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“海量(hǎiliàng)”-Drink Like a Fish!

Aug. 27, 2014

The sea, or “海(hǎi)” in Chinese, is one of the most majestic places on earth. Knowing the meaning of “海(hǎi),” can you understand the following phrases: “海吃海喝(hǎi chī hǎi hē),” “海量(hǎiliàng),” and “海选(hǎixuǎn)?” Does the character “海(hǎi)” still mean “sea” in these phrases?

Offering spectacular scenes and habitats, as well as being the setting of many great stories, the term “海(hǎi)” has made its way into a number of Chinese phrases meaning “great” or “big.”

Hǎi chī hǎi hē
海   吃  海   喝

To eat and drink gluttonously

“吃(chī)” means “eat” and “喝()” means “drink.” In this phrase, “海(hǎi)” is used as an adjective to mean “unrestrained.” Therefore, “海吃海喝(hǎi chī hǎi hē)” actually means to eat and drink ravenously. It is a very vivid word, showing the greediness of people when faced with delicious food.


Bié zài hǎi chī hǎi hē le! Xiǎoxīn zhǎngpàng!
别  再  海  吃  海   喝 了!小心      长胖!
Stop making a pig of yourself or you will gain weight!



Huge volume

“量(liàng)” means “volume or amount” and “海(hǎi)” means “big” and “huge.” So the basic meaning of “海量(hǎiliàng)” is a “huge amount.”


Zhè ge wǎngzhàn yǒu hǎiliàng de yǐngpiān zīyuán.
这   个    网站        有     海量     的   影片      资源。
This site offers massive movie resources.


Besides the meaning of “huge amount,” Chinese people also use “海量(hǎiliàng)” to describe people who can “drink like a fish” or for people who have magnanimity.


Nín shì hǎiliàng, zài lái yì bēi.
您    是   海量,  再 来 一  杯。
You can hold your liquor. Have another one.



Open audition

“选(xuǎn)” means “to choose” and “海(hǎi),” in this case, means “limitless.” “海选(hǎixuǎn)” actually means “open audition” which is a try-out or other selection process without entry requirements. With all kinds of reality shows becoming popular in China, more and more Chinese people have gotten used to using the term “海选(hǎixuǎn)” to describe this type of modern way of choosing the next great stars.


Wǒ yào cānjiā Zhōngguó Hǎo Shēngyīn zài xī'ān de hǎixuǎn!
我   要     参加 《中国       好    声音》     在  西安  的   海选!
I’m going to join the open auditions for The Voice of China in Xi’an!



1. If Steven always “海吃海喝(hǎi chī hǎi hē),” it means___.

A. Steven likes to eat delicious food.

B. Steven often eats without any self-restriction.

C. Steven often eats sea food in restaurants.

2. John said, “你真是海量!(Nǐ zhēn shì hǎiliàng)” to Jack when they were at dinner.

What did John most likely mean?

A. Jack ate too much at dinner.

B. Jack was able to drink a lot of alcohol.

C. Jack was very generous.

3. Linda joined the ____ of the American reality show-American Idol.

A. 海选(hǎixuǎn)

B. 选择(xuǎnzé)

C. 海量(hǎiliàng)

See Answers


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