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Vocabulary Lists Essential Idioms That Will Make You Sound Like a Native Speaker
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Essential Idioms That Will Make You Sound Like a Native Speaker

15 Words 2 Comments
It’s better to finish something late than to never do it at all.
亡羊补牢,未为晚矣 亡羊补牢,未为晚矣
Wáng yáng bǔ láo, wèi wéi wán yǐ.
亡羊補牢,未為晚矣。
It’s better to finish something late than to never do it at all.
小张的狗把他的车后面破坏了好几次。今天他终于 在车尾特制了一个小隔间,算是亡羊补牢了。 小张的狗把他的车后面破坏了好几次。今天他终于 在车尾特制了一个小隔间,算是亡羊补牢了。
Xiǎo Zhāng de gǒu bǎ tā de chē hòumian pòhuài le hǎo jǐ cì. Jīntiān tā zhōngyu zài chē wěi tèzhì le yígè xiǎo gé jiān, suànshì wáng yáng bǔ láo le.
小張的狗把他的車後面破壞了好幾次。今天他終于 在車尾特制了一個小隔間,算是亡羊補牢了。
Xiao Zhang's dog has damaged the back of his car several times. Finally, today he has just installed a special compartment there; it's better late than never.
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When you have a strong will to reach a goal in life, you get that in future.
有志者事竟成 有志者事竟成
Yǒuzhì zhě shì jìng chéng.
有志者事竟成
When you have a strong will to reach a goal in life, you get that in future.
中国的家长们经常用“有志者事竟成”来鼓励孩子。 中国的家长们经常用“有志者事竟成”来鼓励孩子。
Zhōngguó de jiāzhǎngmen jīngcháng yòng “yǒuzhì zhě shì jìng chéng” lái gǔlì háizi.
中國的家長們經常用“有志者事竟成”來鼓勵孩子。
Chinese parents often use this line to encourage their kids: "Where there is a will, there is a way".
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It is advisable to follow the conventions of the area in which you are residing or visiting.
入乡随俗 入乡随俗
Rùxiāng suísú
入乡随俗
It is advisable to follow the conventions of the area in which you are residing or visiting.
在国外自驾游是一定要入乡随俗的,实际上是入 乡随“规”。 在国外自驾游是一定要入乡随俗的,实际上是入 乡随“规”。
Zài guó wài zìjià yóu shì yídìng yào rùxiāng suísú de, shíjì shang shì rù xiāng suí “guī”.
在國外自駕遊是一定要入鄉隨俗的,實際上是入 鄉隨“規”。
When travelling abroad by car, you have to do as the Romans do and drive according to their traffic regulations.
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The person we were just talking about showed up!
说曹操,曹操到 说曹操,曹操到
Shuō cáocāo, cáocāo dào.
說曹操,曹操到
The person we were just talking about showed up!
我们时不时会遇到说曹操,曹操到的情况。 我们时不时会遇到说曹操,曹操到的情况。
Wǒmen shíbùshí huì yù dào shuō cáocāo, cáocāo dào de qíngkuàng.
我們時不時會遇到說曹操,曹操到的情況。
From time to time, we meet the case of speak of the devil.
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You need to make your first step, if you hope to achieve a big thing.
千里之行,始于足下 千里之行,始于足下
Qiānlǐ zhī xíng, shǐ yú zúxià.
千裏之行,始於足下。
You need to make your first step, if you hope to achieve a big thing.
我说要健身好几个星期了,今天终于开始了。千里 之行,始于足下。 我说要健身好几个星期了,今天终于开始了。千里 之行,始于足下。
Wǒ shuō yào jiànshēn háojǐ gè xīngqī le, jīntiān zhōngyú kāishǐ le. Qiān lǐ zhī xíng, shǐ yú zúxià.
我說要健身好幾個星期了,今天終于開始了。千裏 之行,始于足下。
I've been talking about hitting the gym for weeks. Today I've finally started. Anyhow, the trip begins with a single step.
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something impossible to do
大海捞针 大海捞针
dàhǎi lāozhēn
大海撈針
something impossible to do
想从几千张照片里找出来你要的那一个,就像是 大海捞针。 想从几千张照片里找出来你要的那一个,就像是 大海捞针。
" Xiǎng cóng jǐ qiān zhāng zhàopiàn lǐ zhǎo chūlái nǐ yào de nà yìgè, jiù xiàng shì dàhǎi lāozhēn.
想從幾千張照片裏找出來你要的那一個,就像是 大海撈針。
To look for the picture you want from thousands of pictures, it can be impossible.
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make all effort possible with much attention
煞费苦心 煞费苦心
shà fèi kǔ xīn
煞費苦心
make all effort possible with much attention
宝宝不喜欢吃鱼。妈妈煞费苦心地 做了一个烤鱼, 但是宝宝还是没多大兴趣。 宝宝不喜欢吃鱼。妈妈煞费苦心地 做了一个烤鱼, 但是宝宝还是没多大兴趣。
Bǎobao bù xǐhuān chī yú. Māmā shà fèi kǔ xīn de zuò le yígè kǎo yú, dànshì bǎobao háishì méi duōdà xìngqù.
寶寶不喜歡吃魚。媽媽煞費苦心地 做了一個烤魚, 但是寶寶還是沒多大興趣。
Bǎobao doesn't like fish. Mom tried to bake some fish, but Bǎobao is still not quite interested in it.
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When you give someone a small amount of power or freedom to do something, he or she may try to get a lot more.
得寸进尺 得寸进尺
décùn jìnchǐ
得寸進尺
When you give someone a small amount of power or freedom to do something, he or she may try to get a lot more.
岚岚让小猫睡在自己的卧室地毯上,可是它得寸 进尺,没两天就睡到了岚岚的床上。 岚岚让小猫睡在自己的卧室地毯上,可是它得寸 进尺,没两天就睡到了岚岚的床上。
Lánlan ràng xiǎomāo shuì zài zìjǐ de wòshì dìtǎn shang, kěshì tā dé cùn jìn chǐ, méi liǎng tiān jiù shuì dào le Lánlán de chuáng shang.
岚岚讓小貓睡在自己的臥室地毯上,可是它得寸 進尺,沒兩天就睡到了岚岚的床上。
