Chinese idioms, or 成语 in Chinese, are commonly used by native speakers and can take your own Chinese to the next level. Trust us–sprinkling your Chinese sentences with a few choice idioms is the best way to sound like a native Chinese.
But Chinese has over 5,000 chengyu–how can you know which ones are worth your time to study? Never fear, here are ten of the most popular Chinese idioms to impress your Chinese teacher!
“People mountain people sea,” a lot of people, a vast crowd
Ex: 广场上人山人海。Guǎngchǎng shàng rénshānrénhǎi. The square is packed with people
to talk to oneself/to think aloud
Ex: 他似乎在自言自语。Tā sìhū zài zì yán zì yǔ. He appeared to be talking to himself.
“After the rain, the spring bamboo comes,” rapid new growth / many new things emerge in rapid succession
Example: 新的建筑物像雨后春笋般出现 。Xīn de jiànzhú wù xiàng yǔhòuchūnsǔn bān chūxiàn. New buildings have sprouted up like bamboo after the rain.
With keen interest (idiom) / with great pleasure / eat with gusto / eagerly
Ex: 他津津有味地吃肉. Tā jīnjīnyǒuwèi de chī ròu. He eagerly tore at the meat.
Spitting anger (idiom); in a rage
Ex: 他怒气冲冲。Tā nùqì chōngchōng. He was boiling over with rage.
Everything in disorder (idiom); in a hideous mess
Ex: 你的书桌看上去乱七八糟。Nǐ de shūzhuō kàn shàngqù luànqībāzāo. Your desk looks like a terrible mess.
Bright and multicolored
Ex: 五光十色的灯把厦门装扮得更加美丽。Wǔguāngshísè de dēng bǎ xiàmén zhuāngbàn dé gèngjiā měilì. Multicolored, dazzling lights make Xiamen more beautiful.
Grand reputation / renowned / famous
Ex: 他现在已是一个大名鼎鼎的歌手了。Tā xiànzài yǐ shì yīgè dàmíngdǐngdǐng de gēshǒule. He is already a famous singer.
Not having anything at all (idiom); utterly lacking
Ex: 他除了身上的衣服一无所有。Tā chúle shēnshang de yīfú yīwúsuǒyǒu. He owned nothing aside from the clothes on his back.
Ex: 今天我遇见个莫名其妙的事。Jīntiān wǒ yùjiàn gè mòmíngqímiào de shì. Something weird happened to me today.
Learn more: Check out the complete list of all HSK 6 idioms to get even more advanced!
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