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18 votes
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Why did my Chinese teacher describe Donald Trump as 口吐莲花?

「莲花出淤泥而不染」,象征纯洁 (lotus flower came from mud but not stained by it. Symbolizing purity.) Your teacher described him as 口吐莲花 in an ironic way, mocking his foul mouth Idiom 舌灿莲花: 譬喻说话的文采和美妙 ("the ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
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17 votes

What does 高高矮矮 mean?

When you see an AABB type word with A and B are antonyms, generally the author is describing both A and B. So it's actually "tall AND short". 高高矮矮的树 = both tall trees and small trees = Some ...
Alan Zzz's user avatar
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17 votes
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What does "小" mean in "小炒牛肉"?

To understand the meaning of 小炒, you need some more background information. Chinese factories or companies normally employ chefs to cook for employees, and chefs need to cook with super big pot or ...
Henryfrombeijing's user avatar
16 votes
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What role does 成 (chéng) play in the sentence 我把十块美元换成人民币?

成 (into) is the result complement of the verb 换(change) 换 = change 换成 = change into 兑换 = exchange 兑换成 = exchange into 兑换 mostly refers to 'currency exchange' 换 can refer to exchange between ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
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13 votes

What does 我们已经帮您踩过了 mean in this peculiarly translated escalator sticker?

Please allow me to give you some background about this sticker. On July 26th, 2015, one piece of plate, where the sticker is sitting, on an escalator turned over leaving a young women dead in Hubei ...
Never settle down's user avatar
13 votes
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Does 「你的中文是在哪里学的?」mean "How did you study Chinese?" or "Where did you study Chinese?"

中国人:你的中文是在哪里学的? 我:在北京语言大学学的。 Without other context, this dialogue indicates a normal conversation sequence. '在哪里' just means 'where'. In some context, 你的中文是在哪里学的? could be used as a rhetorical ...
dan's user avatar
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12 votes
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What is the difference between 对不起, 请问, 不好意思, and 抱歉 to express "excuse me" or "sorry"?

对不起 is the phrase for apologizing for anything, for generally saying sorry. This is what you would normally say in situation 2. 请问 means "may I ask...?"; it is used to introduce a question and not to ...
George Law's user avatar
12 votes

Why did my friend write 发发发 on her note?

发发发; 发 is short for 发财(get rich, make a fortune). There is a catch saying: 重要的事情说三遍(important things should be reiterated three times). This is kind of emphasis for its importance. That's why people ...
dan's user avatar
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12 votes
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Why did my friend write 发发发 on her note?

发:Short for 发财,make a fortune,become rich。 Chinese people like to use reiterative locution to emphasize the strong meaning or wish. Other cases like: 好好好、 旺旺旺、棒棒棒、赞赞赞。 Sometimes you will also see 888 ...
Bruce Huang's user avatar
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12 votes

What does 家 mean in 家医院?

家 is the measurement word for 医院
炸鱼薯条德里克's user avatar
12 votes
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How to understand "你怎么了?"

It's one of those fixed expressions whose otherwise regular meaning is significantly and conspicuously altered by the modal 了, that introduces change semantics. The phrase 「你怎么(样)~」 in itself means &...
blackgreen's user avatar
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11 votes
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The interpretation of a sentence in the Qieyun (切韵) preface

There are many errors in the 百度百科's article you gave, so I show my punctuation of the preface first. The content comes from the 水巷孑蠻's answer. 1) 昔,開皇初,有儀同劉臻等八人,同詣法言門宿。 2) 夜永酒闌,論及音韻。 3) 以今聲調,...
hinen's user avatar
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11 votes
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Why are people writing 打井 (dǎjǐng) = "to dig a well" on this construction site wall?

I myself as a Chinese can tell you that they are all advertisements for well digging, as those places are near the countryside where some villagers might need well for water, therefore those people ...
Yanfei Zhang's user avatar
11 votes
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What is the meaning of the character 打 in 打坐?

According to the 《佛光大辭典》, 打坐 指跏趺而坐 (to sit cross-legged),使心入定 (to settle the mind)。 即指坐禪 (za-zen, to meditate)。 「打」,動作行為之意 (means to do or to act)。 According to the 《汉语大词典》, 打 (36) 谓从事某种工作 (to do ...
hinen's user avatar
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11 votes
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What is the meaning of 死 in 死搬兵书上的理论?

I think "inflexibly" is a better choice than blindly. 死搬兵书上的理论 - Inflexibly apply(transport) the theory in the book on the art of war. The opposite word is "活用" - apply (knowledge) ...
r13's user avatar
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11 votes

What does 卷 mean in 当你刚开始想卷的时候?

