Learn Chinese word radical – Mountain

If you stack a hill, (qiū), on top of a mountain, (shān), the result is a high mountain, (yuè). The father of one’s wife is called 岳父 (yuèfù) or 丈人 (zhàngrén). Correspondingly, the mother of one’s wife is called 岳母 (yuèmǔ) or 丈母 (zhàngmǔ).

(yuè) is also the surname of an ancient Chinese general, 岳飞 (Yuè Fēi), who was regarded as a symbol for loyalty to one’s country. Why, on his back were tattooed these characters: 尽忠报国 (jìn zhōng bàoguó). (jìn) means to exhaust, being exhausted, or to do something to the limit. (zhōng) means loyalty, or being loyal and trustworthy. It’s a popular character in Chinese names for men. 报国 (bàoguó) is to devote oneself to serving one’s country. There will be hope for world peace if we apply such dedication and fervor to participation in constructive projects for our own country rather than to acts of harming people in other countries.

Chinese folklore and kung fu stories often tell of immortal beings or wizards who live as hermits in remote high mountains. A 仙人 (xiānrén) is usually depicted as a kindly old man with a balding head and a long white beard and dressed in a long white robe. On the other hand, his female counterpart, a 仙女 (xiānnǚ), is the Chinese equivalent of a beautiful young fairy. Records show that many a party were dispatched by ancient Chinese emperors to foreign lands in search for the elixir of life, which is referred to as 仙丹 (xiāndān). The most well-known story is about Xu Fu and the boys and girls he took along on such a journey.

(chà) means to branch off or to turn off. It appropriately contains the character (fēn to divide). 打岔 (dǎchà) means to interrupt a conversation. 出岔子 (chūchàzi) is for something to go wrong.

Qǐng bùyào dǎchà.
Please do not interrupt.

小心去做. 不要出岔子.
Xiǎoxīn qù zuò. Bùyào chūchàzi.
Go about it with care. Don’t bungle up.

(yán) is a cliff, while 岩石 (yánshí) is a general term for large rocks.

(tàn) is coal mined from mountains.

(xiá) is a gorge. 海峡 (hǎixiá) is a strait.

(yá) is a cliff. 悬崖 (xuányá) is a steep cliff. 悬崖勒马 (xuányálèmǎ) is a common idiom used to describe how one is able to avert danger at the last moment as with reining in one’s horse at the brink of a precipice.

A rugged mountain that is high and steep can be described as being 峻峭 (jùnqiào). Its homonym, 俊俏 (jùnqiào), written with the “person” radical, is what you would use to describe someone with handsome physical features.

Wǒ xīnshǎng tā jùnqiào de bízi.
I admire her handsome nose.

(àn) is a shore. 靠岸(kàoàn) is a verb that means to pull in to shore.

Chuán kàoàn le méiyǒu?
Has the boat pulled in yet?

崇高 (chónggāo) means high or sublime. Now you see why 崇拜 (chóngbài worship) contains the character (chóng lofty, high).

Take care not to mix up (chóng lofty, high) and (suì evil spirit).

鬼祟 (guǐsuì) means clandestine or surreptitious. It’s often used in the form 鬼鬼祟祟 (guǐguǐsuìsuì).

他鬼鬼祟祟的作风, 令人怀疑.
Tā guǐguǐsuìsuì de zuòfēng, lìngrén huáiyí.
His clandestine ways arouse suspicion.

How to say “making a mountain out of a molehill” in Chinese?


山 (shān) Mountains

The Chinese character for a mountain is (shān). It is quite easy to memorize if you visualize the three vertical strokes as three mountain peaks. (qiū) is the Chinese word for a mound or a small hill. However, the Chinese equivalent of the idiom “making a mountain out of a molehill” involves neither the mountain nor the hill.

Nǐ bùyào xiǎotídàzuò.
Don’t make a big deal out of nothing.

Nevertheless, to the Chinese, mountains do signify weight and importance. 泰山(Tàishān) is a well-known mountain in China. In older times, one would refer to one’s father-in-law as 泰山(tàishān).

靠山(kàoshān) is a patron or a backer, where (kào) means to lean on, to depend on or to be nearby.

The Chinese word for camellia is 山茶(shānchá), although this plant is not related to the tea plant used for beverage.

Goats are called 山羊(shānyáng), and leopard cats are called 山貓(shānmāo).

山村(shāncūn) is a mountain village. 山地(shāndì) is a mountainous territory. There’s where you might hear people sing 山歌(shāngē folk songs).

