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 ...
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16 votes
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Is the sentence "我们要怎么去机场?" ambiguous?

I am a native Chinese speaker. This sentence is not ambiguous to me at all. Here the "怎么" clearly means "how" to me. But if you switch "要" and "怎么",then the sentence will be like: 我们怎么要去机场? Here "...
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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 ...
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16 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 ...
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15 votes
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What does "老" in "老虎" and "老鼠" mean

EDIT: Also refer to Aminopterin's answer and Travis Hu's answer for more insights. After some research, I found two reasonable explanations. But, IMHO, the two should be compiled as the following: 老 ...
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  • 3,257
15 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 ...
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  • 641
14 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 ...
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  • 1,248
13 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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12 votes

“哩勒公蝦毀” what does this mean?

哩勒公蝦毀 This sentence refers to the pronunciation of "What did you say?" in Min-Nan 哩(ㄌㄧ): You 勒(ㄌㄟ): an auxiliary verb 公(ㄍㄨㄥ): say 蝦毀(ㄒㄧㄚ ㄏㄨㄟˇ): what 蛤?! This word equals to "Huh? Could you speak ...
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12 votes

When to use 一言难尽

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 ...
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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 &...
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11 votes
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What is the meaning behind 5000萬「袋住先」and D7689!@#?

The pronunciation of "D"-"7" is similar to a Cantonese foul phrase (something similar to fxxking hard). 689 is a common way to refer to the current Chief Executive (CE) of Hong Kong, because he won ...
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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,...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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10 votes
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What does 非也 mean?

也 is classified into 虚词(lit. imaginary word) in classical Chinese. 虚词, unlike its counterpart of 实词(lit. real word), doesn't have a meaning, but it's indispensable to some grammatical functions. It ...
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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,...
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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「...
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  • 1,446
10 votes

What does 家 mean in 家医院?

家 is the measurement word for 医院
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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 ...
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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. ...
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9 votes
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When to use 一倍 vs 两倍

If some words that mean "is" (e.g 是/相当于 ) are used, then it's literal times. 你的速度 是 我的两倍。 Your speed is twice as mine. Normally you will not say "one times" in this scenario. 你的速度是我的一倍 (Your speed ...
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Phrases to acknowledge being corrected in Mandarin

I would simply add 謝謝你 at the end to soften the tone. 我明白了,謝謝你。 I understand now, thank you. 原來如此,謝謝你。 Ah, so that's how it is, thank you. "喔,知道了" can sound a little brisk and abrupt depending on ...
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9 votes
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The real meaning of "傲嬌"

傲嬌 is a word from Japanese animation and just used in the Internet. 傲娇指的是这样一种性格: 表面上对陌生人/喜欢的人很冷淡或趾高气昂,即展现出“傲”的一面,而一旦关系突破某一好感度/耻度界限后,或者遭遇某种契机(特殊事件)的时候,就会突然变得害羞、娇俏可人,即表现出“娇”的一面。 ref : http://zh....
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Meaning of "不了" in "忘不了/喝不了/..."

了 here is read liǎo which means: to finish / to achieve / variant of 瞭|了 / to understand clearly -CC-CEDICT thus 不了 unable to / without end -CC-CEDICT 忘不了 = can't forget / unforgettable ...
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9 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 ...
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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.
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