johnplay / 英语小集 / 中国成语英译

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中国成语英译

2011-04-10  johnplay

一朝被蛇咬,十年怕草绳

Once bitten, twice shy.

一言既出,驷马难追
A word spoken is past recalling.

一见钟情
to fall in love at first sight

一箭双鵰/一举两得
Kill two birds with one stone.

一寸光阴一寸金
Time is money.

一失足成千古恨
The error committed on impulse may turn out to be the sorrow of a whole life.

一将功名万骨枯
What millions died that Caesar might be great.

一年之计在于春,一日之计在于晨
Plan your year in spring and your day at dawn.

一人难称百人意
You cannot please everyone.

一气呵成
Never make two bites of a cherry. 
 
一白遮三丑
A white complexion is powerful enough to hide seven faults.

 

一知半解
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

 

一心一意
John is a person who always works with undivided attention.

 

一丘之貉
These people are cut from the same cloth./are tarred with the same brush.

 

一目了然
His words just leapt to the eye. Do you need me to explain it?

 

一帆风顺
His business has gone off without a hitch.

 

一刻千金
You have to make good use of time. After all, every time counts.

 

一事无成
I am happy to know that all have ended in smoke about him.

 

一败涂地
The outcome of the election just bit the dust.

 

一针见血
His comment on the current affairs always hits the right nail on the head.
 
一清二楚
The accounts seem to be as clear as crystal.

 

一意孤行
That boy is always going his own way. He won't listen to his parents' advice.

 

一落千丈
My son's schoolwork has gone to pot. He really lets me down.

 

一鸣惊人
His performance at school really comes as a bombshell.

 

一诺千金
He never goes back on his word. He is as good as his word.

 

一时兴起
Don't always do things by fits and snatches.

 

一蹴可及
You should know that it is impossible to make it at one stroke.

 

一筹莫展
I really have no idea what to do. Now I am at my wit's end.

 

一览无遗
If you stand here looking down at the city. The wonderful scene will be in full view.

 

一窍不通
What you said is all Greek to me.  
 
人生而平等
All men are created equal.

 

人山人海
a sea of faces:How many people are there in the stadium? Believe it or not, a sea of faces. 

 

人之常情
human nature:It's human nature for me to help those who need help.

 

人云亦云
echo others' words:Don't echo others' words. Sometimes you've got to find out the truth.

 

人去楼空
Regretful to say, when the master was absent, his mansion was dead.

 

人面兽心
a wolf in sheep's clothing:He is cruel enough to kill that girl; he's really a wolf in sheep's clothing.

 

人言可畏
Opinion rules the world:Always remember what I say to you. Opinion rules the world. 

 

十年风水轮流转
Every dog has its day.

 

十全十美
leave nothing to be desired:The show just leaves nothing to be desired.

 

十拿九稳
We have winning the game in the bag.  
 
十万火急
in hot haste:I am writing in hot haste to let you know that I will be there on time.

 

了无瓜葛
have nothing to do with:That politician claimed that he had nothing to do with that scandal.

 

力不从心
my spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak:A:Can you do me a favor? B:Sorry, my spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak.

 

力挽狂澜
try to stem the tide:He tried to stem the tide, but in vain.

 

入境随俗
Do in Rome as the Romans do.

 

入木三分
It actually gave a vivid picture of cut the quick. (leave an indelible impression)

 

七上八下
to be sixes and sevens:Don't talk to me now because I am all at sixes and sevens. (with one's heart going pitapat)

 

七窍生烟
He was in a great fury (fuming with anger; in a great rage; terribly furious) and swore to get even with the opposite(跟对方报复).

 

七零八落
After the quake, the buildings went to rock and ruin.

 

八面玲珑
smooth and able to win favour on all sides
 
三思而后行
Look before you leap.

 

三句不离本行
to talk shop

 

三个臭皮匠胜过一个诸葛亮
Two heads are better than one.

 

三番两次
This guy is at me time after time.(time and again; time and time again.)

 

三缄其口
You'd better hold your peace, or you'll ask for trouble.

 

千钧一发
to hang by a hair thread / at the critical time

 

千锤百炼
A good nail does not fear the hammer. (steeled and tempered; gone through fire and water)

 

千载难逢
It only happens once in a blue moon. (It chances in an hour that happens not in seven years.)

