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Chinese Idiom

Chinese idioms, called (Zhōng guó chéng yŭ 中国成语), are well-known sayings or proverbs alluding to famous Chinese stories and historical events. They are not only a key part of Chinese language learning, but are also priceless in understanding Chinese culture. Chinese idioms are deeply rooted in legacies and traditional culture, making the Chinese language more rich and fascinating. Each Chinese idiom carries profound meaning, and knowing how to use them will help you sound just like a native Chinese speaker. Feel free to browse our complementary resources!

画龙点睛 (Huàlóngdiǎnjīng)

“画龙点睛 (Huàlóngdiǎnjīng)” is a Chinese idiom that translates literally as “dotting the eyeball when painting a dragon.” It’s used to describe adding that finishing touch that brings a work of art to life, or adding a word or two to clinch the point.

Let‘s Break down This Chinese Idiom
画 (Huà) draw

...


Learn Mandarin Chinese Idiom: 守株待兔 (Shǒuzhūdàitù) To Stand by a Tree Stump Waiting for a Hare (Intermediate)

 

Key Learning Point (Preview):

待 (dài): v. to wait/to wait for

 

Cóngqián, yǒu yí gè nóngfū.
从前,有一个农夫。
Once upon a time, there was a farmer.

 

Yì tiān, zài tā gēngtián de shíhou, hūrán pǎo guò lái  yì zhī yětù,
一 天,在他耕田的时候,忽然跑过一只 野兔,
qiàhǎo pèng zài yí ...


Bù chǐ xià wèn
不   耻  下    问

 

Be humble enough to consult one’s inferiors

Listen to the whole story:

 

Chūnqiū shí, wèiguó yǒu gè jiào Kǒng Yǔ de dàfu.
春秋       时,卫 国    有   个 叫    孔    圉  的 大夫。
In the Spring and Autumn period, there was a senior official ...


The Chinese idiom "纸上谈兵(zhǐshàngtánbīng) armchair strategy" refers to people who engage in idle talk, but are unable to act on their high minded theories. It is usually used to urge people to combine theories with practical knowledge and not be bookworms. Let's read about the origin of the idiom below.

(Know more about Chinese culture by taking some ...


The idiom "哪壶不开提哪壶 (nǎ hú bù kāi tí nǎ hú)" literally means "to pick the kettle that is not boiling." It's used to indicate that someone is saying or doing something that shouldn't be mentioned in front of others, or that someone is bringing up a sensitive subject.

Idiom Story:

Hěn jiǔ yǐqián, yǒu fùzǐ liǎ kāile ...


 

"对牛弹琴 (Duìniútánqín)" is used by Chinese people to describe someone who is explaining something complicated to a fool, or sometimes this idiom is used to describe a person who is trying to tell something to the wrong audience. In English, people sometimes joke around by sarcastically saying "whistle jigs to a milestone" or "cast pearls ...


Sòngcháo de shíhou, yǒu yí gè jiào Wén Tóng de huàjiā, hěn shàncháng huà zhúzi.
宋朝         的  时候, 有  一 个 叫    文    同     的  画家, 很   擅长          画   竹子。
In the Song Dynasty, there was an artist whose name was Wen ...


Key Learning Points (Preview):
“梨 (lí)” is the Chinese character for “pear.” (Riddle time: Guess the fruit.)
Find taboo Chinese gift idea here!
礼物 (lǐwù) n. gift
Origin Story
Dōnghàn shíhou, yǒugè jiào Kǒng róng de rén. Tā xiǎoshíhou hěn cōngming, yǒu wǔgè gēge,  yígè dìdi.
东汉时候, 有个叫孔融的人。他小时候很聪明,有五个哥哥,一个弟弟。
In the Eastern Han Dynasty, there was a person called Kong Rong. He’d been smart ever ...


In this issue we will learn a useful Chinese proverb —“墙头草, 随风倒(qiángtóucǎo, suífēngdǎo) The grass on top of the wall sways whichever way the wind blows”. Here, “墙头草(qiángtóucǎo)” refers to people who don’t have a mind of their own, who can’t form their own opinions. “墙头草(qiángtóucǎo)” are easily swayed and always choose to support ...


