What are your favorite 成语s?
Okay, we all know that there are gazillions of 成语s, but the problem is that we non-native speakers sometimes lack confidence using them. So I thought I would ask straight up, what 成语s have you used that you felt worked out pretty well?
I'll start. I like 点石成金. It means 'have the Midas touch'. So you can say 他点石成金, "He has the Midas touch."
There is another that I hear all the time. From what I am told it isn't an official 成语, but as far as I'm concerned, it might as well be. It is 乱七八糟. It means 'all messed up'. For example, 这件事乱七八糟. This could be translated something like, "This situation is all messed up."
johnbSeptember 22, 2010, 11:54 AM
I like 挥金如土 -- my wife accuses me of that a lot. :D I get a lot of mileage out of 实事求是, too.
RJSeptember 23, 2010, 09:28 AM
One of my favorites:
A person of good sense needs no detailed explanation; a resonant drum needs no heavy beating.
响鼓不用重捶 says it all.
timlbSeptember 24, 2010, 12:52 AM
one of my favorites: 三人行必有我师焉, which is from 孔子。 It means that if three people walk by, surely I can learn something from one of them. I like the humility in it and how it treats others with respect and honor. The last character, as I understand, is a 语气 and so doesn't add any meaning (sometimes it's left off).
Here's one you can try when out at a restaurant with friends: 吃喝玩乐！Eat, drink, and be merry!
I was just thinking of that first one, but in English. I'm not sure it qualifies for a 成语. It doesn't matter, though. Proverbs and 成语s are more or less 差不多 in my eyes. Eat, drink and be merry is a good one as well.
Not sure that it is Epicurus, although it's often attributed to him. Epicurus's line would be more "Eat just a little (although a pot of cheese would be nice); drink just a small glass of wine; oh, and it makes no sense to fear death."
The source for the quote may in fact be Iasiah 22:13, with "And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we shall die."
Anyway, I'm off to slay an ox.
calkinsSeptember 25, 2010, 05:54 AM
I like 亂中有序 (order in the middle of chaos).
This perfectly describes the sea of scooters (and driving in general) in Taipei. I'm sure it describes driving in most big cities in Asia. I don't know how, but somehow it works.
timlbSeptember 25, 2010, 07:29 PM
Funny you should mention it (but not actually funny), my wife just heard of a guy whose parents want him to get a divorce because his wife failed to produce a son. The good news is that this situation is object of a lot of criticism in our little area of town.
xiaophilSeptember 26, 2010, 08:26 AM
I asked this question at a forum that Chinese people use, and I got one response:
多多益善 首屈一指 不耻下问 持之以恒
顾此失彼 鹤立鸡群 洗耳恭听 坚持不懈
得不偿失 风华正茂 相敬如宾 始终如一
曲高和寡 大名鼎鼎 戒骄戒躁 勇往直前
韬光养晦 通情达理 斤斤计较 一马当先
自以为是 自力更生 津津有味 胆大包天
自不量力 自命不凡 小心翼翼 可歌可泣
自得其乐 自食其力 守口如瓶 大义灭亲
自知之明 助人为乐 再接再厉 粗茶淡饭
自作主张 大器晚成 脱胎换骨 爱憎分明
恣意妄为 发愤图强 功成名就 省吃俭用
循规蹈矩 奋发图强 洗耳恭听 好吃懒做
笑口常开 忠心耿耿 堂堂正正 随遇而安
鹤发童颜 不拘小节 正大光明 忍气吞声
七上八下 表里如一 光明正大 委屈求全
孤陋寡闻 一心二用 光明磊落 同甘共苦
妄自菲薄 肝胆相照 洁身自好 意气风发
拾金不昧 两肋插刀 与世无争 得意洋洋
I am grateful for the response, but of course this makes me realize that I'm a long way away from being native. Ohwell, sometimes truth hurts.