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Collected Chinese Word of the Day posts in Random Order

Most recent addition from June 16/2011

临行 and 临刑 (pinyin for both is ln xng)
pronounced the same but the first means "before departure" and the second means "before carrying out a death sentence".  Think about the way this potential confusion could be used.

鞭长莫及 (biān chng m j literally "whip long nothing reach)
beyond the reach of the whip = be too far away for authority to reach

 哭鼻子 (kū bzi  literally cry + nose)
whine, which of course is crying through the nose.  Delightful.
This is the word for whine our Chinese teacher, Chen Fu, gave us, but it's not in Wenlin or in Pleco.  Wenlin gives "whine" as 吭唧 (kēngji literally "throat/utter a sound + squirt) which doesn't strike me as accurate.  Pleco does better with 哼鼻子 (hēng bzi literally "groan, snort; hum" + "nose").  I like that one, but I like the one Chen Fu gave us, which is probably very oral and may be regional.. 

不好意思 (b hǎo ysi)
feel embarrassed ②find it embarrassing

工作  (gōng zu literally "work" + "do") n. work or job
Bonus word, 饭碗  (fnwǎn literally "rice bowl) = 1. rice bowl  2. job, means of livelihood

公园 (gōngyun literally public + garden)
n. park

(fēn xīn literally "divide" + "heart")
v./n distract or distraction.  A divided heart is distracted. 

旅游 (lǚ yu literally "travel" + "swim/float")

笑话 (xio hua)
n. joke

约会 (yuēhui)
n. appointment, engagement, date

持续 (ch x)

技术 (j sh) 
n. technology, skill, technique

割包皮  (gē bāop literally "cut" + "wrap" + "skin")
v.o. circumcise

报纸 (bo zhǐ literally "report paper")
n. newspaper

锻炼 (dun lin) 
v. engage in physical exercise

关系 (guānxi)
n. relation; relationship

抽烟 (chōu yān)
v. smoke cigarette (About the only think I don't like about China.  It's still a smoking country.)

白鹭鸟  (bi l niǎo literally "white" + "egret" + "bird")
egret or white crane

新年快乐  (xīn nin kui l litterally "new" + "year" + "happy") 
Happy New Year

回忆 (hu y literally return + remember)
v./n. recollect; recall or memory

烟花鞭炮 (yānhuā biānpo literally "smoke flower whip canon")

刀子嘴 豆腐心 (dāozi zuǐ dufu xīn literally "knife mouth, tofu heart")
bark worse then bite

日程表  (r chng biǎo literally day+ procedure + table/list)
n. schedule; agenda

春节 (Chūn ji) 
n. Spring Festival (Lunar New Year)

假期 (ji qī literally "borrow" + "time") 
n. holiday, vacation

典礼 (diǎn lǐ )
n. ceremony; celebration

v. rent; lease

圣诞老人 (Shng dn lǎo rn literally "holy born old person")
n. Santa Claus

好玩 (ho wn literally "good + play")

怒气 (n q literally "anger" + "vital energy")
n. anger; rage; fury

圣诞节 (Shng dn ji literally "holy" + "birth" + "festival")

感谢 (gǎn xi)
v./n. thank; be grateful

野地  (yě d literally "wild earth")

恭喜 (gōng xǐ)

巧事 (qiǎo sh literally "coincidental event")

蜜月 (m yu literally "honey month")
honeymoon (it's still happening for us)

美国 (měi gu literally "beautiful country")
the United States of America

驾照 (ji zho literally "drive + license; permit)
n. driver's license

牙医 (y yī literally "tooth doctor")

雾化吸入 (w hu xī r literally "fog change inhale enter")
atomizer inhaler (for putting a fog into my lungs)

清真教 (Qīng zhēn jio literally "clear true teach")

减速带 (jiǎn s di literally "reduce speed belt")
speed bump

关系 (guān xi)

无神论者 (w shn ln zhě literally "without god theory" + nominalizer meaning "one who")
n. atheist

暴躁 (bo zo literally violent impetuous)
high maintenance

oldest addition from January 1, 2010

圣诞 (Shng dn ji literally birth God festival)

跳伞 (tio sǎn literally "jump umbrella"  Note that sǎn, "umbrella", actually looks like one 伞)
 v. o. parachute; bail out

马上 (mǎ shng literally "horse up")
right away

你别瞪着鼻子上脸 (nǐ bi dng zhe b zi shng liǎn  literally "don't get nose up face" )
don't get your nose out of joint, don't get snooty, don't get your knickers in a knot


个体主义  (g tǐ zhǔ y literally "individual doctrine")
best candidate so far as a translation of "individualism". My dictionary translates "individualism" into
个人主义 (g rn zhǔ y literally "individual person doctrine") but that translation is always given a very negative connotation by my students, as you can see on the banner photograph at the top of this page.

