Home > Blossary: Chinese Idioms (Chengyu - 成语)
Chinese is an ancient language and so has a wealth of fascinating idiomatic expressions referred to as chengyu (成语) that reveal not only the poetry of the language but the incredible culture that is its backdrop.
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Created by: CSOFT International

Number of Blossarys: 3

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This idiom means to "sit around waiting for opportunities" but the story behind it is quite entertaining. Once upon a time, a rabbit was running away from something or other and ran smack into a ...

Domain: Culture; Category: General culture

The literal meaning of this idiom is that there are difficulties on the left and the right sides. Simply put, it means you've got a dilemma or you've found yourself between a bull's two horns.

Domain: Culture; Category: General culture

For Westerners, China can seem a very unfamiliar place; there's strange food, strange customs, and a strange language. The best thing you can do is repeat this Chinese idiom to yourself, which has ...

Domain: Culture; Category: General culture

Similar to the English expression - "to cast pearls before swine" - this idiom means to "play the qin (an ancient Chinese wind instrument) for a cow." It is usually used to indicate that someone is ...

Domain: Culture; Category: General culture

Literally, this idiom means to draw a snake but add a foot. The meaning behind it is that something has been ruined by trying to add something unnecessary. We have a similar expression in English, ...

Domain: Culture; Category: General culture

The meaning of this idiom is relatively straightforward - "self-contradictory" - but the story behind it is fascinating. It comes from an ancient tale of a salesman who claimed that he sold a spear ...

Domain: Culture; Category: General culture

There's a very similar expression to this idiom in English: easier said than done. But the Chinese version of this saying is slightly more combative, literally meaning "talking of what is easy"?

Domain: Culture; Category: General culture

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