Chinese idioms containing the flower character

Camellia Blossoms

Camellia Blossoms

It’s the first day of May, or 五月初一 (wǔyuè chū yī).

(chū) means initial, elementary, or for the first time, as in 初级 (chūjí elementary) and 初吻 (chūwěn first kiss). 初次 (chūcì), 首次 (shǒucì) and 第一次 (dìyīcì) all mean “for the first time”.

What joy it is to take a stroll in a garden where all flowers are in bloom. In Chinese, we use 百花齐放 (bǎihuāqífàng) to describe such a lovely scene.

Today we will learn a few commonly used words and idioms that involve the “flower” character, (huā).

The phrase 花枝招展 (huāzhīzhāozhǎn) is often used to describes women who are flamboyantly dressed, like showy flowers and foliage.

Wáng xiǎojie chuān de huāzhīzhāozhǎn.
Miss Wang is dressed to the nineth.

花花绿绿 (huā​huā​lǜ​lǜ) means colorful and showy.

花花世界 (huāhuāshìjiè) refers to the sensuous world.

花花公子 (huāhuāgōngzǐ) is a dude or a dandy.

花天酒地 (huātiānjiǔdì) describes the ways of people who indulge in wine and women, leading a life of decadence.

花言巧语 (huāyánqiǎoyǔ) are sweet, flowery words (said with an ulterior motive in mind).

天花乱坠(tiānhuāluànzhuì) is a phrase used to describe an extravagantly colorful description that can be likened to a shower of flowers from heaven. Please note that in medicine 天花 (tiānhuā) means measles.

眼花缭乱 (yǎnhuāliáoluàn) means to be dazzled and bewildered.

那儿的商品五花八门, 看得我眼花缭乱.
Nàr de shāngpǐn wǔhuābāmén, kàn de wǒ yǎnhuāliáoluàn.
The multifarious merchandise there bedazzled me not a little.

绣花 (xiùhuā) is to embroider. This word is also used as an adjective to characterize embroidered articles. For example, 绣花枕头 (xiùhuāzhěntóu) is an embroidered pillow.This term is often used as a pejorative, implying that a person looks handsome on the outside but is worthless inside.

明日 (míngrì) is the same as 明天 (míngtiān tomorrow). 明日黄花 (míngrìhuánghuā) are flowers past their prime. This is an expression used to refer to things that are stale and no longer of interest, such as older women who are no longer attractive.

(huā) as a verb means to spend or to expend.

花钱 (huāqián) is to spend money.

Nǐ jīntiān huā le bùshǎo qián ba?
You spent quite a bit of money today, didn’t you?

心血 (xīnxuè) means toil and efforts or painstaking care.

Tā huā le xǔduō xīnxuè jiàodǎo lóngyǎ xuésheng.
He put in a lot of time and effort teaching hearing and speech impaired students.

叫花子 (jiàohuāzi) is an informal word for beggars. The formal word is 乞丐 (qǐgài beggar).

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anthony Bogadek
    May 01, 2013 @ 12:47:15

    Dear Miss Lin,
    Thanks for the great lesson.
    One small pinyin spelling to point out: in (huāhuālùlù) the dots are missing on the (lu) parts: should be huā​huā​lǜ​lǜ.
    All the best,
    Anthony B.


  2. peter xu
    May 20, 2013 @ 15:10:20

    We also provide online Chinese learning books and courses. They are different kind of learning books from those traditional learning books. Please check out our site at Your suggestion and feedback are much appreciated.


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