If the vlog is made recently then most likely 卷 is short for 内卷,an economical/sociological concept that has become popularised in China in recent years. "卷" itself has become part of the ...
EEQ's user avatar
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10 votes
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What does 荠麦之茂,荠麦之有 in 《猗兰操》 mean? 韩愈《猗兰操》“荠麦之茂,荠麦之有”一句作何解释?

薺麥之茂,薺麥之有。 薺麥之茂生,薺麥之因有。 薺麥之茂生,因薺麥之有。 薺麥茂於雪霜之時,乃因薺麥之內有。 薺麥能茂生於雪霜之時,乃因薺麥之內在本有。 The buckwheat(?) can grow well in the snow because of its inherent ability. 君子之傷,君子之守。 君子之傷厄,君子之見守。 君子之傷厄,見君子之守。 君子居於艱難之境,...
vuluvsa's user avatar
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10 votes
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What is the meaning of the expression 丘壑凛凛?

楊牧 《心之鷹》 鷹往日照多處飛去 沒入大島向我地投影 陽台上幾片落葉窸窣 像去年秋天刪去的詩 而鷹現在朝南盤旋 漸遠。我站起來 面對著海 於是我失去了它 想像是鼓翼亡走了 或許折返山林 如我此刻竟對真理等等感到厭倦 但願低飛在人少,近水的臨界 且頻頻俯見自己以鴥然之姿 起落於廓大的寂靜,我丘壑凜凜的心 「丘壑」的原義是「...
SLS's user avatar
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10 votes

What does "你舒服吗" mean in a relationship context?

歪了歪了…… I can see why 你舒服吗 will be easily interpreted as sexually comfortable. Because without any context, we will not use 舒服 to describe relaxation of mind. And extremely structurally simple ...
Toosky Hierot's user avatar
10 votes

What's wrong with this sentence 我终于快到中国了

我快到中国了。 I will arrive in China soon (O) 我终于到中国了。 I finally arrived in China (O) 我终于快到中国了。I finally arrive in China soon (?) 'finally' refers to the present or past events (you cannot say 'I finally ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
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10 votes
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What does 高高矮矮 mean?

It seems the author returned home after a long period of absence. He felt heartbreak and lost because the person who used to greet his homecoming with heartwarming smiles was gone, but the yard of ...
r13's user avatar
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10 votes

警察 vs 武警 difference

警察: Police. In China the term 民警 (abbreviation for 人民警察 people's police) is used more often. 武警: Abbreviation for 武装警察 armed police. Although it is "police", actually it is a military unit. ...
Alan Zzz's user avatar
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10 votes

What is the meaning of 死 in 死搬兵书上的理论?

What is the meaning of 死 in 死搬兵书上的理论? 死 means dead, a dead body, no motion anymore. In the Chinese language, there are many extended meanings from 死. For example, 死脑筋 (stubborn) and 死心眼 (inflexible). ...
PdotWang's user avatar
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10 votes

Why 今 and 今天 both mean “today”?

Literally, 今 means "present". 今天 - the present day = today. 今年 - the present year = this year. 今生 - the present life = this life.
r13's user avatar
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9 votes

Have I understood the joke 男:我一直就很爱你啊! 女:那不直的时候呢? correctly?

直 could mean heterosexual(informal). This comes directly from "straight" in English.
Jason Swift's user avatar
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9 votes

What is the meaning of the character 打 in 打坐?

One of sense of 打 is: 与某些动词结合为复词,表示进行之意。E.g. 打扫;打扮 It denotes the continuity of an action. So, 打坐 means sit and continue it on and on, that is, meditation.
dan's user avatar
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9 votes

How can I interpret 不要为你的美丽伤了我?

This is quite typical of language in mainland-Chinese public service announcement type signs, which tend to be quite "cutesy" in tone. Stuff like personifying inanimate objects (such as ...
Lionel Rowe's user avatar
9 votes
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What is a "sound loan"?

In the Outlier entry there is a link to a gloss explaining the term: Sound Loan is when a character gets borrowed to represent a word for its sound, rather than its form. Ex. The form 我 wǒ which ...
Mou某's user avatar
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9 votes

What does 高高矮矮 mean?

高矮 = height (n) 長短 = length (n) 大小 = size (n) 高高矮矮的 = (有些)高的,(有些)矮的 = some are tall, some are short = both tall and short (of different height) 長長短短的 = (有些)長的,(有些)短的 = some are long, some are short = ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
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9 votes

The 行 in 大唐女儿行 or 骊歌行

行 stands for 歌行体, an ancient poem/folk song style, a type of yuefu(乐府) poem. Ancient poems written in this style are usually named x歌 or x行 (e.g., 琵琶行,长恨歌). Due to a looser constraint on format and ...
EEQ's user avatar
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