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    The most common 123 Chinese idioms in English


    Idioms is a group of words with a special meaning which is different from the meanings of the separate words.

    The most common 123 Chinese idioms in English

    Or Idioms are words, phrases, or expressions that cannot be taken literally. In other words, when used in everyday language, they have a meaning other than the basic one you would find in the dictionary. Every language has its own idioms. Learning them makes understanding and using a language a lot easier and more fun!

    Now, we have arranged 123 commonly used Chinese idioms to you. Please enjoy them!

    1. 爱屋及乌 Love me, love my dog
    2. 百闻不如一见 Seeing is believing
    3. 比上不足比下有余 worse off than some, better off than many; to fall short of the best, but be better than the worst
    4. 笨鸟先飞 A slow sparrow should make an early start
    5. 不眠之夜 white night
    6. 不以物喜不以己悲 not pleased by external gains, not saddened by personnal losses
    7. 不遗余力 spare no effort; go all out; do one’s best
    8. 不打不成交 No discord, no concord
    9. 拆东墙补西墙 rob Peter to pay Paul
    10. 辞旧迎新 bid farewell to the old and usher in the new; ring out the old year and ring in the new
    11. 大事化小小事化了 try first to make their mistake sound less serious and then to reduce it to nothing at all
    12. 大开眼界 open one’s eyes; broaden one’s horizon; be an eye-opener
    13. 国泰民安 The country flourishes and people live in peace
    14. 过犹不及 going too far is as bad as not going far enough; beyond is as wrong as falling short; too much is as bad as too little
    15. 功夫不负有心人 Everything comes to him who waits
    16. 好了伤疤忘了疼 once on shore, one prays no more
    17. 好事不出门恶事传千里 Good news never goes beyond the gate, while bad news spread far and wide
    18. 和气生财 Harmony brings wealth
    19. 活到老学到老 One is never too old to learn
    20. 既往不咎 let bygones be bygones
    21. 金无足赤人无完人 Gold can’t be pure and man can’t be perfect
    22. 金玉满堂 Treasures fill the home
    23. 脚踏实地 be down-to-earth
    24. 脚踩两只船 sit on the fence
    25. 君子之交淡如水 the friendship between gentlemen is as pure as crystal; a hedge between keeps friendship green
    26. 老生常谈陈词滥调 cut and dried, cliché
    27. 礼尚往来 Courtesy calls for reciprocity
    28. 留得青山在不怕没柴烧 Where there is life, there is hope
    29. 马到成功 achieve immediate victory; win instant success
    30. 名利双收 gain in both fame and wealth
    31. 茅塞顿开 be suddenly enlightened
    32. 没有规矩不成方圆 Nothing can be accomplished without norms or standards
    33. 每逢佳节倍思亲 On festive occasions more than ever one thinks of one’s dear ones far awayIt is on the festival occasions when one misses his dear most
    34. 谋事在人成事在天 The planning lies with man, the outcome with Heaven Man proposes, God disposes
    35. 弄巧成拙 be too smart by half; Cunning outwits itself
    36. 拿手好戏 masterpiece
    37. 赔了夫人又折兵 throw good money after bad
    38. 抛砖引玉 a modest spur to induce others to come forward with valuable contributions; throw a sprat to catch a whale
    39. 破釜沉舟 cut off all means of retreat;burn one‘s own way of retreat and be determined to fight to the end
    40. 抢得先机 take the preemptive opportunities
    41. 巧妇难为无米之炊 If you have no hand you can’t make a fist One can’t make bricks without straw
    42. 千里之行始于足下 a thousand-li journey begins with the first step–the highest eminence is to be gained step by step
    43. 前事不忘后事之师 Past experience, if not forgotten, is a guide for the future
    44. 前人栽树后人乘凉 One generation plants the trees in whose shade another generation restsOne sows and another reaps
    45. 前怕狼后怕虎 fear the wolf in front and the tiger behind hesitate in doing something
    46. 强龙难压地头蛇 Even a dragon (from the outside) finds it hard to control a snake in its old haunt – Powerful outsiders can hardly afford to neglect local bullies
    47. 强强联手 win-win co-operation
    48. 瑞雪兆丰年 A timely snow promises a good harvest
    49. 人之初性本善 Man’s nature at birth is good
    50. 人逢喜事精神爽 Joy puts heart into a man
    51. 人海战术 huge-crowd strategy
    52. 世上无难事只要肯攀登 Where there is a will, there is a way
    53. 世外桃源 a fictitious land of peace away from the turmoil of the world;
    54. 死而后已 until my heart stops beating
