We hope that you’ve all had a wonderful start to the Year of the Dog. It’s a time of the year to usher out the old and greet the new, or as people in China say, cíjiùyíngxīn – 辞旧迎新 [辭舊迎新]. Idioms play a huge part in learning the wonderfully descriptive Chinese language and can give a rich insight into Chinese culture. We’ve trawled through all the idioms in our lessons from 2017 – all 1,600 of them – and selected our top eight.
Let’s start with some eye-themed idioms:
- 拭目以待 – shìmùyǐdài – lit. to wipe one’s eyes and wait / fig. to wait and see, taken from the premium HSK 5 lesson ‘Eight Blockbusters to Hit Chinese Screens This Summer‘.
- 迫在眉睫 – pòzàiméijié – lit. pressing in on one’s eyelashes / fig. imminent, taken from the premium HSK 6 lesson ‘Mexico City Moves to Save Traditional Floating Farms‘.
- 大饱眼福 [大飽眼福] – dàbǎoyǎnfú – to feast one’s eyes, taken from the premium HSK 4 lesson ‘Monster Truck Madness Heading for China‘.
When we strive for fluency in Chinese:
- 梦寐以求 [夢寐以求] – mèngmèiyǐqiú – to yearn for sth even in one’s dreams / to long for sth day and night, taken from the premium HSK 4 lesson ‘The Life of a Bus Currency Counter in China: 2,180 USD Daily‘.
What it’s actually like to learn Chinese:
- 一步一个脚印 [一步一個腳印] – yībùyīgèjiǎoyìn – lit. one step, one footprint / fig. steady progress / reliable, taken from the premium HSK 6+ lesson ‘China Launches Tianzhou 1, Nation’s First Cargo Spacecraft‘.
And ahead of that dreaded HSK exam…
- 争先恐后 [爭先恐後] – zhēngxiānkǒnghòu – striving to be first and fearing to be last / outdoing one another, taken from the premium HSK 3 lesson ‘People Queue Seven Hours for Lady M Cake in Shanghai‘.
But when you realise TCB’s got your back…
- –义无反顾 [–義無反顧] – yìwúfǎngù – lit. honour does not allow one to glance back fig. duty-bound not to turn back / no surrender / to proceed without hesitation, taken from the premium HSK 3 lesson ‘Woman Devotes 36 Years to Promoting Education in Rural Region‘.
Post-HSK exam result celebratory shopping:
- 大手大脚 [大手大腳] – dàshǒudàjiǎo – extravagant / to throw away money by the handful / wasteful, taken from the premium HSK 6 lesson ‘Airbnb Competitor Tujia Raises 300M USD for Expansion in China‘.
That completes our round-up of TCB’s top Chinese idioms of 2017. If you have a favourite idiom from one of our lessons, we’d love to hear from you on our social media channels.
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