"
Now it is too much ...
引用汉典论坛的讨论，“人是铁，饭是钢”有两个含义：1. 人是铁，但饭比铁厉害，铁是斗不过钢的。不吃饭是不行的。2. 人是铁，经过吃饭，锻炼成钢。以上的观点源自商务印书馆出版、由日本语言学者集体编写的《现代汉日辞海》中谚语“人是铁，饭是钢”一词的解释。
Before the Reformation and Open Doors, ...
爱不释手 is idiom in Chinese. You cannot split and use it. In most time, we use it as adjective or adverb to describe that you love something very much.
Sorry ,I miss the etymology:
It should be 君令有所不受. The whole sentence 将在外，君令有所不受 means: (if) the general is far away (at the battlefield), he does not have to obey all emperor's orders. The deeper meaning is that the general should judge and act according to the real situations at the battlefield and thus doesn't need to obey all the orders.
将在军 means the same as 将在外. 军 there means at ...
No, I don't think there is an idiom describing all of the three.
In Chinese, it is very common to use parallelisms, such as "他才貌兼具，德艺双馨".
I used little different terms from yours and parallelize them together to avoid literal duplication.
Use 一言难尽 when the situation is worse than before.
From 生意做地很好 to 混得这么惨
have you found the change of situation in this example? It's pretty ...
"Whatever you can do today, don't postpone it to tomorrow"
This common Chinese saying may had the same origin as the quote in the question:
"Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today."
This phrase is so common, it is in grade school textbooks
The idiom 坐言起行 express a similar sentiment in a ...
Are there any resources about such "potent" words? Is there a term in Chinese for such words?
One could in theory extract a list of potent words from any list of two-character words together with a chengyu dictionary. Which HSK 1, 2, … 6 words are potent?
It is very common for Chinese to combine two compound words and rearrange the order to create ...
There is an expression "米已成炊" (rice is cooked) It describes "既成事實" (a realized fact)
When raw rice is cooked, it cannot be changed back to raw again. Old Chinese thinking considered marriage is permanent, must be treated with caution. If a man and a woman get married, it is like raw rice boiled to be cooked rice-- It is permanent, cannot be undone. The ...
一清二白 is a very common idiom. It's well defined in this dictionary:
◎ 一清二白 yī qīng èr bái
(1) [be perfectly spotless]∶非常清白 e.g. 素来一清二白
(2) [be perfectly clear; as
clear as daylight]∶ 同“一清二楚” e.g. 记得一清二白
小葱拌豆腐一清二白 is 歇后语 as the other answer indicated. 歇后语 usually have two parts. The first part describes a way how the second part is generated.
In this case, ...
HSK6 idioms (from vocab list). English definitions from CC-CEDICT.
一丝不苟 (yīsībùgǒu)not one thread loose (idiom); strictly according to the rulesBaike; Jukuu; Yabla
一举两得 (yījǔliǎngdé)one move, two gains (idiom); two birds with one stoneBaike; Jukuu; Yabla
一如既往 (yīrújìwǎng)just as in the past (idiom); as beforeBaike; Jukuu; Yabla
Let's summarize all the suggestions
两败俱伤 = "both lose, both get hurt". It is the most fitting idiom for "lose-lose situation"
玉石俱焚(burn together with the enemy) , 同归于尽 (die together with the enemy) are more fitting for describing "mutual destruction"
鱼死网破 (the fisherman loses his net and the fish loses it's life), is a lose- lose situation but the main ...
“The wise man and the tortoise travel but never leave their home
There's no such proverb in Chinese.
The only one remotely similar to this 'proverb' in Chinese is 秀才不出門，能知天下事 (A talented person can know the world without going out)
I suspect whoever coined this 'proverb', heard it somewhere that there's a Chinese idiom expressing "a wise man doesn't ...
Here are some pairs which frequently appear:
三 and 二/两: 三三两两, 三心二意, 三天两头, 三长两短.
三 and 五：三令五申, 三五成群, 三番五次, 三纲五常.
四 and 八：四平八稳, 四通八达.
三 and 六/九：三头六臂, 三六九等, 三教九流, 三公九卿, 三跪九叩.
五 and 十：五光十色, 一五一十.
千 and 百/万：千奇百怪、千方百计、千辛万苦、千恩万谢.
You may notice that:
(1) 三 is often used. In classical Chinese (文言文), 三 not only means the exact number of "three", but also "...
To understand such an unsophisticated phrase, one should look for the most straight-forward and culturally obvious explanation. That is, I don't think analysing the chemical properties of iron and steel will be the right way to go.
Instead, there is one very obvious relationship between iron and steel: steel is tougher than iron. This fact is historically ...