Chinese-English Database of Chengyu

Chinese-English Database of Chengyu

Covers over 50,000 entries

Many alternative translations

Both figurative and literal translations

Overview

CJKI’s Chinese-English Database of Chengyu (CEC) is important for translating 成語 chéngyǔ (Chinese proverbs and idioms, often based on classical Chinese, cannot normally be translated literally). For example, 臨陣磨槍 línzhènmóqiāng, literally means ‘face battle sharpen spear’, which actually means “do something at the last moment”, cannot be correctly translated by machine translation systems based on the characters alone.

CEC includes a fairly large variety of English translations, as well as ranking information, literal meanings, variants, and syntactic codes, and is dispensable for MT systems striving to achieve high accuracy.

Chinese-English Database of Chengyu
ChinesePinyinEnglish
一举两得yī jǔ liǎng déto kill two birds with one stone
一窍不通yī qiào bù tōngnot to know the first thing about
一窍不通yī qiào bù tōngto be utterly ignorant of
一针见血yī zhēn jiàn xiěto hit the nail on the head
易如反掌yì rú fǎn zhǎngas easy as child's play
王婆卖瓜 ,自卖自夸wáng pó mài guā zì mài zì kuāevery potter praises his pot
己所不欲 ,勿施于人jǐ suǒ bù yù wù shī yú réndo not do unto others as you would not have them do unto you
己所不欲 ,勿施于人jǐ suǒ bù yù wù shī yú réndo unto others as you would have them do unto you
挂羊头卖狗肉guà yáng tóu mài gǒu ròuto swindle others by making false claims
九牛一毛jiǔ niú yī máoa drop in the bucket
九牛一毛jiǔ niú yī máoa single hair out of nine ox hides
傲岸不群ào àn bù qúnbe proud and aloof
傲气十足ào qì shí zúbe full of arrogance
傲气十足ào qì shí zúextremely haughty
傲睨自若ào nì zì ruòlook about haughtily and imperturbably
胡说八道hú shuō bā dàotalking nonsense
先见之明xiān jiàn zhī míngfar-sighted
先见之明xiān jiàn zhī míngfarsightedness
成千成万chéng qiān chéng wànby the thousands
重瓜得瓜zhòng guā dé guāas a man sows, so shall he reap
小题大作xiǎo tí dà zuòto make a mountain out of a molehill
白发偕老bái fà xié lǎoa married couple reaching old age together
白发偕老bái fà xié lǎogrowing old in conjugal happiness
白发偕老bái fà xié lǎolive to a ripe old age in conjugal bliss
自卖自夸zì mài zì kuāpraise the goods one sells; blow one's own horn
前人种树 ,后人乘凉qián rén zhòng shù hòu rén chéng liángenjoying the fruits of one's predecessors' efforts
保家卫国bǎo jiā wèi guódefend the home and country
保家卫国bǎo jiā wèi guóprotect our homes and defend our country
保国卫民bǎo guó wèi mínguard the country and protect its people
知者不言 ,言者不知zhī zhě bù yán yán zhě bù zhīhe who knows does not speak, he who speaks does not know
知者不言 ,言者不知zhī zhě bù yán yán zhě bù zhīthose who know much talk little, those who know little talk much
包罗万象bāo luó wàn xiàngall-embracing
包罗万象bāo luó wàn xiàngall-inclusive
包罗万象bāo luó wàn xiàngan omnibus of everything
包罗万象bāo luó wàn xiàngcatch-all
包罗万象bāo luó wàn xiàngcomprehending all nature
包罗万象bāo luó wàn xiàngcomprehensive
包罗万象bāo luó wàn xiàngcover a wide range
包罗万象bāo luó wàn xiàngcover all the phenomena of the universe
包罗万象bāo luó wàn xiàngcover and contain everything
同舟共济tóng zhōu gòng jìhang together
同舟共济tóng zhōu gòng jìto be in the same boat
入乡随俗rù xiāng suí súwhen in Rome do as the Romans do
拔刀相助bá dāo xiāng zhùdraw a sword and render help
拔刀相助bá dāo xiāng zhùhelp another for the sake of justice
拔刀相助bá dāo xiāng zhùtake up the cudgels against an injustice
拔去眼中钉bá qù yǎn zhōng dīngpull out nails - a metaphor for eliminating obstacles or persons impeding the progress of work
拔去眼中钉bá qù yǎn zhōng dīngpull out the sting in one's eye
拔去眼中钉bá qù yǎn zhōng dīngremove a person one hates most
背水为阵bèi shuǐ wéi zhènburn one's bridges
背水为阵bèi shuǐ wéi zhèndeploy the troops with backs to a river
背水为阵bèi shuǐ wéi zhènfight with one's back against the water
背水为阵bèi shuǐ wéi zhènfight with one's back to the river
八竿子打不着bā gān zi dǎ bu zháohave nothing whatsoever to do