 

千变万化
The unexpected always happens.

 

大刀阔斧
It's said that the new executive will go the whole hog (reform in a big way.)  
 
大同小异
much of muchness:The two articles are much of muchness ( be alike with minor difference ; There's not a pin to choose between the two ) in appearance and quality.

 

大言不惭
blow your own trumpet:You really blow your own trumpet. (talk big; overshoot oneself)

 

大快朵颐
They are so delicious that I ate my fill. (gorge oneself; tuck in at; have/take one's fill.) 

 

大功告成
The big project finally came off with honors (bring home the bacon; come through with flying colors).

 

大智若愚
He who cannot play the fool is not a wise man.

 

大器晚成
Rome was not built in a day.

 

大海捞针
needle in a haystack:Finding your lost contact lens is just like looking for a needle in a haystack.

 

山穷水尽
at the end of one's resources

 

山中无老虎,猴子称大王
Among the blind the one-eyed is king./When the cat's away, the mice will play.

 

小题大做
Make a mountain out of a molehill. ( fuss about trifles; a tempest in a teapot; a storm in a teacup; break a butterfly on a wheel )
 
一视同仁
He treats everyone across the board.

 

一模一样
These twins look as like as two peas.

 

一时兴起
He does everything on the spur of the moment.

 

九死一生
to have a hair-breadth escape

 

九牛一毛
Compared with mine, his was simply a drop in the bucket.

 

人生如梦
Life is but a dream.

 

人生自古谁无死
Death comes to all men.

 

人生百岁古来稀
It is seldom that a man lives to be a hundred years old.

 

人定胜天
Man can conquer nature.

 

人不可貌相
Appearances are often deceptive./ Never judge a book by its cover.  
 
 
小不忍则乱大谋
Patience is a virtue.

 

小洞不补,大来吃苦
A stitch in time saves nine.

 

工欲善其事,必先利其器
Sharp tools make good work.

 

己所不欲勿施于人
Do unto others as you would be done.

 

亡羊补牢
Better late than never./ It's never too late to mend.

 

上气不接下气
I got out of breath when I climbed those stairs.

 

寸步不离
He always keeps book at his elbow. (keep close to)

 

口若悬河
He always talks nine words at once. (rattle on)

 

仁者无敌
The benevolent have no enemy.

 

口是心非
He often speaks with his tongue in his cheek. (play a double game; say one thing and mean another )  
 
不可一世
I really don't know why she is always as proud as a peacock.

 

不可救药
His deep-rooted bad habits are simply beyond remedy.

 

不由自主
in spite of oneself:He is often absent-minded and dozed off in spite of himself in class.

 

不自量力
If he does so, he really goes beyond his depth. No one can beat that guy. (overrate one's abilities)

 

不屈不挠
Although he has failed several times, he still keeps his chin up. (as steady as a rock; firm and unyielding; fight for tooth and nail; hang on by the eyelashes; stick to one's color)

 

不知死活
John is really heedless of consequences. I believe some day he will ask for trouble.

 

不知好歹
Take my advice into consideration. Don't know chalk from cheese.

 

不耻下问
To improve your studies, you got to be not above asking questions.

 

不假思索
He is good at speech. He often speaks impromptu.

 

不偏不倚
You should believe that the judge held the scales even.  
不期而遇
I came across an old friend of mine in a department store. (chance to meet,bump into,come upon,meet...accidentally/unexpectedly/by chance/by accident)

 

不速之客
You are really a thick-skinned and gate-crasher.

 

不义之财
Don't be envious. Ill-gotten money comes easily and goes easily too.

 

不谋而合
see eye to eye:Do you see eye to eye with him on that plan?

 

不厌其烦
takes the trouble:The teacher often takes the trouble to instruct his pupils.

 

不遗余力
But the conspirators leave no avenue unexplored to re-establish contact with Britain.

 

不择手段
by hook or by crook:He just did the work by hook or by crook.

 

不翼而飞
Did you see that plane? It seems that it just vanished from sight.

 

不声不响
as quiet/silent/still as a mouse:She was as quiet/silent/still as a mouse and left.