Lánlan let the little cat sleep in her room, but if you give her inch and she’ll take a mile. In a few days, she ended up sleeping on Lánlan's bed.
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when a son is similar to his father
有其父必有其子 有其父必有其子
Yǒu qí fù bì yǒu qí zi
有其父必有其子
when a son is similar to his father
老布什和小布什看上去很像,可以说他们是有其父 必有其子的经典。 老布什和小布什看上去很像,可以说他们是有其父 必有其子的经典。
Lǎo bùshí hé xiǎo bùshí kàn shàngqu hěn xiàng, kéyǐ shuō tāmen shì yǒu qí fù bì yǒu qí zi de jīngdiǎn.
老布什和小布什看上去很像,可以說他們是有其父 必有其子的經典。
George W. Bush Junior looks quite like his father. They could be considered a classical case of like father, like son.
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relationships with family (or blood relatives) is stronger than other relationships
血浓于水 血浓于水
xuè nóng yú shuǐ
血濃於水
relationships with family (or blood relatives) is stronger than other relationships
血浓于水在汉语中也可以用于形容在中国人之间 的相互扶助。 血浓于水在汉语中也可以用于形容在中国人之间 的相互扶助。
Xuè nóng yú shuǐ zài hànyǔ zhòng yě kéyǐ yòng yú xíngróng zài zhōngguó rén zhī jiān de xiānghù fúzhù.
血濃于水在漢語中也可以用于形容在中國人之間 的相互扶助。
The phrase, "Blood is thicker than water," in Chinese, can also be used to describe helping each other among Chinese people who are not relatives.
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you feel the best when at home
月是故乡明 月是故乡明
Yuè shì gùxiāng míng
月是故鄉明
you feel the best when at home
月是故乡明这句诗在今天多半用来描述多年住在 国外的中国人的思乡之情。 月是故乡明这句诗在今天多半用来描述多年住在 国外的中国人的思乡之情。
Yuè shì gùxiāng míng zhè jù shī zài jīntiān duōbàn yòng lái miáoshù duōnián zhù guó wài de zhōngguó rén de sīxiāng zhī qíng.
月是故鄉明這句詩在今天多半用來描述多年住在 國外的中國人的思鄉之情。
"The moon shines brighter at homeland" is used today mostly to describe nostalgia from home of someone who lived many years abroad.
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It’s easier to do something as a team than by yourself.
三个臭皮匠,顶个诸葛亮 三个臭皮匠,顶个诸葛亮
Sān ge chòu píjiàng, dǐng ge zhūgéliàng.
三個臭皮匠,頂個諸葛亮
It’s easier to do something as a team than by yourself.
小李是广告设计师。她常常问自己的先生和儿子喜 不喜欢一个图片,或:“这句话怎么样?” 她向儿子 解释说:“这叫三个臭皮匠,顶个诸葛亮, 哪怕是 个小臭皮匠。” 但是儿子开始提条件了,比如多 玩一会儿游戏什么的。 小李是广告设计师。她常常问自己的先生和儿子喜 不喜欢一个图片,或:“这句话怎么样?” 她向儿子 解释说:“这叫三个臭皮匠,顶个诸葛亮, 哪怕是 个小臭皮匠。” 但是儿子开始提条件了,比如多 玩一会儿游戏什么的。
Xiáo lǐ shì guǎnggào shèjì shī. Tā chángchang wèn zìjǐ de xiānsheng hé érzi xǐ bù xǐhuān yígè túpiàn, huò:“Zhè jù huà zěnmo yàng?” Tā xiàng érzi jiěshì shuō:“Zhè jiào sān gè chòu píjiàng, dǐng gè zhūgéliàng, nǎpà shì gè xiǎo chòu píjiàng.” Dànshì érzi kāishǐ tí tiáojiàn le, bǐrú duō wán yìhuǐ'er yóuxì shénmo de.
小李是廣告設計師。她常常問自己的先生和兒子喜 不喜歡一個圖片,或:“這句話怎麽樣?” 她向兒子 解釋說:“這叫三個臭皮匠,頂個諸葛亮, 哪怕是 個小臭皮匠。” 但是兒子開始提條件了,比如多 玩一會兒遊戲什麽的。
Xiao Li is a poster designer. She often asks her husband and son if they like a certain image. As she explains to her son while talking about the image, ""Two heads are better than one."" Her son enters the conversation, but then says he'd like to play video games for a while longer.
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something perfect in every way
十全十美 十全十美
shí quán shí měi
十全十美
something perfect in every way
买车的时候,小张知道没有十全十美的选择。 买车的时候,小张知道没有十全十美的选择。
Mǎi chē de shíhòu, xiǎozhāng zhīdao méiyǒu shí quán shí měi de xuǎnzé.
買車的時候,小張知道沒有十全十美的選擇。
When buying a car, Xiao Zhang knows there is not no perfect option.
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the top one or two
数一数二 数一数二
shǔ yī shǔ èr
數一數二
the top one or two
他是我们公司数一数二的程序员。 他是我们公司数一数二的程序员。
Tā shì wǒmen gōngsī shǔ yī shǔ èr de chéngxùyuán.
他是我們公司數一數二的程序員。
He's the no.1 and 2 programmers in our firm.
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you have to work for what you want
功夫不负有心人 功夫不负有心人
Gōngfu búfù yǒuxīnrén
功夫不負有心人
you have to work for what you want
明明喜欢打篮球。虽然他五年级才开始练习,但经 过几年坚持不懈的课外训练,他在高中时成了校 篮球队的主力队员。这就是功夫不负有心人。 明明喜欢打篮球。虽然他五年级才开始练习,但经 过几年坚持不懈的课外训练,他在高中时成了校 篮球队的主力队员。这就是功夫不负有心人。
Míngming xǐhuān dǎ lánqiú. Suīrán tā wǔ niánjí cái kāishǐ liànxí, dàn jīng guò jǐ nián jiānchí búxiè de kèwài xùnliàn, tā zài gāozhòng shí chéng le xiào lánqiú duì de zhǔlì duìyuán. Zhè jiùshì gōngfū bú fù yǒuxīnrén.
明明喜歡打籃球。雖然他五年級才開始練習,但經 過幾年堅持不懈的課外訓練,他在高中時成了校 籃球隊的主力隊員。這就是功夫不負有心人。
Míngming likes basketball. Even though he started in the 5th grade, after a few years of persistent training after school, he became a key player in his high school's basketball team. No pain, no gain.
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Hello, learners, here is the list of the above idioms / their literal English translations!