以 人主义 (yǐ rn zhǔ y)
using person doctrine

特例独行 (t l d xng) 
special case insist on one's own way (student defined as "inventive, original")

自主 (z zhǔ)
act independently (student defined as "autonomy")

自我实现 (z wǒ sh xin)
self-realization; self-fulfillment (student defined as "realize individual value")

有主见的人  (yǒu zhǔ jin de rn) 
know one's own mind person (student defined as someone who  has thoughts of his or her own and keeps the position unwavering. Someone who has principles in his life.)

独立 (d l)
independent (student defined as "be independent")

人本主义 (rn běn zhǔ y)
human-centered thinking (student defined as "humanism")


分享 (fēn xiǎng literally "divide enjoy")
v. share

自行车 (z xng chē literally "self go vehicle")

难以置信 (nn yǐ zh xn literally difficult to believe)

 right, straight, correct

 气喘吁吁 (q chuǎn xū xū literally "air pant puff puff")
breathe hard or pant

小费 (xiǎo fi literally "small fee") 
tip or gratuity

野餐桌 (yě cān zhuō literally "wild meal table")
picnic table

把玩  (bǎ wn literally "grasp" plus "play")

结果 (ji guǒ literally "form fruit") 

静夜思 (jng y sī literally "silence of the night thought/longing")

乡愁 (xiāng chu literally "hometown worry")

(ro kǒu lng literally "coil mouth command") n. tongue-twister
四十四只石狮子  (s sh s zhǐ sh shī zi note the tones) 44 stone lions

万花 筒  (wn huā tǒng literally "thousand flowers tube")

难怪 (nn gui literally "difficult strange")
no wonder

看不见 (kn bu jin literally "look not see")

歌德派  (gē d pi literally "song + virtue/morality/ethics/kindness/heart + group/faction")

鸡蛋碰石头 (jī dn png sh tou)
Literally "egg meets rock".  This very descriptive idiom is used for an enterprise that is doomed to failure or a quixotic charge into futility. The character 碰 (png) has several meanings, giving this phrase a certain richness:
 v. ①touch; knock against ②meet; encounter; run into ③take a chance; explore

乌龟蛋 (wū guī dn literally "turtle egg")
bastard (slang)

玉米花 or 爆米花 (y mǐ huā or bo mǐ huā literally "corn flower" or "explode corn flower")

随便 (su bin literally "follow convenient")
casual, careless, wanton, willful, as one pleases

制片人 (zh pin rn literally "system component person")
 movie producer

混响 (hn xiǎng n. literally "mix loud")

驯服母老虎 (xn f mǔ lǎo hǔ - tame the tigress)
Working title for a Chinese language adaptation of "The Taming of the Shrew"

乐此不疲 ( l cǐ b p literally pleasure this not exhausted)
never be bored - idiom applicable to tedious hobbies like plaiting a whip.

印象深刻 (ynxing shēnk literally "print image deeply")

公牛 鞭子 (gōng ni biān zi )
bull whip (I'll start making one as soon as I can find a bridge spike and some lead shot.)

绝食 (ju sh  literally absolutely cut off + eat)
fast, go on a hunger strike

(dōu xi b liǎo jiǎo le literally "all not less than foot") = no room to put down feet/ room is a mess.

尊重宗教信仰 (zūn zhng zōng jio xn yǎng)
respect religious belief

导盲犬 (dǎo mng quǎn literally guide blind dog)
seeing eye dog

你赶火车吗? (nǐ gǎn huǒchē ma literally "You catch a train?")
You've got a train to catch? You're in a hurry?  The same thing we might say if somebody is in a restless hurry.

First word of the day post done on September 11, 2009

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