 

不识抬举
Bring a cow to the hall and she will run to the byre. (fail to appreciate sb's kindness/not know how to appreciate favor)
 
口蜜腹剑
A honey tongue, a heart of gall. ( be nasty-nice; Bees that have honey in their mouths have stings in their tails. )

 

久别情疏
Out of sight, out of mind. (Far from eye, far from heart. Long absent, soon forgotten. Seldom seen, soon forgotten.)

 

不告而别
French leave

 

不要不自量力
Don't put a quarter into a pint pot.

 

不要厚此薄彼
Don't make fish of one and flesh of another.

 

不畏艰难
Take the bull by the horns.

 

不战而屈人之兵
The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.

 

不入虎穴焉得虎子
How can one obtain tiger-cubs without entering the tiger's lair.

 

不经一事,不长一智
Experience is the mother of wisdom.

 

不胜其烦
a pain in the neck:Your little brother is a pain in the neck.  
 
心正不怕雷打
A good conscience is a soft pillow.

 

心甘情愿
He did all this of his own accord.

 

心不在焉
You look absent-minded; what's wrong?

 

心满意足
The little boy sat there smiling, as happy as a clam.

 

心力交瘁
I don't know what to do. I just burned the candle at both ends.

 

心灰意冷
He was in black despair when he failed in the joint examination.(down in the bushes/in the dumps/lose heart) 

 

心有余悸
A burned child dreads the fires. (Once bitten, twice shy.)

 

心安理得
No matter what he said, I have the peace of mind. (have an easy conscience)

 

心血来潮
He did it just on the impulse of the moment.

 

心花怒放
My heart sings with joy because I receive over 300 letters a week from people around the world.  
 
少年老成
to have an old head on young shoulders

 

少不更事
wet behind the ears:Although she is 20, she was still wet behind the ears in some ways.

 

天无绝人之路
God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb. /When one door shuts another opens.

 

天下乌鸦一般黑
Crows are black all over the world

 

天助自助者
Heaven helps those who help themselves.

 

天有不测风云,人有旦夕祸福
It is the unexpected that always happens.

 

天衣无缝
These two ideas just fit like a glove.

 

天涯海角
ends of the earth:I'll find him to the ends of the earth. (out-of-the-way places; the uttermost part of the earth)

 

天经地义
a matter of course:It's a matter of course to respect our elders. (a universal truth; it goes without saying that...)  

 

毛遂自荐
to recommend one's own person 
 
火上加油
Don't bother her, or you'll pour oil on the flame.

 

支离破碎
The car was so seriously damaged that it was torn to pieces. (in shreds; rip apart)

 

匹夫之勇
Fighting with him is just courage without discipline . (brute courage)

 

比比皆是
This kind of mall can be found here and there and everywhere. (right and left)

 

切肤之痛
No one knows where the shoe pinches like the wearer.

 

夫唱妇随
A good Jack makes a good Jill.

 

引狼入室
I know I'll set a fox to keep the geese if I take him for a good friend.

 

引以为荣
I am really proud of myself. (plume oneself on; pride oneself on; take pride in)

 

日薄西山
Now he knows that his days are numbered. (not to be long for this world; The sands are running out.)

 

水乳交融
That couple are really hand and (in) glove with each other. (be finger and glove with)
 
心直口快
John is frank and out spoken, so I prefer to remain with him.

 

心满意足
You can eat to your heart's content.

 

心猿意马
carry fire in one hand and water in the other 

 

心旷神怡
Standing here feel on top of the world.

 

化干戈为玉帛
Bury the hatchets and work for peace.

 

仁者无敌
The benevolent have no enemy.

 

今日事今日毕
Never put off till tomorrow what may be done today.

 

文胜于武
The pen is mightier than the sword.

 

文不对题
His composition is wide of the mark. ( beside the point )

 

六亲不认
As to the business, he often cuts loose from old ties. ( turn one's back on one's own flesh and blood ) 
 
 
水性杨花
They got divorced for he thinks his wife was unstable as water. (as changeable as the moon; A woman's mind and winter wind change off.)

 

水深火热
The rebels were in deep water and oppressed every day.

 

水落石出
The police are now looking into the case, and I suppose, the truth will out soon. (be brought to light; come out in the wash; Murder is out truth lies at the bottom of a well.)

