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Learn These 5 Chinese Idioms (or Cheng Yu)

After all these language-learning challenges, we think youre ready to take it to the next level. Were moving on from basic Chinese phrases to Chinese idioms!

Chinese idioms, more commonly known as cheng yu, are traditional Chinese sayings or expressions, usually consisting of four characters. Individual characters have different meanings, but when combined, the idioms result in a literal translation.

There are thousands of cheng yu in the Chinese language, but weve narrowed it down to five that have been used in Taiwanese/Chinese dramas featured on Viki! See how some of these cheng yu are used in the dramas below and learn what they mean!

Zhuan Ren Re Lei (赚人热泪) = “It brings people to tears

If youre watching an immensely touching moment, and there are tears brimming from your eyes, this is the phrase that would describe you accurately. This scene in “Fall in Love With Me” shows Fu Bo (played by Chen Bo Zheng) watching a commercial that Tian Xing (played by Aaron Yan) filmed with OZ Company. The touching storyline has Fu Bo tearing and sniffing into a tissue. Tian Xing asks Fu Bo, “How was it?” and Fu Bo replies with It brings people to tears.

San Fan Liang Ci (三番两次) = “So many times

Did you ever need to repeat yourself two or three times before someone actually understood you? Thats the point that Lance (played by Kao Ying Hsuan) was trying to get across in “Fall in Love With Me,” where hes trying for the umpteenth time to convince Leo (played by Jack Li) to join his company. He says, “For the past two years, Ive invited you so many times to join Tian Ji Advertising.”

Bao Dao Wei Lao (宝刀未老) = “Im still great at this age

When questioned, an older person would respond with this phrase to defend himself or herself in all situations! In “Love Myself or You,” the boss of Figaro Cuisine invites his employees over to his house for a meal. They all praise his cooking, and the boss happily tells his wife, I'm still great at this age!”

Shao An Wu Zao (稍安勿躁) = Take it easy

Do you need to calm down and reassure a group of overly-excited people? Use this phrase! During the cooking competition in “Love Myself or You,” the judges take awhile to discuss the results and urge the eager contestants to take it easy.

Ping Bai Wu Gu (平白无故) = If not

Did someone make a statement without any proof, and you think it’s unfair? In “V Love,” Wan Jia (played by Xiao Yu Yu) questions Wei Wei (played by Li Xi Rui) on the gift given to her by Ding Yi (played by Zhang Bin Bin). Wan Jia thinks there might be something going on between them, saying “If not, why would he give you a flower?”

Which phrase would you use the most? Let us know in the comments!

Some titles on Viki are not available in certain regions of the world. But Qualified Contributors (QCs) can view and contribute to most titles. Read this blog post to learn how to become a QC.

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