笨鸟先飞 – A stupid bird flies first

The chengyu 笨鸟先飞 (bèn niǎo xiān fēi) breaks down to stupid (笨 – bèn) bird (鸟 – niǎo) first (先 – xiān) flies (飞 – fēi). Simply translated in English: a ‘stupid bird flies first’ or ‘the clumsy bird flies early’. These refers to those that have to work hard to compensates for limited ability. Read more about 笨鸟先飞 – A stupid bird flies first[…]

如虎添翼 – Like adding wings to a tiger

What is it? The chengyu 如虎添翼 (rú hǔ tiān yì) breaks down into the words: like (如Rú) tiger (虎hǔ) add (添tiān) wings (翼yì). This translates nicely to “like adding wings to a tiger” in English. Now, what does it mean to add wings to a tiger? As you can tell from other chengyus, the tiger Read more about 如虎添翼 – Like adding wings to a tiger[…]

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成语 – What is a chéngyǔ?

Chéng yǔ (成语) is a type of traditional Chinese idiomatic expression, or simply ‘Chinese idioms’, typically consisting of four characters. It is widely used in Classical Chinese and are still common in vernacular Chinese writing and in the spoken language today. Today, there are between 5,000 and 20,000 chéng yǔ (成语). Made out of four Read more about 成语 – What is a chéngyǔ?[…]

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Learn how to say “Thank You!” in Chinese

When starting to learn Chinese there are certain necessary phrases you need to learn first. And isn’t it better to start with the polite ones? So we’re going to start with a word second in importance only to ‘Ni Hao!’. A word you you will hear frequently throughout your time in China (restaurants, transportation, taking Read more about Learn how to say “Thank You!” in Chinese[…]

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狼多肉少 – Many wolves, little meat

The chéngyǔ 狼多肉少 (láng duō ròu shǎo) literally translates to wolf (狼 láng) many (多 duō) meat (肉 ròu), little (少 shǎo). Or, in more standard English, ‘many wolves, little meat.’ This is one of the more direct chéngyǔ, that doesn’t require a huge background story to understand the meaning. It describes a situation where Read more about 狼多肉少 – Many wolves, little meat[…]

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狗急跳墙 – A nervous dog jumps over the wall

The chéngyǔ 狗急跳墙 (gǒu jí tiào qiáng) breaks down to dog (狗 gǒu) nervous (急 jí) jumps (跳 tiào) wall (墙 qiáng) Or, in more standard English, ‘A nervous dog jumps over the wall.’ While it may make sense on the surface, the true meaning of this chengyu may not perfectly match your first impression. Read more about 狗急跳墙 – A nervous dog jumps over the wall[…]

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画蛇添足 – Drawing a snake and adding legs to it

The chéngyǔ 画蛇添足 (huà shé tiān zú ) breaks down to drawing (画 huà ) snake (蛇shé) add (添tiān) legs/feet (足 zú). In English, we would say “drawing the snake and adding legs to it” or simply “adding legs to a snake.” This chéngyǔ comes from a famous Chinese story from the Warring States (战国 Zhànguó) Read more about 画蛇添足 – Drawing a snake and adding legs to it[…]

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守株待兔 – Holding a tree and waiting for a rabbit

The chéngyǔ 守株待兔 (shǒu zhū dài tù) breaks down to hold (守 shǒu) plant  (株 zhū) wait (待 dài) rabbit (兔 tù). In English, this is translated to ‘holding the tree and waiting for the rabbit’ or ‘keeping watch at the tree awaiting a rabbit.’ During the Spring and Autumn period, there was a farmer Read more about 守株待兔 – Holding a tree and waiting for a rabbit[…]