Useful And Easy To Use Chengyu 成语

Useful And Easy To Use Chengyu 成语

Once you start to learn Chinese you’ll quickly come across chengyu 成语, idioms. These are mainly four character phrases that are used in vernacular expression and are mostly derived from ancient Chinese literature. There are literally thousands of these chengyu, although many are no longer widely used, a lot of them are still a massive part of Chinese conversation. Being able to successfully use these chengyu in a conversation can be so rewarding and will impress your Chinese friends too! Here is just a sample of some of the most useful and easy to use chengyu:

Chengyu for everyday life

显而易见 [顯而易見] — xiǎn’éryìjiàn — clearly and easy to see, it goes without saying

独一无二 [獨一無二] — dúyīwú’èr — unique and unmatched, unrivalled

不见不散 [不見不散] — bùjiàn bú sàn — even if we don’t see each other don’t give up and leave, be sure to wait!

忠言逆耳 [忠言逆耳] — zhōngyánnì’ěr — faithful words offend the ear, the truth hurts, good advice jars on the ear

一见钟情 [一見鐘情] — yījiànzhōngqíng — love at fist sight

徒劳无功 [徒勞無功] — túláowúgōng — make a futile effort, work to no avail

马马虎虎 [馬馬虎虎] — mǎmǎhǔhǔ — so-so, not so bad, fair, vague

一举两得 [一舉兩得] — yījǔliǎngdé — kill two birds with one stone, one move two gains

Chengyu for work

近在咫尺 [近在咫尺] — jìn zài zhǐchǐ — well within reach, to be close at hand

多多益善 [多多益善] — duōduōyìshàn — the more the better, the more the merrier

由来已久 [由來已久] — yóulái yǐ jiǔ — long-standing, time-honoured

埋头苦干 [埋頭苦干] — máitóu kǔ gàn —  to bury oneself in work, up to the neck in work

半斤八两 [半斤八兩] — bànjīnbāliǎng — six of one and half a dozen of the other, not much to choose between the two

Chengyu that will impress your Chinese friends

何足挂齿 [何足挂齒] — hé zú guàchǐ — not worth mentioning, don’t mention it

以人废言 [以人廢言] — yǐ rén fèi yán — to reject a word because of the speaker, to judge on preference rather than merits

一言以蔽之 [一言以蔽之] —  yī yán yǐ bì zhī — to sum up in one word, in a nutshell

Even more Chengyu to investigate…

SI: 井底之蛙,酒池肉林,酒肉朋友,精明强干,举手之劳,不三不四,是新疆吗,出其不意,滴水不漏


TR: 井底之蛙,酒池肉林,酒肉朋友,精明強干,舉手之勞,不三不四,是新疆嗎,出其不意,滴水不漏


Not quite a chengyu but still a good one….

塞翁失马焉知非福 [塞翁失馬焉知非福] — sàiwēngshīmǎ yān zhī fēi fú — the old an lost his mare but it all turned out for the best, a blessing in disguise

And my personal favourite…

入乡随俗 [入鄉隨俗] — rùxiāngsuísú — when in Rome do as the Romans do, when you enter a village follow the local customs.

— Nading Golding

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