We know that being polite helps us get along with strangers as well as acquaintances. In particular, when we have a visiting guest, or 客人 (kèrén), we would be extra courteous and try to make them feel comfortable.
客气 (kèqi) means being polite, courteous or modest. On the other hand, depending on the situation, 不客气 (bùkèqi) could mean impolite, rude, or “Don’t mention it.”
好客 (hàokè) describes one who is gregarious and loves to entertain guests. Notice that, in this word, 好 (hào) is pronounced in the fourth tone and means “to love to”. 做客 (zuòkè) means to be a guest.
Wáng xiānsheng hàokè. Tā shícháng zài jiā liqǐngkè.
客房 (kèfáng) is a guest room, whereas 客厅 (kètīng) is a living room or parlor.
The passengers on a bus, a train or an airplane are also referred to as 客 (kè). So,
客车 (kèchē) is a bus or a passenger train, 客机 (kèjī) is an airliner, and 乘客 (chéngkè) are the passengers.
顾客 (gùkè) are customers or shoppers. 政客 (zhèngkè) are politicians.
Understandably 客观 (kèguān) means looking at things in an objective way.
客套 (kètào) are civilities. 客套话 (kètào huà) is the polite platitude exchanged among guests. This often includes some compliments or flattery called 恭维 (gōngwéi a compliment; to flatter).
Sometimes the compliments we give or receive may be insincere. 虚伪 (xūwěi) and 虚假 (xūjiǎ) both mean being false or hypocritical. This word can also be used as a noun that means pretense or hypocrisy.
Wǒ bù xǐhuān tā de xūwěi zuòzuò.
I don’t like her insincere and affected ways.
Wǒ kànchuān le tā de xūqíngjiǎyì.
I have seen through his false display of affection.
虚 (xū) means empty, false, nominal or physically weak. 虚无 (xūwú) is nothingness.
空虚 (kōngxū) means hollow or empty. 心里的空虚 (xīn li de kōngxū) means the emptiness in one’s heart.
心虚 (xīnxū) means lacking self confidence or having a guilty conscience and afraid of being found out. A commonly used Chinese idiom describing the latter condition is 做贼心虚 (zuòzéixīnxū). A thief is apt to have an uneasy feeling and fears being found out.
On the other hand, 虚心 (xūxīn) means being open-minded or modest.
Wǒ huì xūxīn di xiàng tā xuéxí.
I will learn from him with humility.
谦虚 (qiānxū) also means being modest. 谦虚的话 (qiānxū de huà) are self-effacing remarks.
虚荣 (xūróng) is vanity.
虚弱 (xūruò) means weak and feeble because of poor health.
假 (xūjiǎ) and 伪 (wěi) mean false or fake.
伪造 (wěizào) means to forge or fabricate.
伪君子 (wěijūnzǐ) is a hypocrite.
How to 辨别真伪 (biànbié zhēn wěi), i.e. tell the true from the false? It definitely requires a keen mind’s eye.