八竿子打不着bā gān zi dǎ bu zháonot related in any way
八十岁学吹打bā shí suì xué chuī dǎan old dog learning new tricks
八十岁学吹打bā shí suì xué chuī dǎlearn to pipe and drum at the age of eighty
八十岁学吹打bā shí suì xué chuī dǎnever too old to learn
八仙过海bā xiān guò hǎithe Eight Immortals crossing the sea
八面威风bā miàn wēi fēnga commanding presence
八面威风bā miàn wēi fēngan aura of awesome might
八面威风bā miàn wēi fēngan awe-inspiring reputation extending in every direction
八面威风bā miàn wēi fēngaugust
八面威风bā miàn wēi fēngbright and bold
八面威风bā miàn wēi fēngcommanding
八面威风bā miàn wēi fēnggive oneself majestic airs
半斤八两bàn jīn bā liǎngas long as it's broad
半斤八两bàn jīn bā liǎngbe all just the same
半斤八两bàn jīn bā liǎngbe as broad as it is long
半斤八两bàn jīn bā liǎngbe the pot and the kettle
半斤八两bàn jīn bā liǎngbirds of a feather
半斤八两bàn jīn bā liǎngcome amount to the same thing
半斤八两bàn jīn bā liǎngeven break
半斤八两bàn jīn bā liǎngfifty-fifty
半斤八两bàn jīn bā liǎnghalf a catty and eight ounces
半斤八两bàn jīn bā liǎnghalf a pound of one and eight ounces of the other
半斤八两bàn jīn bā liǎnghorse and horse
半斤八两bàn jīn bā liǎngnot much to choose between the two
半斤八两bàn jīn bā liǎngsix and half-a-dozen
半斤八两bàn jīn bā liǎngsix of one and half a dozen of the other
半斤八两bàn jīn bā liǎngthe pot and the kettle
半斤八两bàn jīn bā liǎngthe pot calling the kettle back
半斤八两bàn jīn bā liǎngtweedledum and tweedledee
半斤八两bàn jīn bā liǎngwell matched
半死不活bàn sǐ bù huóbe neither dead nor alive
半死不活bàn sǐ bù huódead-alive
半死不活bàn sǐ bù huóhalf-dead
半死不活bàn sǐ bù huómore dead than alive
半死不活bàn sǐ bù huóon the verge of death
光阴似箭guāng yīn sì jiànhow time flies!
光阴似箭guāng yīn sì jiàntime flies like an arrow
久而久之jiǔ ér jiǔ zhīeventually
久而久之jiǔ ér jiǔ zhīin the long run
美中不足měi zhōng bù zúa fly in the ointment
一言为定yī yán wéi dìngit is agreed!
不言而喻bù yán ér yùit goes without saying
有志者事竟成yǒu zhì zhě shì jìng chéngwhere there is a will there is a way
有名无实yǒu míng wú shíin name not in fact
有名无实yǒu míng wú shíin name only
老马识途lǎo mǎ shí túbeing very experienced
安贫乐道ān pín lè dàobe content with poverty, caring only for one's principles or the way
安贫乐道ān pín lè dàobe contented in poverty and devoted to things spiritual
安贫乐道ān pín lè dàobe willing to suffer poverty and unwilling to leave the right track - to be willing to suffer
安贫乐道ān pín lè dàocomplacency with honest poverty
安贫乐道ān pín lè dàohappy to lead a simple, virtuous life
安贫乐道ān pín lè dàolive contentedly as a poor scholar
安贫乐道ān pín lè dàorepose in poverty and delight in wisdom
安贫乐道ān pín lè dàosatisfaction with the simple life
安贫乐道ān pín lè dàosubmit [bend, bow] to one's lot [wind] and limb
按资排辈àn zī pái bèiaccording to seniority
按资排辈àn zī pái bèiassign priority according to seniority
安闲无事ān xián wú shìbe at leisure
安闲无事ān xián wú shìhave no work [duties]
安闲无事ān xián wú shìwith no work or duties
熬枯受淡áo kū shòu dàndrag through a monotonous life
熬枯受淡áo kū shòu dànhave undergone the whole ordeal of ennui and dull life
熬更守夜áo gēng shǒu yèkeep watch [vigil] all night
矮子里拔将军ǎi zǐ li bá jiāng jūnchoose a general from among the dwarfs - to pick the best person available
矮子里拔将军ǎi zǐ li bá jiāng jūnIn the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
矮子里拔将军ǎi zǐ li bá jiāng jūnpick the best of the mediocrities
砭人肌骨biān rén jī gǔbone-piercing
砭人肌骨biān rén jī gǔcut one to the bones
砭人肌骨biān rén jī gǔpiercing
板板六十四bǎn bǎn liù shí sìinflexible
板板六十四bǎn bǎn liù shí sìrigid
板板六十四bǎn bǎn liù shí sìstick to rules strictly
板板六十四bǎn bǎn liù shí sìunaccommodating
板板六十四bǎn bǎn liù shí sìvery conservation
板执不通bǎn zhí bù tōngadhere stubbornly to one's own opinions
板执不通bǎn zhí bù tōngadmit of no alternative
板执不通bǎn zhí bù tōngbe a stickler for rules
板执不通bǎn zhí bù tōngbe wedded to one's own opinions
板执不通bǎn zhí bù tōnghave a set mind
板执不通bǎn zhí bù tōngnail one's colors to the mast