亡羊补牢,未为晚矣。 / Wáng yáng bǔ láo, wèi wéi wán yǐ. / 亡羊補牢,未為晚矣。 / Better late than never.

有志者事竟成。 / Yǒuzhì zhě shì jìng chéng. / 有志者事竟成。 / Where there is a will, there is a way.

入乡随俗。 / Rùxiāng suísú. / 入乡随俗。 / When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

说曹操,曹操到。 / Shuō cáocāo, cáocāo dào. / 說曹操,曹操到。 / speak of the devil

千里之行,始于足下。 / Qiānlǐ zhī xíng, shǐ yú zúxià. / 千裏之行,始於足下。 / A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

大海捞针 / dàhǎi lāozhēn / 大海撈針 / mission impossible

煞费苦心 / shà fèi kǔ xīn / 煞費苦心 / make a great deal of effort

得寸进尺 / décùn jìnchǐ / 得寸進尺 / Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.

有其父必有其子。 / Yǒu qí fù bì yǒu qí zi. / 有其父必有其子。 / Like father, like son.

血浓于水。 / xuè nóng yú shuǐ / 血濃於水。 / Blood is thicker than water.

月是故乡明。 / Yuè shì gùxiāng míng. / 月是故鄉明。 / There is no place like home.

三个臭皮匠,顶个诸葛亮。 / Sān ge chòu píjiàng, dǐng ge zhūgéliàng. / 三個臭皮匠,頂個諸葛亮。 / Two heads are better than one.

十全十美 / shí quán shí měi / 十全十美 / perfect state; the best

数一数二 / shǔ yī shǔ èr / 數一數二 / the best

功夫不负有心人。 / Gōngfu búfù yǒuxīnrén. / 功夫不負有心人。 / No pain, no gain.

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