A scholar of the Chinese language knows that traditional Chinese culture loves beautiful words. So much so, that many famous historical Chinese figures also doubled as influential poets. Warlords and military figures would often reign over their dominion during the day, while writing beautiful poetry at night.
Here we take a look at a few of the many elegant words and phrases permeating the Chinese language.
Are you learning the beautiful Chinese language? If so, have a look at our new article on Learning Mandarin Chinese The Right Way.
#1 烟雨 (yān yǔ)
Mild mist and light rain.
Meaning: inside the mild mist and light rain, everything is obscure and gentle. Is there, or is not there? Truth or illusion.
#2 似水流年 (sì shuǐ liúnián)
Years flow away, just like a stream of water.
#3 风花雪月 (fēng huāxuěyuè)
Wind, Flower, Snow, Moon
Meaning: wind in the summer, gentle and cool. Flowers in spring, colourful and flourishing. Snow in the winter, pure and clear. Moon in the fall, peaceful and bright. To see all these beautiful things, with an even more beautiful self.
#4 梦蝶 (mèng dié)
Dream to be a butterfly
Meaning: A philosopher once dreamed himself to be a butterfly. When he woke up, he asked: Am I a human dreamed as butterfly, or a butterfly dreamed to be a human?
#5 浮生若梦 (fú shēng ruò mèng)
Floating life is just like a dream
#6 心有灵犀一点通 (xīn yǒu líng xī yī diǎn tōng)
We love each other. With only a hint, an eye contact, I get what you’re thinking about.
#7 剑胆琴心 (jiàn dǎn qín xīn)
Sword-like spirit, harp-like soul
Meaning: it feels kind of like… In me the tiger sniffs the rose. 琴 here is Guqin, an ancient Chinese instrument.
#8 西风 (xī fēng)
Wind from west
Meaning: In traditional Chinese culture, winds of the four seasons come from different directions. Wind of autumn, that’s from the west. It drops the leaves, fades the flowers, withers the whole world. Another year passes by. How many years left for me, for this life?
#9 东风 (dōng fēng)
Wind from East
Meaning: Wind of Spring! It is so beautiful and warm. It will bring all the flowers, the new buds, the new greens and a colourful prosperous nature. The birds and animals are awaken, ice melt and rivers begin to flow. Wind from the East, it brings new life and hope.
#10 烂柯 (làn kē)
Literally means “rotten axe handle.”
Meaning: There is a story. A woodcutter entered a mountain alone, with an axe in his hand. He saw two angels (仙人) were there, playing chess. He went close to inspect their game. The game soon finished and the woodcutter returned home to his village. Only to find out — hundreds of years had passed. His family, his friend, they were all gone. The whole village changed so much. And, seeing the axe in his hand, its wooden handle was rotten with years.
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