 

分文不值
not worth a dump:What you bought yesterday is actually not worth a dump.

 

分身乏术
I'm now doing my homework, so I can't be in two places at once.

 

分秒必争
Every minute counts.

 

分道扬镳
They have already gone separate ways. (part company)

 

化险为夷
It is John who helps me weather the storm. (escape/go/get off scot-free; bear a charmed life)

 

斤斤计较
Forget about it. Don't strain at gnat. He needs money lately. (look at both sides of a penny; skin a flint)

 

以身作则
You got to practice what one practices. ( set a good example for others)
 
毛骨悚然
hair stand on end:That weird-looking person really makes my hair stand on end. (get goose bumps; make one's flesh creep)

 

打落水狗
to hit a person when he's down

 

打铁趁热
Strike while the iron is hot.(Make hay while the sun is shining.)

 

打抱不平
He often bullies you. I really take up the cudgel for you.

 

打草惊蛇
Let's stay here in order not to wake a sleeping dog. (wake a sleeping lion/woof)

 

犯错是人之常情,宽恕是超凡的
To err is human; to forgive divine.

 

平白无故
without rhyme or reason:Don't take others' money without rhyme or reason. (without provocation

 

白费唇舌
to waste your breath on him

 

生于忧患,死于安乐
Adversity spurs vitality, while comfort breeds sloth.

 

永垂不朽
The general's name will be always remembered and eternally immortal.  
 
四大皆空
All is vanity.

 

四海之内皆兄弟
All are brothers within the four seas.

 

四面八方
These folks come from in all directions (far and wide; there and everywhere; length and breadth)

 

四海为家
I don't know where Jack is now; in my mind, he is a person who is here today and gone tomorrow.

 

未雨绸缪
take precautions before it is too late

 

目不识丁
not know A from B / an illiterate

 

失败为成功之母
Failure is the mother of success.

 

失之毫厘,差之千里
A miss is as good as a mile.

 

只要功夫深,铁杵磨成针
Little strokes fell great oaks.

 

毛遂自荐
to recommend one's own person 
 
世界末日
Don't be so depressed. It's not Doomsday.

 

半斤八两
Tweedledum and Tweedledee:John is no better than Peter. They are just Tweedledum and Tweedledee. (six of one and half a dozen of the other)

 

半信半疑
half in doubt:A: Jimmy will invite you to dinner tonight? B: No, I don't think so. I will take it half in doubt. ( take with a grain of salt)

 

石沉大海
I couldn't find her. It seemed that her whereabouts sank into oblivion.

 

左右逢源
It appears that everything goes well with him.

 

司空见惯
order of the day:The situation is already order of the day. (par for the course)

 

目瞪口呆
She was already tongue-tied, and didn't know what to do. (lose one's tongue; struck dumb; stunned and speechless)

 

目光如豆
He is a person who sees no further than his nose.

 

出尔反尔
He is not a guy worthy of our trust. He often goes back on his word. (blow hot and cold)

 

出口成章
He is a learned person. His tongue is the pen of a ready writer.  
 
平分秋色
He did quite well, but I still think his is one equal terms with her.

 

平步青云
What an amazing thing! He should make a smashing hit in a short time. (beat the top of the ladder; come to the top over night; hit the jackpot)

 

平易近人
He is a person easy to get along with. (be well disposed; have a taking way with one have the common touch)

 

未雨绸缪
Don't take everyting for granted. It's better for you to lay up against a rainy day. (prepare for a rainy day)

 

功败垂成
a slip betwixt cup and the lip:I hate to tell you that your plan is a slip betwixt cup and the lip.

 

可歌可泣
His sacrifice for the country set us in a melting mood.

 

本末倒置
Don't put the cart before the horse.

 

甘拜下风
Would you like to play with me again? No, I'd rather play second fiddle.

 

甘之如饴
gladly endure hardship

 

世外桃源
Switzerland is like Utopia, which I always dream of visiting.  

 

出人头地
Through his hard work, he finally came to the fore.

 

出类拔萃
John towers above the rest in math. (in a class by itself; out of the common run)

 

史无前例
without precedent (in history):His excellent performance at that play is without precedent in history.

