A number of Chinese words are related to certain colors. We have introduced a few of these in the past, like “眼红(yǎnhóng),” “黑心(hēixīn),” and “绿帽子(lǜmàozi).” Today we will take a look at another common one: “白眼(báiyǎn).” This literally means “the whites of your eyes,” something that shows when rolling your eyes. If you show the whites of your eyes, it means you look down upon or feel someone or something does not meet your approval.
“白眼(báiyǎn)” is a noun which is usually used together with verbs like “翻(fān)” and “遭(zāo).” “翻白眼(fān báiyǎn)” means “to look at someone with disdain,” and “遭白眼(zāo báiyǎn)” means “to get a disdainful look.”
Lǐ Qiàn chángcháng duì bù xǐhuande rén fān báiyǎn.
李倩 常常 对 不 喜欢的 人 翻 白眼。
Li Qian often looks down upon those she hates.
Wǒ gānglái gōngsī shí yě zāo guò báiyǎn.
我 刚来 公司 时 也 遭 过 白眼。
I also got disdainful looks when I first came to the company.
Tā gěile Zhāng Líng yígè báiyǎn.
她 给了 张玲 一个 白眼。
She rolled her eyes at Zhang Ling.
Ungrateful wretch / ingrate
Wolves, “狼(láng),” which are fierce and cruel, might be seen as cool-blooded, unfeeling, and merciless. The combination of “白眼(báiyǎn)” and “狼(láng)” in “白眼狼(báiyǎnláng)” further emphasizes someone’s lack of mercy, compassion, or gratitude. This term is used to describe ungrateful people who show no thanks to those who help them or refuse to pay back the kindness of others.
Wǒ yǐqián bāng guò nǐ, dànshì nǐ xiànzài bù bāng wǒ, nǐ zhēnshì yígè báiyǎnláng!
我 以前 帮 过 你， 但是 你 现在 不 帮 我，你 真是 一个 白眼狼！
I helped you before, but now you won’t help me. You are really an ungrateful wretch!
Nǐ bié kělián tā, tā shì gè báiyǎnláng!
你 别 可怜 她，她 是 个 白眼狼！
Don’t take pity on her, she is an ungrateful soul!
1. Which of the following words means “to look down upon” or “feel unsatisfied with others”?
2. If you call someone a “白眼狼(báiyǎnláng),” what might he have done to deserve it?
A. He refused to help someone who had helped him.
B. He suffered from a disease called “White Eyes.”
C. He looked fierce, like a white-eyed wolf.