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Let's learn some Chinese Idioms! 開始學成語!

大家好! Hello, everyone!

Chinese idioms (Han: 成語; Pin: chéngyǔ) are useful to learn when communicating with Chinese communities. Learning these will (1) impress them and (2) also improve your fluency.

Here is the list of some idioms:

  • 熟能生巧 (Shúnéngshēngqiǎo) - Practice makes perfect!
  • 天下無難事,只怕有心人 (Tiānxià wúnán shì, zhǐ pà yǒuxīnrén) - Nothing is difficult in this earth, if your mind is set.
  • 莫名其妙 (Mòmíngqímiào) - Strange to make a tail of a situation
  • 半途而廢 (Bàntú'érfèi) - To give up halfway
  • 談何容易 (Tánhéróngyì) - Something that seems easy, but difficult to do
  • 畫蛇添足 (Huàshétiānzú) - To guild the lily; to ruin the effects by doing things superfluously
  • 一步一個腳印 (Yībù yīgè jiǎoyìn) - Step by step
  • 人山人海 (Rénshānrénhǎi) - Vast; lots of crowd
  • 指鹿為馬 (Zhǐlùwéimǎ) - To call a deer a horse
  • 心甘情願 (Xīngānqíngyuàn) - To be happy to do
  • 耳濡目染 (Ěrrúmùrǎn) - To be influenced by what is heard and seen
  • 百聞不如一見 (Bǎiwén bùrú yījiàn) - Seeing once is better than hearing a hundred times

There are more of these in sites, like MDBG and Yabla. As a fun activity, list idioms not yet listed here. There are more than a hundred of idioms (祝你們好運! Pin: Zhù nǐmen hǎoyùn! )!

Congrats to the team who created the Chinese course for us! I am more than happy to look forward for improvements!

Happy Duolinguo-ing!

November 17, 2017



Could you please add pinyin transcriptions too? ^^ That would make it easier for foreigner learners (like me) to study the idioms and remember them! ^^ Thank you very much for such an awesome article!


Your wish is in my command. ;)

Though the structures vary between Simplified and Traditional Chinese, I don't think there is anything significant to adjust.

[deactivated user]

    Thanks!!!! I just started Chinese and i am really excited!!


    I am learning chinese too!!!!!


    My favorite when I was growing up was: 马马虎虎 Mǎmǎhǔhǔ (literally Horse Horse, Tiger Tiger)

    I think the idea of the idiom is that the tiger is chasing the horse leads to nothing.

    I'm not sure of the proper translation, but I think it's sort of "mediocre" or "pointless".


    马马虎虎 is the idiomatic expression that can either mean "careless" or "giving praise".

    As you thought, the statement suggests that the tiger is chasing the horse for no purposes.

    Secondly, it is also possible to use this idiom for indicating your modesty toward a specific person. For instance, when someone says sentences, such as 你的中文讲得很好啊, the modest response is 马马虎虎.


    马马虎虎 actually means "just so-so".


    一步一个脚印 and 谈何容易 are actually not 成语. the first one is a kind of proverb, and the second one is a phrase.


    Yes, you are right



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