Chinese Idioms[1].txt

  1. 爱屋及乌
    ài wū jí wū
    Love me, love my dog.
  2. 百闻不如一见
    bǎi wén bùrú yī jiàn
    • wén = to hear
    • to hear something a hundred times isn't the same (as good) as seeing it just once
  3. 笨鸟先飞
    bèn niǎo xiān fēi
    • A slow sparrow should make an early start.
    • self-deprecating way of saying that you only did as well as you did (given your limited abilities) because you got an early start.
  4. 不眠之夜
    bu4 mian2 zhi1 ye4
    • [mian2 is from shui4mian2 – sleep(n)]
    • [zhi1 = de]
    • (this phrase is a noun – “a sleepless night”)
    • a sleepless night (the connotation is positive, one of anticipation)
  5. 不以物喜,不以己悲
    Bu4 yi3 wu4 xi3, bu4 yi3 ji3 bei1
    • yi3 = because of
    • wu4 = something, anything outside of you – from shi4wu4
    • ji3 = zi4ji3
    • bei1 = sad
    • not pleased by external gains, not saddened by personal losses
  6. 不遗余力
    • lit: to not omit surplus capability/power/influence
    • spare no effort; go all out; do one's best/utmost
  7. 不打不成交
    Bu4 da3 bu4 cheng2jiao1
    • cheng2jiao1 = to make friends, to reach a deal
    • jiao1qing2 = friendship
    • If we hadn’t have fought we wouldn’t be friends today.
    • We had a rough start, but now we’re friends
  8. 拆东墙补西墙
    chāi dōng qiáng bǔ xī qiáng
    • chai1 = to break up, split apart, rip open; to destroy
    • bu3 = mend, patch, fix, repair, restore
    • lit.: pull down the east wall to repair the west wall
    • 'Rob Peter to pay Paul'
    • Use: “wo3 zhe4 shi4 chāi dōng qiáng bǔ xī qiáng.”
  9. 辞旧迎新
    ci2 jiu4 ying2 xin1
    • Ci2 = say goodbye, jiu4 = old, ying2 = welcome, xin1 = new; ying2xin1 = to see in the new year
    • 'bid farewell to the old and usher in the new', 'ring out the old year and ring in the new'
    • Use: “zhe4 shi4 yi2 ge4 ci2 jiu4 ying2 xin1 de shi2 ke4”
    • (shi2ke4 = moment)
  10. 时刻
  11. 大事化小,小事化了
    dàshìhuàxiǎo, xiǎoshìhuàle
    • to turn big problems into small ones, and small problems into no problem at all.
    • Juliana's cultural context: 'When a big problem happens, we try to cover it up and make it look like a small problem. When a small problem happens we try to simply ignore it. Especially in the case of conflict between people – the opposite of escalation.'
  12. 大开眼界
    dà kāi yǎnjiè
    • open one\'s eyes; to be a real eye-opener
    • kāiyǎnjiè = broaden, expand one's horizons
    • Use: “Wo3 zhen4 shi4 da4 kai1 yan3 jie4”
  13. 国泰民安
    • 'the country is peaceful/quiet, the people at peace'
    • tai4 = peaceful, quiet
  14. 过犹不及
    • you2 (like, similar to, just like, as)
    • ji2 (extend, reach, come up to)
    • 'too far is as bad as not enough'
    • sort of like “you can have too much of a good thing” – too much or too little, either can be bad. ‘too much is as bad as not enough’
  15. 功夫不负有心人
    gong1fu bu4 fu4 you3xin1ren2
    • gong1fu = time, fu4 (from gu1fu4) = to disappoint
    • you3xin1ren2 = someone who works hard for something, someone who is determined.
    • “he who is patient won’t be disappointed”
  16. 好了伤疤忘了疼
    hao3 le shang1ba1 wang4 le teng2
    • shang1ba1 (scar / fig. remnant of former damage / remaining trauma), teng2 (ache, pain, hurt) teng2 = tong4 = pain
    • 'once on shore, one prays no more'
  17. 好事不出门,恶事传千里
    hǎo shì bù chū mén, 'è shì chuán qiān lǐ
    • lit.: good deeds do not go beyond the door, evil deeds spread a thousand miles
    • 'a good deed goes unnoticed, but scandal spreads fast'
    • chuan2 = propagate, transmit, qian1 li3 = 1000 miles
  18. 和气生财
    • he2qi4 = freindly, polite, amiable, sheng1 = birth, cai2 = wealth, valuables, riches
    • 'Harmony brings wealth'
  19. 活到老,学到老
    huódàolǎo, xuédàolǎo
    'One is never too old to learn'
  20. 既往不咎
    • to forget and not bear recriminations (idiom); to let bygones be bygones / There is no point in crying over spilt milk
    • ji4wang3 = ji4(ran3) wang3 = though [already] past
    • jiu4 = fault / to blame / to punish / calamity / misfortune
    • Use: zhei4 ci4 Wo3men jiu4 jìwǎngbùjiù
  21. Difference between:
    'bu4 yao4 zai4 fan4' and 'bu4 yao4 zai4 fan4 cuo4'
    • bu4 yao4 zai4 fan4. = don’t make that mistake again.
    • bu4 yao4 zai4 fan4cuo4. = don’t make any mistake again.
  22. 重复
    to repeat, to duplicate
  23. mei3 ge4 ren2 dou1 hui4 fan4cuo4, dan4 bu2 yao4 fan4 chong2 fu4 de cuo4 wu4.
    Everyone is going to make mistakes, just don't make the same mistakes over again.
  24. What does the left part of the character '犯' mean?
    • the left part of the character '犯' means people/animals imprisoned – always indicates bad things
    • fàn = to violate / to offend / to assault / criminal / crime / to make a mistake / recurrence (of mistake or sth bad)
  25. 金无足赤,人无完人
    jīnwúzúchì, rénwúwánrén
    • 'Gold can't be pure and man can't be perfect'
    • zu2chi4 = pure gold, solid gold, wan2 = complete, finish, settle; whole
    • wan2ren2 = perfect person
  26. 金玉满堂
    jin1yu2 man3 tang2
    • jin1yu2 = treasure, man3 = fill, tang2 = house
    • 'Treasures fill the home'
    • you would say “zhu4 ni3 jin1yu2 man3 tang2, shou4 bi3 nan2 shan1”when you visit somebody – always used at birthday parties when the person is older than you (not younger). Not normally used outside of birthday parties. Without the “shou4 bi3 nan2 shan1” can be used in other situations when you want to wish someone a good life, etc. – say mainly to friends or business partners who want to be wealthy and are working on it.
  27. 脚踏实地
    jiao3 ta4 shi2 di4
    • jiao3 = foot, ta4 = step, shi2di4 = solid earth
    • lit.: put your feet on the solid ground. 'be down-to-earth'
  28. 脚踩两只船
    jiao3 cai3 liang3 zhi1 chuan2
    • jiao3 = foot, cai3 = stand, liang3 = two, zhi1 (mw), chuan2 = boat
    • working/playing both sides (usually a bad thing – someone with two girlfriends, or someone doing business with two competing interests) – conflict of interest
  29. 君子之交淡如水
    • jūn​zǐ​ = nobleman / person of noble character, zhi1 = marks preceding phrase as modifier of following phrase; it, him her, them; go to, jiao1 = mix; intersect; exchange, communicate; deliver dan4 = weak, watery, insipid, tasteless ru = like, as shui3 = water
    • 'A gentleman's friendship, insipid as water'
Card Set
Chinese Idioms[1].txt
Chinese Idioms