Nánbĕicháo shí, bĕizhōu yŏu ge jiào Zhăngsūn Shèng de wŭguān,
南北朝时,北周有个叫长孙晟的武官,
shànyú shèjiàn, zhìmóu guò rén,
善于射箭,智谋过人,
yīncĭ bèi cháotíng pàiqiăn hùsòng gōngzhŭ dào xībĕi tūjuézú qù chénghūn.
因此被朝廷派遣护送公主到西北突厥族去成婚。
Tūjuézú guówáng hĕn qìzhòng tā,  bă tā liú xià lái,  suí zìjĭ yìqĭ qù dăliè,
突厥族国王很器重他,把他留下来,随自己一起去打猎,
guówáng kànjiàn yŏu liăng zhī dàdiāo zài kōngzhōng zhēngduó yí kuài ròu,
国王看见有两只大雕在空中争夺一块肉,
biàn qĭng tā jiāng diāo ...


Listen Online

Brief: Learn two Chinese idioms: zhao san mu si (朝三暮四) and sai weng shi ma (塞翁失马).
课文:
Zhāo sān mù sì
朝      三   暮 四
Three in the morning, four in the afternoon.
Sài wēng shī mă
塞    翁    失  马
the old frontiersman losing his horse


Chuánshuō yuángŭ shíhou, tiān hé dì shì hé zài yìqĭ de, jiù xiàng yí gè jīdàn shì de.
传说             远古     时候, 天   和  地 是 合 在 一起 的,就 像    一 个 鸡蛋  似  的。
Shìjiè de kāichuàng rén Pángŭ jiù shì zài zhège jīdàn zhōng shēnghuó ...


Sānguó shídài, wèiguó yŏu gè jiào Lú Yù de rén,
三国      时代,魏国    有    个 叫   卢  毓 的 人,
Hĕn xiăo de shíhou jiù shīqù le fùmŭ hé liăng gè gēge.
很   小   的   时候   就   失去 了 父母 和  两   个  哥哥。
Lú Yù cóngcĭ xīnkŭ gōngzuò, chú ...


Dōnghàn mò nián, jūnfá bìng qĭ, gè bà yì fāng.
东汉 末 年,军阀 并 起,各 霸 一 方。
Sūn Cè nián jĭn shíqī suì, què niánshàoyŏuwéi, shìlì zhújiàn qiángdà.
孙 策 年 仅 十七 岁,却 年少有为, ...


Jìncháo shí,  yŏu yí gè rén jiào Jī Shào. Tā zhăng dé yíbiăotángtáng, érqiĕ cáinéng chūzhòng, dānrèn
晋朝      时,有  一 个 人   叫  嵇  绍。他    长    得       仪表堂堂,  而且    才能       出众,   担任
jìnhuìdì de shìcóngguān.
晋惠帝  的   侍从官。
Ji Shao, an aide to Emperor ...


Zài sēnlín lĭ,   láohŭ shì zuì xiōngmĕng de yĕshòu.
在森林里,老虎是最凶猛的野兽。
The tiger is the most ferocious animal in the forest.
Yì tiān, tā zhuōdào yì zhī  húli, jiăohuá de húli  jiù shuō:”Nĭ zĕn me găn chī wŏ? Wŏ shì tiāndì rènmìng lái guánlĭ suóyŏu yĕshòu de,  nĭ yào chī le wŏ, jiù shì wéikàng tiānyì.
一 ...


春 晓(Chūn xiăo)A Spring Morning
作 者:孟浩然 Meng Haoran(Zuò zhĕ: Mèng Hàorán)
Chūn mián bù jué xiăo,
春       眠    不  觉   晓,
I awake light-hearted this morning of spring,
Chù chù wén tí niăo.
处     处   闻  啼  鸟。
Everywhere round me the singing of birds.
Yè lái fēng yŭ shēng,
夜  来  风   雨   ...


(Get familiar with Chinese culture and you will get a deeper understanding of idioms.)
Listen to This Story And Practice Your Chinese Pronunciation.

Yŏu gè xiăotōu kànjiàn fànshì  jiālĭ  yŏu yì kŏu míngguì de dàzhōng, tā xiăng bă zhōng qiāo suì , ránhòu zài fēnbié bān huí jiā.
有个小偷看见范氏家里有 一口名贵的大钟, 他想把钟敲碎, 然后再分别搬回家。
A thief wanted to steal ...


The Story:
Long long ago, a county magistrate named Wang Lu worked in present Anhui Province, east China. Wang Lu was very greedy and took many bribes. One of his secretaries was equally corrupt, and often schemed for Wang Lu’s deeds.One day a man went to the magistrate to lodge a complaint against the secretary. The ...


Sūn Jìng, shì hàncháo yŏumíng de zhèngzhìjiā, mĕitiān cóng zăo dào wăn dúshū.
孙    敬,是      汉朝      有名     的     政治家,  每天     从    早    到   晚    读书.

Yŏushí huì píjuàn dé zhí dă kēshuì, tā biàn zhăo le yì gēn shéngzi, yì tóu ...


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