We already know that 山谷(shāngǔ) is a valley. The foot of a hill is called 山腳(shānjǎo). 山坡(shānpō) is the hillside. 山洞 (shāndòng) is a cave. 山頂(shāndǐng) is the top of a mountain. It’s not fun when there is a landslide, or 山崩(shānbēng).

Shānmāo duǒ zài shāndòng lǐ.
The leopard cat is hiding in the cave.

山水(shānshuǐ) refers to a scenery consisting of mountains and rivers. A landscape painting is called 山水畫(huà).

(jiāng) is a river. It is also a common surname. 江山(jiāngshān) can be construed as a landscape, but often this term is used to refer to the country encompassing the geographic features, or to the power of ruling over the land.

These two are straightforward: 火山(huǒshān) is a volcano, and 冰山(bīngshān) is an iceberg.

A solemn pledge of undying love is called 山盟海誓(shānménghǎishì) or 海誓山盟(hǎishìshānméng). The idea is that one’s love would last forever like the mountains and the seas.

Confucius once said:

智者樂水, 仁者樂山.
Zhì zhě yào shuǐ, rén zhě yào shān.
The wise take to the waters; the benevolent take to the mountains.

In this ancient statement, is pronounced as “yào” and means to enjoy or to delight in. As water is associated with movement, fluidity and liveliness, it fittingly represents intelligence and wisdom. On the other hand, mountains are envisioned as stable and calm. They have become a symbol for kindness, tolerance and stability.

What Confucius meant was “to each his own”, or 人各有志 (rén gè yǒu zhì), but when I first heard of this saying as a child, I seriously tried to figure out which of these two types of people I belonged to. So, which do you like better, hills and mountains or rivers and oceans?

It will be Earth Day next Monday. As we look around at our beautiful surroundings, let’s think about what each of us can do to help protect and preserve our planet.

环境 (huánjìng) is the environment or the surroundings. 保护(bǎohù) means to protect. Therefore, environmental protection is 環境保护 (huánjìng bǎohù), or 環保 (huán bǎo) for short.

不要怕; 有我保护你.
Bùyào pà; yǒu wǒ bǎohù nǐ.
Don’t be afraid; I’m here to protect you.

Good Feelings in Chinese

含苞待放 (hánbāo dài fàng) Waiting to bloom

含苞待放 (hánbāo dài fàng) Camellia buds waiting to bloom

From the many holiday wishes that we have come across at this blog site, you already know that 快乐 (kuàilè happy) and 愉快 (yúkuài joyful, cheerful) are happy feelings. Another common expression for feeling happy is 开心 (kāixīn).

明天詹姆士要来看我, 真开心.
Míngtiān Zhānmǔshì yào lái kàn wǒ, zhēn kāixīn.
James is coming to see me tomorrow; I’m so delighted.

有好感 (yǒu hǎogǎn) means to have a favorable impression or opinion of someone. 欣赏 (xīnshǎng) is to appreciate or admire someone. You would also use this word for appreciation of art or music.

Wǒ xīnshǎng tā de cáinéng.
I admire her talents and abilities.

佩服 (pèifú) means to admire someone’s abilities or good qualities. 敬佩 (jìngpèi) is to admire and hold in high esteem. Same with 仰慕 (yǎngmù). The word means to look up to. At the highest level is 崇拜 (chóngbài), which means to adore or worship.

Wǒ pèifú nǐ de yǒngqì.
I admire your courage.

兴致 (xìngzhì) is the mood for enjoying something.

今天爷爷兴致大, 多玩了几圈麻将.
Jīntiān yéye xìngzhì dà, duō wán le jǐquān májiàng.
Grandpa was in a good mood today and played a few extra rounds of mahjong.

兴奋 (xīngfèn) means to be excited about something, usually in a happy sense.

得意 (déyì) means to be pleased with oneself, or to have things going one’s way.

他升了两级, 得意洋洋.
Tā shēng le liǎng jí, deyìyángyáng.
He went up two ranks and was elated.

自豪 (zìháo) means to be proud of oneself.

Zhè shì tā yǐn yǐ zìháo de yīpiān wénzhāng.
This is an article of his that he is proud of.

中意 (zhòngyì) and 合意 (héyì) both mean “to one’s liking”, while 满意 (mǎnyì) means to be pleased or satisfied.

轻松 (qīngsōng) means to feel relaxed. 轻松的心情 (qīngsōng de xīnqíng) is a relaxed mood. 轻松的工作 (qīngsōng de gōngzuò) means a light task or an easy job.

自在 (zìzai) means to feel at ease and comfortable with one’s surroundings.

放心 (fàngxīn) means to be relieved of concerns or worries.

你放心, 我不会告诉他.
Nǐ fàngxīn, wǒ bùhuì gàosù tā.
Rest assured, I won’t tell him.

