Short Chinese Proverbs

Chinese language, which is well suited to the writing of short and snappy idioms and proverbs (谚语yànyǔ). Here is an index of some idiomatic(uses words in a way that sounds natural to native speakers of the language) examples. Each one is given its similar proverbs meaning in English language.

静以修身 (jìng yǐ xiū shēn) – a light heart lives long.
唾面自干 (tuo mian zi gan)- If anyone spits in your face, let it drip dry
逆来顺受 (nì lái shùn shòu) – Take things as they come.
良药苦口 (liáng yào kǔ kǒu) – a good medicine tastes bitter.
身体力行 (shēn tǐ lì xíng) – Practice what you preach.
兵不厌诈 (bīng bù yàn zhà) – Nothing is too deceitful in war.
惩前毖后 (chéng qián bì hòu) – Learn from past mistakes to avoid future ones.
一石二鸟 (yī shí èr niǎo) – Kill two birds with one stone.
如坐针毡 (rú zuò zhēn zhān) – Like sitting on a carpet of needles; to feel tense and uneasy.
知音难觅 (zhī yīn nán mì) – a faithful friend is hard to find.
入乡随俗 (rù xiāng suí sú) – When you are in Rome, do as the Romans do.
大智若愚 (dà zhì ruò yú) – He knows most who speaks least.
捷足先登 (jié zú xiān dēng) – First come, first served.
哀兵必胜 (āi bīng bì shèng) – An oppressed army fighting with desperate courage is sure to win.
夜长梦多 (ye chang meng duo) – The night is long and dreams are legion
水涨船高 (shui zhang chuan gao) – When the tide rises, boats float higher.
同床异梦 (tong chuang yi meng) – Same bed, different dreams.
不耻下问 (bù chǐ xià wèn)- No shame in asking those of lower status.
骄兵必败 (jiaō bīng bì baì)- The arrogant army will lose the battle for sure.
掩耳盗铃 (yǎn ěr daò líng)- Covering one’s own ears while stealing a bell.
画蛇添足 (huà shě tiān zú)- Adding legs when painting a snake.
以牙还牙 (yǐ yá huán yá)- An eye for an eye; to seek revenge in a manner in which one was injured.
三人成虎 (sān rén chéng hǔ)- Three people can make up a tiger.
光阴似箭 (guāngyīn sì jiàn)- Time is like an arrow
覆水难收 (fù shuǐ nán shōu)- Spilt water is hard to recover
同病相怜 (tóngbìngxiānglián)- Patients with similar conditions empathise with each other
与虎谋皮 (yu hu mou pi)- To negotiate with a tiger for its skin
否极泰来 (pǐ jí tài lái) – Things at the worst will mend.
祸从口出 (huò cóng kǒu chū) – Disaster emanates from a careless talk.
饥不择食 (jī bù zé shí)- Beggars can’t be choosers.

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