Chinese idioms in English

Chinese idiom (Zhōng guó chéng yǔ 中国成语) is one of the priceless legacies deeply rooted in traditional culture, making Chinese language more powerful, more functional and thus, more fascinating. Since each of the idioms is the precious fruit of repeating hammer-harden through history, they all bear extremely profound implications in them.

The list below contains all the Chinese idioms you will find in Chinese daily language. They are arranged alphabetically. Each idiom here consists of pronunciation, interpretation, source, sentence example and some of them with related flash attached for your better understanding.  Have fun!

爱屋及乌 Love me, love my dog.

百闻不如一见 Seeing is believing.

比上不足,比下有余 “worse off than some, better off than many; to fall short of the best, but be better than the worst

笨鸟先飞 A slow sparrow should make an early start.

不眠之夜 white night

不以物喜,不以己悲 not pleased by external gains, not saddened by personal losses

不遗余力 spare no effort; go all out; do one’s best

不打不成交 “No discord, no concord.

拆东墙补西墙 rob Peter to pay Paul

辞旧迎新 bid farewell to the old and usher in the new; ring out the old year and ring in the  new

大事化小,小事化了 try first to make their mistake sound less serious and then to reduce it   to nothing at all

大开眼界 open one’s eyes; broaden one’s horizon; be an eye-opener

国泰民安 The country flourishes and people live in peace

过犹不及 going too far is as bad as not going far enough; beyond is as wrong as falling

short; too much is as bad as too little

功夫不负有心人 Everything comes to him who waits.

好了伤疤忘了疼 once on shore, one prays no more

好事不出门,恶事传千里 Good news never goes beyond the gate, while bad news spread   far and wide.

和气生财 Harmony brings wealth

活到老,学到老 One is never too old to learn.

既往不咎 let bygones be bygones

金无足赤,人无完人 Gold can’t be pure and man can’t be perfect.

金玉满堂 Treasures fill the home

脚踏实地 be down-to-earth

脚踩两只船 sit on the fence

君子之交淡如水 the friendship between gentlemen is as pure as crystal; a hedge between   keeps friendship green

老生常谈,陈词滥调 cut and dried, cliché

礼尚往来 Courtesy calls for reciprocity.

留得青山在,不怕没柴烧 “Where there is life, there is hope.”

马到成功 achieve immediate victory; win instant success

名利双收 gain in both fame and wealth

茅塞顿开 be suddenly enlightened

没有规矩不成方圆 Nothing can be accomplished without norms or standards.

每逢佳节倍思亲

On festive occasions more than ever one thinks of one’s dear ones far away.

It is on the festival occasions when one misses his dear most.

谋事在人,成事在天 “The planning lies with man, the outcome with Heaven. / Man

proposes, God disposes. ”

弄巧成拙 be too smart by half; Cunning outwits itself.

拿手好戏 masterpiece

赔了夫人又折兵 throw good money after bad

抛砖引玉 a modest spur to induce others to come forward with valuable contributions;   throw a sprat to catch a whale

破釜沉舟 cut off all means of retreat; burn one‘s own way of retreat and be determined to  fight to the end

抢得先机 take the preemptive opportunities

巧妇难为无米之炊 If you have no hand you can’t make a fist./ One can’t make bricks   without straw.

千里之行始于足下a thousand-li journey begins with the first step–the highest eminence is  to be gained step by step

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