    55. 岁岁平安 Peace all year round
    56. 上有天堂下有苏杭 Just as there is paradise in heaven, ther are Suzhou and Hangzhou on earth
    57. 塞翁失马焉知非福 Misfortune may be an actual blessing
    58. 三十而立 A man should be independent at the age of thirtyAt thirty, a man should be able to think for himself
    59. 升级换代 updating and upgrading (of products)
    60. 四十不惑 Life begins at forty
    61. 谁言寸草心报得三春晖 Such kindness of warm sun, can’t be repaid by grass
    62. 水涨船高 When the river rises, the boat floats high
    63. 时不我待 Time and tide wait for no man
    64. 杀鸡用牛刀 break a butterfly on the wheel
    65. 实事求是 seek truth from facts; be practical and realistic; be true to facts
    66. 说曹操,曹操到 Talk of the devil and he comes
    67. 实话实说 speak the plain truth; call a spade a spade; tell it as it is
    68. 实践是检验真理的唯一标准 Practice is the sole criterion for testing truth
    69. 山不在高,有仙则名 No matter how high the mountain is, its name will spread far and wide if there is a fairy;
    70. 韬光养晦 hide one’s capacities and bide one’s time
    71. 糖衣炮弹 sugar-coated bullets
    72. 天有不测风云 Anything unexpected may happen a bolt from the blue
    73. 团结就是力量 Unity is strength
    74. 跳进黄河洗不清 eve if one jumped into the Yellow River, one can not wash oneself clean–there’s nothing one can do to clear one’s name
    75. 歪风邪气 unhealthy practices and evil phenomena
    76. 物以类聚,人以群分 Birds of a feather flock together
    77. 往事如风 The past has vanished (from memory) like wind; What in past, is pas
    78. 望子成龙 hold high hopes for one’s child
    79. 屋漏又逢连阴雨 Misfortunes never come singly When it rains it pours
    80. 文韬武略 military expertise; military strategy
    81. 唯利是图 draw water to one’s mill
    82. 无源之水,无本之木 water without a source, and a tree wiithout roots
    83. 无中生有 make create something out of nothing
    84. 无风不起浪 There are no waves without wind There’s no smoke without fire
    85. 徇私枉法bend the law for the benefit of relatives or friends
    86. 新官上任三把火 a new broom sweeps clean
    87. 虚心使人进步,骄傲使人落后 Modesty helps one go forward, whereas conceit makes one lag behind
    88. 蓄势而发 accumulate strength for a take-off
    89. 心想事成 May all your wish come true
    90. 心照不宣 have a tacit understanding; give tacit consent; tacit understanding
    91. 先入为主First impressions are firmly entrenched
    92. 先下手为强 catch the ball before the bound
    93. 像热锅上的蚂蚁 like an ant on a hot pan
    94. 现身说法 warn people by taking oneself as an example
    95. 息事宁人 pour oil on troubled waters
    96. 喜忧参半 mingled hope and fear
    97. 循序渐进 step by step
    98. 一路平安,一路顺风 speed somebody on their way; speed the parting guest
    99. 严以律己,宽以待人 be strict with oneself and lenient towards others
    100. 鱼米之乡 a land of fish and rice; a land of abundance; a natural or grand granary; a land of milk and honey
    101. 有情人终成眷属 Jack shall have Jill, all shall be well
    102. 有钱能使鬼推磨 Money makes the mare go Money talks
    103. 有识之士 people of vision
    104. 有勇无谋 use brawn rather than brain
    105. 有缘千里来相会 Separated as we are thousands of miles apart, we come together as if by predestination
    106. 与时俱进 advance with times
    107. 以人为本 people oriented; people foremost
    108. 因材施教 teach students according to their aptitude
    109. 欲穷千里目,更上一层楼 to ascend another storey to see a thousand miles further; Ascend further, were you to look farther; Would eye embrace a thousand miles? Go up, one flight
    110. 欲速则不达 Haste does not bring success
    111. 优胜劣汰 survival of the fittest
    112. 英雄所见略同 Great minds think alike
    113. 冤家宜解不宜结 Better make friends than make enemies
    114. 冤假错案 cases in which people were unjustly, falsely or wrongly charged or sentenced; unjust, false or wrong cases
    115. 一言既出,驷马难追 A real man never goes back on his words
    116. 招财进宝 Money and treasures will be plentiful
    117. 债台高筑 become debt-ridden
    118. 致命要害 Achilles’ heel
    119. 众矢之的 target of public criticism
    120. 知己知彼,百战不殆 Know the enemy and know yourself, and you can fight a hundred battles with no danger of defeat
    121. 纸上谈兵 be an armchair strategist
    122. 纸包不住火 Truth will come to light sooner or later
    123. 左右为难 between the devil and the deep blue sea

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