Súyǔ: A few fun Chinese expressions about relationships
Following on from our post about dating expressions a few weeks back, here are a few more funny Chinese phrases about relationships for you…A lot of them seem to be animal-related, particularly about different animals eating grass!
1. 一个萝卜一个坑 (yí ge luóbo yí ge kēng) “One radish, one hole”
This phrase can be used to mean that there is someone out there for everyone/ a good match for everyone, no matter what they are like.
Another meaning of this phrase is that there is a place for everyone in society and that nobody is dispensable.
This fits in with another radish-related phrase 萝卜白菜各有所爱(luóbo báicài gè yǒu suǒ ài) which means that “everyone has their own preferences”. This can also used be used to mean that not everyone has the same criteria when looking for a partner.
Xi Shi lived during the Spring and Autumns period and was one of the 4 famous great beauties of ancient China. This phrase, therefore, means that everyone thinks his/her own partner is as beautiful as Xi Shi, regardless of how they may appear to other people.
3. 好马不吃回头草 (hǎomǎ bù chī huítóucǎo) “Good horses don’t go back to graze on grass they have already eaten”
This phrase can be used to mean that if you respect yourself, you will not go back to former partners.
It can also be used to mean that someone will not go back to a former employer once they have worked elsewhere.
4. 兔子不吃窝边草(tùzi bù chī wō biān cǎo) “Rabbits do not eat the grass near their nests”
This phrase can be used to mean that people shouldn’t start relationships with people who are too close to them e.g. colleagues, neighbors etc.
Another usage of this phrase is that even bad people will be good to those who are close to them (family, neighbors etc).
5. 老牛吃嫩草 (lǎo niú chī nèncǎo) “An old cow eats fresh grass”
This one is slightly more obvious – used if a noticeably older person starts a relationship with someone much younger than him/her.
6. 一朵鲜花插在牛粪 (yì duǒ xiānhuā chā zài niúfèn) “A beautiful flower sticking out of cow dung”
This is used to describe a situation where one partner is more attractive than the other.
7. 他/她红杏出墙了 (tā hóngxìng chū qiáng) “His/her red apricots have grown beyond the wall” (just the literal translation)
This is used to show that someone is having an affair. Other ways to say this include: 她/他有外遇了(tā/ tā yǒu wàiyù le), 他们之间有第三者了 (tāmen zhījiān yǒu dìsānzhě le) “there is a 3rd person between them”.
If you can think of any more of your own, then share them with us below…If you have any questions about your Chinese learning, then please get in touch with the Chinese School online team! Sign up for your free trial Chinese class on our website today!