Chinese Idioms: 60 Common Chengyu You Can Actually Use in Conversation [13-21]

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

This is part 3 of a 10 part series in which you'll learn a total of 60 Chinese idioms!

In today's lesson, we focus on Chengyu related to colours

Ready? Let's dive in!

Useful Chinese Idioms [13-21]

 黑白分明 hēi bái fēn míng

黑白 hēi bái: black and white / right and wrong

分明 fēn míng: clearly  / evidently / distinct / clear

Example:

经过一个星期的调查,这件事情已经黑白分明了。

jīng guò yī gè xīng qī de diào chá, zhè jiàn shì qíng

yǐ jīng hēi bái fēn míng le.

After a week of investigation, this issue has become "(clear as) black and white".

 颠倒黑白 diān dǎo hēi bái

颠倒 diān dǎo: to turn upside down / to reverse / back to front / confused

黑白hēi bái: black and white / right and wrong

Example:

法官,不好意思!他颠倒黑白

fǎ guān,  bù hǎo yì sī!  tā diān dǎo hēi bái!

Judge, sorry! He turned black into white!

 青红皂白 qīng hóng zào bái

青 qīng: cyan / blue-green

红 hóng: red

皂 zào:  black

白 bái: white

Example:

法官,法官!他不分青红皂白把我打了。

fǎ guān, fǎ guān! tā bù fēn qīng hóng zào bái bǎ wǒ dǎ le.

Judge, judge! He beat me indiscriminately.

 姹紫嫣红 chà zǐ yān hóng

姹 chà: beautiful

紫 zǐ: purple / violet

嫣 yān: captivating

红 hóng: red

Example:

我今天去了花园里,看到了很多花朵,姹紫嫣红

wǒ jīn tiān qù le huā yuán lǐ, kàn dào le hěn duō huā duǒ, chà zǐ yān hóng

I went to the garden today and saw lots of flowers. It was a blaze of colour.

 灯红酒绿 dēng hóng jiǔ lǜ

灯 dēng: lamp / light / lantern

红 hóng: red

酒 jiǔ: wine (esp. rice wine) / liquor / spirits / alcoholic beverage

绿 lǜ: green

Example:

Emily: 

Angel,我告诉你。

Angel, wǒ gào sù nǐ.

Angel, I have something to tell you.

Emily, 她每天都去灯红酒绿的场所。

Emily, tā měi tiān dōu qù dēng hóng jiǔ lǜ de chǎng suǒ.

Emily goes to debauched places/environments every day.

Angel:

啊?不会吧?!

a?  bù huì ba?!

What? No way? !

 绿林好汉 lù lín hǎo hàn

绿林 lù lín: place in Hubei, the starting point for a major rebellion at the end of Western Han

好汉 hǎo hàn: hero / strong and courageous person

Example:

Emily:

Angel,你知道吗?我前天在报纸上看到一个报道。

Angel, nǐ zhī dào ma? wǒ qián tiān zài bào zhǐ shàng kàn dào yī gè bào dào.

Angel, you know what? I read a report in the newspaper the day before yesterday.

它说在一个小学里面有一个小男生,

tā shuō zài yī gè xiǎo xué lǐ miàn yǒu yī gè xiǎo nán shēng, 

It said there was a little boy in a primary school

他在抗议学校不让他穿裙子,

tā zài kàng yì xué xiào bù ràng tā chuān qún zi,

who was protesting that the school would not let him wear a skirt,

然后某一天,

rán hòu mǒu yī tiān,

and then one day

他就带领了全校的所有的男生一起造反穿了裙子。

tā jiù dài lǐng le quán xiào de suǒ yǒu de nán shēng yī qǐ zào fǎn chuān le qún zi.

he led all the boys in the school to rebel and wear a skirt.

Angel:

绿林好汉。

lù lín hǎo hàn.

A true "rebellious hero" / hero of Greenwood" .

A:

嗯...

en...

Um...

 黄道吉日 huáng dào jí rì

黄道 huáng dào: the ecliptic (the plane of the solar system)

吉日 jí rì: propitious day / lucky day

Example:

Emily:

嘿, Angel! 

hēi, Angel! 

Hey, Angel!

Angel:

嘿! 

hēi! 

Hey!

Emily:

诶!听说你马上要做Emily的伴娘了。

éi! tīng shuō nǐ mǎ shàng yào zuò Emily de bàn niáng le.

Eh! I heard you're going to be Emily's bridesmaid soon.

Angel:

是的。

shì de.

Yes.

Emily:

你选好裙子了吗?

nǐ xuǎn hǎo qún zi le ma?

Have you chosen your skirt yet?

Angel:

选好了,一条粉红色的长裙。

xuǎn hǎo le yī tiáo fěn hóng sè de cháng qún.

Yes, I've chosen a long pink skirt.

Emily:

哇!那Emily选好了黄道吉日了吗?

wa! nà Emily xuǎn hǎo le huáng dào jí rì le ma?

Wow! Well, has Emily chosen the "Huang Dao Ji Ri"?

Angel:

哦!明天。

o! míng tiān.

Oh! Tomorrow.

Emily:

哇!

wa! 

Wow!

 白驹过隙 bái jū guò xì

白 bái: white

驹 jū: horse

过 guò:  to cross / to go over / to pass 

隙 xì: crack / crevice / gap or interval 

Example:

白驹过隙,我已经进入高中两年了。

bái jū guò xì, wǒ yǐ jīng jìn rù gāo zhōng liǎng nián le.

How time flies! I have already been in high school for two years.

 青出于蓝, 胜于蓝 qīng chū yú lán, shèng yú lán

青 qīng: cyan / blue-green

出于 chū yú: due to / to stem from

蓝 lán: blue

胜于 shèng yú: to surpass / victorious / superior to / better than

Example:

Angel:

嘿,曹老师,你看我画的画。

hēi, cáo lǎo shī, nǐ kàn wǒ huà de huà.

Hey, Teacher Cao, take a look at the painting I painted.

Emily:

哇!这是你画的吗?

wa! zhè shì nǐ huà de ma?

Wow! Did you paint it?

Angel:

是呀!

shì ya!

Yes!

Emily:

你真的是青出于蓝,胜于蓝

nǐ zhēn de shì qīng chū yú lán, shèng yú lán

You're really better than your teacher.

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