Chinese Idioms

What is idiom?

As other languages, idioms and proverbs are common in Chinese, which are called “熟语” in Chinese.

Teacher:"Pull down one's trousers and fart!" Do you know what it means?

Student:Ha ha? Hygiene? Make a loud sound? Make a good smelling?

Teacher:Neither. "Take off your pants and fart" means “make an unnecessary move”. In English, "gild the lily", "overegg the pudding" and "butter on Bacon", they all use other words to express the meaning of “unnecessary”. However, this idiom is divided into two parts. The first part is a riddle, and the latter part is the answer. What’s more, it is very humorous.

Student:Wow, cool! Teacher, I wonder if there is any other expression of “unnecessary”? This is a little rude.

Teacher:Of course. For example, "painting a snake and adding feet".

Student:A snake with feet? That’s ridiculous.

Teacher:It derives from a story in ancient times. A man participated in a snake-painting competition. He quickly finished drawing, but when he saw that others had not finished, he added feet to the snake. In the end, he totally failed and was laughed at by others. A snake has no feet, any feet are unnecessary. So here comes an idiom “画蛇添足”.

“熟语”is the fruit of all the 5000-year wisdom and insight of Chinese nation. Not only can they expand our vocabulary, but also help us understand culture. If you can have a deeper study of these idioms, your will make a great progress on Chinese study, and when you speak Chinese, you will become humorous. Now you can have a keen appreciation of the idiom words, here we go.

Learn idiom proverb words?