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What Does Tigers in Autumn Mean in Chinese?

Sep. 1, 2011

秋老虎 (qiū lǎohǔ) The Hottest Days in Autumn

 

Key Learning Points (Preview):

热 (): adj. hot

 

害怕 (hàipà): v. to be afraid of

 

Recently, many regions of China have been experiencing continuous “热 () hot” weather. Cities such as “长沙 (Chángshā) Changsha, 成都 (Chéngdū) Chengdu, 青岛 (Qīngdǎo) Qingdao” and others have all been seeing extremely high temperatures. This time of year is commonly referred to as “秋老虎 (qiū lǎohǔ) the hottest days in autumn.” And can be literally translated as "Tigers in Autumn.” Just look at this picture, the Chinese citizen is unable to bear the hot weather, grabs water from a fire hydrant to wash his face. People have jokingly said that even a real tiger would be “害怕 (hàipà) afraid of” “Tigers in Autumn.”

Why do people call it “秋老虎 (qiū lǎohǔ)?" It is a short hot period (7-15 days)  occurring in the latter part of August and the beginning of September after "立秋 (lìqiū)," one of the twenty-four solar terms in the Chinese lunar calendar meaning the "beginning of autumn."The scorching heat and high humidity combine to make many people extremely uncomfortable. It is always called “桑拿天 (sāngná tiān) sauna days”by people in China. The weather is sultry and the sweat pours down people’s back, which is just like being in a sauna.

Key Learning Points:

热 (): adj. hot

 

Example:

         Tiān tài rè le, wǒmen qù yóuyǒng ba.
Mike: 天    太  热了,我 们    去  游   泳   吧。

 

          It’s very hot. Let’s go swimming.

               Hǎo zhǔyi.
Wang Li: 好 主 意。

 

                 Good idea.

害怕 (hàipà): v. to be afraid of

 

Example:

        Wǒmen míngtiān qù guàngjiē ba.
Lucy: 我   们     明   天   去    逛    街  吧。

 

          Let’s go shopping.
 

                  Tiān tài rè le, wǒ hàipà tàiyáng shài.
Zhang Ying: 天  太 热 了,我 害 怕  太 阳     晒。

 

                     It's very hot and I am afraid of the sun.

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