Can You Figure Out These Chinese Sayings?

posted in: Chinese, Uncategorized | 3

Chinese is a very colorful language, full of all kinds of sayings.  If you understand them, this is great.  If you don’t understand them, you wonder what these characters mean together.  Often I can read each character, but stick them together and I have no idea what the phrase means.




Want to try your hand at it?  Below are some phrases I learned this week, translated quite literally into English.  What do you think they mean?  The answers are below and you can share how you did in the comments!

1. 见马克思 (jiàn mǎ kè  sī )     “Visit (Karl) Marx”

2. 家家有本难念的经 (jiā jiā yǒu běn nán niàn de jīng )    “Every family has its own hard to recite scriptures.”

3. 柴米油盐 (chái  mǐ yóu yán )     “Firewood, rice, oil, salt”

4. 鸟语花香 (niǎo yǔ huā xiāng)     “Birds sing and flowers are fragrant”

5. 百里挑一 (bǎi lǐ tiāo yī)    “Within 100, choose 1”



And sometimes the English translation is more colorful than the Chinese…



1. A colloquial way to say “to die,” something like “kick the bucket.”

2. Every family has its own problems.

3. Daily necessities or every day things.

4. A descriptor for a beautiful place and day.

5. One in a hundred.


Linked up to Velvet Ashes “Fluff” week.

3 Responses

  1. Barbara Carvill

    thanks for the language lesson! For a person like me who can’t read the characters, could you add the pinyin, please? BC

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