安心 (ānxīn) means to have peace of mind and not feel troubled.

Nǐ ānxīn shuì ba.
Don’t worry; sleep well.

幸福 (xìngfú) means one’s well-being, or a feeling of being favored by good fortune.

Zhù nǐmen yǒngyuǎn xìngfú.
Hope you will always be happy.

Finally, happy is the heart that is filled with hope, or 希望 (xīwàng). Hope confers additional pupose to life. Like a bud waiting to blossom, or 含苞待放 (hánbāo dài fàng), hope gives us something to look forward to.

Wǒ xīn zhōng chōngmǎn xīwàng.
My heart is filled with hope.

Chinese Idioms Containing Similes

Bright and Beautiful

Bright and Beautiful – Picture a tiny hummingbird weaving among the blossoms and twigs. It was there moments before I snapped the photo.

In the “Lift Your Veil” song discussed in “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes“, the eyebrows of a pretty girl are likened to a crescent moon, her eyes to shiny pearls, her cute little mouth to cherries, and her sunny face to a tree-ripened apple. When we say that something is like something else, we are employing a figure of speech called a “simile”.

We have learned that a mule is considered dumb, as in 笨得像只骡 (bèn de xiàng zhī luó.) As pigs are not put to work and seem to do nothing but eat and sleep, they are the symbol of laziness. 懒得像只豬 (lǎn de xiàng zhī zhū) As for the symbol of slowness, both East and West agree that the snail is it – 慢得像只蜗牛 (màn de xiàng zhī wōniú).

急得像热锅上的蚂蚁 (jí de xiàng règuōshàngdèmǎyǐ) means to be anxious as ants on a hot wok.

美得像仙女下凡 (měi de xiàng xiānnǚ xiàfán) means to be beautiful as a fairy descended to the mundane world. The classical four-character equivalent is 美如天仙 (měi rú tiānxiān).

Classical Chinese similes make use of (rú to be like), (ruò to resemble), and (sì to be similar to). Following are a few common examples.

胆小如鼠 (dǎnxiǎo rú shǔ) means timid as a mouse, or cowardly. 如龙似虎 (rúlóngsìhǔ) means to be as ferocious as dragons and tigers.

呆若木鸡 (dāiruòmùjī) means to be dumbstruck or stunned, like a chicken made of wood.

如花似锦 (rúhuāsìjǐn) means to be beautiful and bright like flowers and silk brocade.

他放弃了如花似锦的前途, 出家去了.
Tā fàngqì le rúhuāsìjǐn de qiántú, chūjiā qù le.
He abandoned his bright and promising future to become a monk.

出家 (chūjiā) specifically means to become a monk rather than just leaving one’s home.

归心似箭 (guīxīnsìjiàn) means to be eager to speed home.

父亲病重, 我归心似箭.
Fùqin bìng zhòng, wǒ guīxīnsìjiàn.
My father is very ill; I can’t wait to get back home.

口若悬河 (kǒuruòxuánhé) means to be eloquent and voluble as a overflowing river.

他口若悬河, 讲了一个多钟头.
Tā kǒuruòxuánhé, jiǎng le yī gè duō zhōngtóu.
He talked eloquently for over one hour.

如临大敌 (rúlíndàdí) means to be anxious and tense as if faced with formidable enemy.

期考快到了; 我们加紧复习, 如临大敌.
Qīkǎo kuài dào le; wǒmén jiājǐn fùxí, rúlíndàdí.
The final exam is coming; we step up our review studies as if gearing up to face a major foe.

骨瘦如柴 (gǔshòurúchái) means thin as a stick of firewood, or thin as a rail.

看他骨瘦如柴, 真令人担心.
Kàn tā gǔshòurúchái, zhēn lìngrén dānxīn.
Looking at his thin frame, it really makes one worry.

如坐针毡 (rúzuòzhēnzhān) decribes an uneasy feeling akin to sitting on a bed of pins and needles.

他没责怪我, 但我如坐针毡.
Tā méi zéguài wǒ, dàn wǒ rúzuòzhēnzhān.
He did not blame me, but I felt ill at ease.

心乱如麻 (xīnluànrúmá) decribes how one is disconcerted like a tangled skein of flax.

我心乱如麻, 不知该怎么办才好.
Wǒ xīnluànrúmá, bùzhī gāi zěnme bàn cái hǎo.
My mind is in such a tangle I don’t know what to do.

心如刀割 (xīnrúdāogē) is to feel as if a knife were piercing one’s heart.

听了这话, 她心如刀割.
Tīng le zhè huà, tā xīnrúdāogē.
After hearing these words, she felt as if a knife were piercing her heart.

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