板执不通bǎn zhí bù tōngtolerate no other alternative
板荡识忠臣bǎn dàng shí zhōng chénThe true and faithful can easily be spotted in time of trouble.
奥秘莫测ào mì mò cèbe mysterious and hard to understand
奥秘莫测ào mì mò cèbe veiled in mystery
蔽上蒙下bì shàng méng xiàdeceive superiors and hoodwink subordinates
拜在门下bài zài mén xiàbecome a pupil of apprentice to someone
拜托代劳bài tuō dài láorequest to do something for another
拜倒足下bài dǎo zú xiàgrovel at someone's feet
拜倒足下bài dǎo zú xiàlie prostrate before someone
拜倒足下bài dǎo zú xiàprostrate oneself and kowtow at someone's feet
拜倒足下bài dǎo zú xiàprostrate oneself before someone
拜倒足下bài dǎo zú xiàthrow oneself at someone's feet
拜人为师bài rén wéi shīacknowledge someone as one's tutor
拜人为师bài rén wéi shīsit at someone's feet and be his pupil
拜师求学bài shī qiú xuépay respect to a master and seek for knowledge
奥妙之至ào miào zhī zhìmarvelous to the utmost degree
奥妙之至ào miào zhī zhìmost marvelous
奥妙无穷ào miào wú qióngextremely subtle
奥妙无穷ào miào wú qiónginexhaustibly profound
碍于情面ài yú qíng miànfor fear of hurting someone's feelings
碍于情面ài yú qíng miànjust to spare someone's feelings
碍于情面ài yú qíng miànOne can't do something for fear of hurting another's feelings.
碍于情面ài yú qíng miànout of consideration for somebody's feeling
碍手碍脚ài shǒu ài jiǎobe a drag
碍手碍脚ài shǒu ài jiǎobe a hindrance [an encumbrance]
碍手碍脚ài shǒu ài jiǎobe a nuisance
碍手碍脚ài shǒu ài jiǎobe cumbersome
碍手碍脚ài shǒu ài jiǎobe obstructed by one's hands and feet
柏节松操bǎi jié sōng cāothe chastity of the cypress and the pine tree - to said of chaste widowhood
壁垒一新bì lěi yī xīnThe military breastwork is new and strong - the front is arranged in good order.
壁垒分明bì lěi fēn míngbe diametrically opposed
壁垒分明bì lěi fēn míngbe sharply divided
壁垒分明bì lěi fēn míngissues clearly state
壁垒分明bì lěi fēn míngtwo sharply opposed sides
壁垒分明bì lěi fēn míngtwo sides clearly stated
壁垒分明bì lěi fēn míngwith clearly defined lines
壁垒分明bì lěi fēn míngwith side clearly drawn
壁垒森严bì lěi sēn yána wall of indifference
壁垒森严bì lěi sēn yána well-organized institute
壁垒森严bì lěi sēn yánan unassailable stronghold
壁垒森严bì lěi sēn yánbe heavily
壁垒森严bì lěi sēn yánclosely guarded
壁垒森严bì lěi sēn yánconfronting each other
壁垒森严bì lěi sēn yánDefence is iron-clad.
壁垒森严bì lěi sēn yánrival camps
壁垒森严bì lěi sēn yánrival camps confronting each other
壁垒森严bì lěi sēn yánsharply divided
壁垒森严bì lěi sēn yánsolid [ironclad, strong] defense
壁垒森严bì lěi sēn yánstrong defense preparations
壁垒森严bì lěi sēn yánstrongly fortified
壁垒森严bì lěi sēn yánThe defense is as strong as a wall.
嗷嗷待哺áo áo dài bǔas hungry as a hawk
嗷嗷待哺áo áo dài bǔbe starving
嗷嗷待哺áo áo dài bǔclamor for food
嗷嗷待哺áo áo dài bǔcry out for the bread - said of an infant
嗷嗷待哺áo áo dài bǔcry piteously for food
嗷嗷待哺áo áo dài bǔcry with hunger
嗷嗷待哺áo áo dài bǔthe cry of starving people
嗷嗷待哺áo áo dài bǔwait to be fed with cries of hunger
嗷嗷待哺áo áo dài bǔwait with open mouth to be fed
彼此一样bǐ cǐ yī yàngIt makes no difference.
彼此一样bǐ cǐ yī yàngWhat is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
彼此不和bǐ cǐ bù hébe at enmity with each other
彼伏此起bǐ fú cǐ qǐOne falls, another rises.
彼伏此起bǐ fú cǐ qǐrise one after another
彼伏此起bǐ fú cǐ qǐsubside there and rise here
Notes:
- The number of English translations is much larger than what is shown here.
- Syntactic and grammatical attributes not included in this sample.

Practical Applications

CEC  can be used in such applications as:

Machine translation dictionaries

Pedagogical applications

Chinese character research

Related Resources

Chinese-English Dictionary

Simplified Chinese-English general vocabulary and common proper nouns

English-Chinese Dictionary

English-Simplified Chinese general vocabulary and common proper nouns

Chinese Lexical Database

Monolingual general vocabulary for NLP applications