Chinese Idioms: 60 Common Chengyu You Can Actually Use in Conversation [1-6]

In Chinese Culture, Practical Chinese Phrases by Angel HuangLeave a Comment

This is part 1 of a 10 part series in which you'll learn a total of 60 Chinese idioms!

成语 Chéngyǔ are a type of traditional Chinese idioms typically made up of four characters. 

There’s over 5000 (!) such idioms in the Chinese language. But most of them aren’t fit for use in everyday speech…  

In this video, we take a look at some of the more common ones and see how they can be used in context.

Common Chinese Idioms [1-6]

 爱不释手 ài bù shì shǒu 

爱 ài: to love / to be fond of / to like

不 bù: (negative prefix) / not / no

释 shì: to release / to let go

手 shǒu: hand

Example:

他对自己的新照相机爱不释手
tā duì zì jǐ de xīn zhào xiàng jī ài bù shì shǒu.
He loves his new camera so much that he can’t bear to part with it.

 安居乐业 ān jū lè yè 

安 ān: stable / settled / stabilized / calm and orderly

居 jū: to reside / to live in a place

乐 lè: happy / merry

业 yè: occupation / profession / vocation

Example:

我们在香港安居乐业
wǒ men zài xiāng gǎng ān jū lè yè.
We have settled down in Hong Kong and enjoy working and living here.

 跋山涉水 bá shān shè shuǐ 

跋山 bá shān: to climb mountains

涉水 shè shuǐ: to cross a river on foot

Example:

我们跋山涉水来到这里。
wǒ men bá shān shè shuǐ lái dào zhè lǐ.
We have been through a lot to get here.

 白手起家 bái shǒu qǐ jiā 

白手 bái shǒu: empty-handed / with bare hands

起家 qǐ jiā: create a family business / make one's fortune

Example:

白手起家开了这家饭店。
bái shǒu qǐ jiā kāi le zhè jiā fàn diàn.
He built his restaurant (business) from scratch.

 平易近人 píng yì jìn rén 

平 píng: flat / calm / peaceful

易 yì: easy / likely

近 jìn: to approach / to get close to

rén: person / people

Example:

张经理平易近人
zhāng jīng lǐ píng yì jìn rén.
Manager Zhang is amiable and easy to approach.

 半途而废 bàn tú ér fèi 

半途 bàn tú: halfway / midway

而废 ér fèi: to abandon / to stop

不要半途而废,继续你的计划。
bù yào bàn tú ér fèi,jì xù nǐ de jì huà.
Don’t give up. Stick with your plan.

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