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Green-eyed? It’s “眼红(yǎnhóng) Red-eyed” in Chinese!

Dec. 11, 2013

Colors sometimes can express certain feelings such as a blue mood or a black day. However, how colors relate to emotions can be different in different languages. In the Chinese language, the word “眼红(yǎnhóng)” is an example of this.

In English, there are terms like “green-eyed,” “green-eyed monster” to express that someone is envious or jealous after seeing another person's success, wealth, fame, good luck etc, and may even want to possess these things. However, in Chinese, an impression often used to describe envy or jealousy is “眼红(yǎnhóng)”- literally “red-eyed.” So, a different color to express the same meaning!

“眼红(yǎnhóng)” can be used as an adjective, meaning to be envious or jealous.

Examples

Zhāng Wěi mǎi de fángzi yòu dà yòu piàoliang, wǒ hěn yǎnhóng!
张        伟   买   的  房子   又   大  又   漂亮,      我  很   眼红!

 

Zhang Wei bought a big and beautiful house, which made me very jealous.

Kàndào biérén jiéhūn, wŏ yǎnhóng le!
看到      别人    结婚,  我 眼红       了!

 

I’m so envious seeing others getting married!

Besides, “眼红(yǎnhóng)” can also be used as a verb. It means “to envy.”

Examples

Nǐ wèishénme zǒngshì yǎnhóng biérén de shēnghuó?
你 为什么       总是       眼红        别人   的  生活?

 

Why are you always envious of other people's lives?

Bié yǎnhóng nàxiē yǒu qián rén!
别   眼红       那些   有   钱 人!

 

Stop envying the rich people!

In addition, “眼红(yǎnhóng)” can also be used to describe someone who is or looks furious.

Example

Chóurén xiāngjiàn, fènwài yǎnhóng.
仇人        相见,     分外    眼红。

 

When the enemies come face to face, their eyes blaze with hatred.

Now we can see that different cultures can differ in their use of colors to express emotions. Let us do some exercises to enhance what we have just learned above!

Exercises

1. Which of the following words has the same meaning with “green-eyed?”

A. 眼绿(yǎnlǜ)

B. 眼蓝(yǎnlán)

C. 眼红(yǎnhóng)

2. Which of the following word does not mean “眼红(yǎnhóng)?”

A. happy

B. furious

C. jealous

See answer

Chinese Popular Words (Fun Stuff) 

General Chinese (Beginner Level) 

General Chinese (Intermediate Level) 

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