 

令人发指
His cruelty to animals make our hair stand on end.

 

令人咋舌
took my breath away:What he did really took my breath away.

 

付之一炬
Because of a blast, that new house just committed to the flames.

 

生龙活虎
alive and kicking:Nessie says it is alive and kicking under different names By Sussy.

 

仗势欺人
John always pulls rank on others.

 

白手起家
started from scratch:He is a successful business who started from scratch.

 

任劳任怨
to bear hardship without complaint  
 
 
自作自受
As you make your bed so you must lie on it.

 

自讨苦吃
to make a rod for one's own back

 

自力更生
to shift for oneself

 

自扫门前雪
After us the deluge.

 

回头浪子
the return of a prodigal son

 

先下手为强
Offence is the best defence.

 

同甘共苦
to share one's joys and sorrows

 

因地制宜
act according to circumstances

 

有勇无谋
more brave than wise

 

有备无患
Good watch prevents misfortune.  
 
有志者事竟成
Where there is a will, there is a way.

 

有钱能使鬼推磨
Money makes the world go around. /Money talks.

 

有其父必有其子
Like father, like son.

 

江山易改本性难移
a fox may grow gray, but never good(The leopard cannot change his spots;you cannot make a crab walk straight)

 

三岁看老
The child is father of the man.

 

百无一失
Not a single miss in a hundred times.

 

百依百顺
She expects us to jump through hoops for her.

 

眼见为实
To see is to believe. (Seeing is believing.)

 

吃得苦中苦,方为人上人
If you wish to be the best man, you must be prepared to suffer the bitterest of the bitter.

 

每人一生中皆有得意之日
Every dog has its day.  
 
色是假,美是空
Charm is deceitful, and beauty empty.

 

吉人自有天相
The good are protected by Heaven. / All's well that ends well.

 

如愿以偿
get one's way with someone or something:The mayor finally got his way with the city council. (all turn out;have one's wish fulfilled;favorableness)

 

如人饮水冷暖自知
Only the wearer knows where the shoes pain.

 

知足者富
He who feels contented is rich. 

 

早起的鸟儿有虫吃
The early bird catches the worm.

 

奇装异服
a fantastic garb

 

忠言逆耳
Honest advice is unpleasant to the ear

 

明辨是非
to distinguish right from wrong

 

知足常乐
Happy is he who is content
 
知人知面不知心
It's easy to know men's faces, but not their hearts.

 

知己知彼百战百胜
Know your enemy and know yourself.

 

空中楼阁
castles in the air

 

金科玉律
the gold rule

 

奇装异服

 

明辨事非
to distinguish right from wrong

 

雨后春笋
like bamboo shoots after a spring shower

 

雨过天青
After a storm comes a calm.

 

秀才不出门能知天下事
A scholar does not step outside his gate, yet he knows the happenings under the sun.

 

事实胜于雄辩
Facts are most convincing.  
 
 
以毒攻毒
to set a thief to catch a thief

 

以怨报德
He is a person who bites the hand that feeds one.

 

以逸待劳
To wait at ease till the enemy is exhausted.

 

以寡敌众
to fight against longer odds

 

以德报怨
I think it is better for you to render/return good for evil .

 

以其人之道还治其人之身
to pay somebody (back) in his own coin 

 

以子之矛,攻子之盾
to turn a person's battery against himself

 

以柔克刚
Willows are weak yet they bind other wood. (Soft and fair goes far.)

 

以和为贵
A bad compromise is better than a good lawsuit.

 

以卵击石
What you do is throw a straw against the wind. (run one's head against a stone wall; Whether the pitcher strikes the stone or the stone strikes the pitcher, it is bad for the pitcher.)  
 
万物之灵
thelords of creation

 

万事开头难
Everything is difficult at the start

 

万无一失
not a single miss in a thousand times.

 

落井下石
to hit a person when he's down

 

隔墙有耳
Pitchers have ears; walls have ears.

 

开夜车/挑灯夜战
Burn the midnight oil.

 

开诚布公
He always opens his heart to his spouse when he has a problem.

 

盗亦有道
Dog does not eat dog.

 

善有善报
One kindness is the price of another.

 

损人利己
to enrich oneself at others expense  
 (沪江英语)

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