Chinese idioms Chengyu

6 Captivating Chinese Idioms for Daily Conversations

In Chinese Idioms by Angel Huang

This is part 8 of a 10 part series in which you'll learn a total of 60 Chinese idioms!

How do you say "love at first sight" in Chinese? And which idiom can you use to describe someone who is "clingy" or "dependent on others"?

These are some of the popular 成语 (chéngyǔ) we'll cover in today's lesson.

Let's get started!

Useful Chinese Idioms [46-51]

Chinese idioms Chengyu

Idiom 1:
小鸟依人 (xiǎo niǎo yī rén)

Literal meaning: A little bird relying on people.

English equivalent: Clingy; dependent on others.

Explanation: 小鸟依人 (xiǎo niǎo yī rén) is used to describe someone who is overly reliant on others, especially in a relationship. Let's see it in a sentence:

她总是小鸟依人地跟在男朋友身边。(Tā zǒng shì xiǎo niǎo yī rén de gēn zài nán péngyou shēnbiān. - She always follows her boyfriend around like a little bird relying on people.

chinese idioms

Idiom 2: 
笑里藏刀 (xiào lǐ cáng dāo)

Literal meaning: A knife hidden in a smile.

English equivalent: A wolf in sheep's clothing.

Explanation: 笑里藏刀 (xiào lǐ cáng dāo) describes someone who appears friendly but has malicious intentions. Here's an example sentence:

他表面上很友好,但实际上是笑里藏刀。(Tā biǎomiàn shàng hěn yǒuhǎo, dàn shíjì shàng shì xiào lǐ cáng dāo.) -

He appears friendly on the surface, but in reality, he hides a knife behind his smile.

Chinese idoms Chengyu

Idiom 3: 
心花怒放 (xīn huā nù fàng)

Literal meaning: Heart flowers blooming in anger.

English equivalent: To be overjoyed.

Explanation:心花怒放 (xīn huā nù fàng) is used to express extreme happiness or excitement. Let's use it in a sentence:

听到这个好消息,她心花怒放。(Tīng dào zhège hǎo xiāoxi, tā xīn huā nù fàng.) - Hearing the good news, she was overjoyed.

Chinese idioms Chengyu

Idiom 4: 
一言为定 (yī yán wéi dìng)

Literal meaning: One word is settled.

English equivalent: It's a deal; word is bond.

Explanation: 一言为定 (yī yán wéi dìng) is used to confirm an agreement or promise. Here's an example:

我们明天去爬山,一言为定。(Wǒmen míngtiān qù páshān, yī yán wéi dìng.) - We will go hiking tomorrow, it's a promise.

Chinese idioms Chengyu

Idiom 5: 
半斤八两 (bàn jīn bā liǎng)

Literal meaning: Half a catty, eight taels.

English equivalent: Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Explanation: 半斤八两 (bàn jīn bā liǎng) is used to describe two things or people that are essentially the same or have no significant difference. Let's see it in a sentence:

他们俩的实力差不多,半斤八两。(Tāmen liǎ de shílì chàbùduō, bàn jīn bā liǎng.) - The abilities of the two are quite similar, like six of one and half a dozen of the other.

Chinese idioms chengyu

Idiom 6: 
一见钟情 (yī jiàn zhōng qíng)

Literal meaning: Love at first sight.

English equivalent: Love at first sight

Explanation: 一见钟情 (yī jiàn zhōng qíng) is used to describe the instant attraction or deep connection that two people feel upon meeting each other for the first time. This idiom is often used in romantic contexts to express the powerful emotions experienced when falling in love at first sight.

Here's an example:

当他们第一次见面时,他们就一见钟情了。(Dāng tāmen dì yī cì jiànmiàn shí, tāmen jiù yī jiàn zhōng qíng le.)

When they met for the first time, they fell in love at first sight.

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