Learn Chinese word radical – Horse

You already know that (mā) (ma) contain the “horse” radical. There are quite a few other characters that also do.

Last week we saw how a crow was cheated out of a piece of meat by a sly fox. (piàn) is to deceive or cheat someone. 哄骗 (hǒngpiàn) and 欺骗 (qīpiàn) also mean to to deceive or dupe someone. 哄骗 (hǒngpiàn) leans on the side of coaxing or humoring someone, while 欺骗 (qīpiàn) is not well-intended. 蒙骗 (mēngpiàn) is to hoodwink or to deceive. 骗子 (piànzi) is a swindler or trickster.

你别骗我.
Nǐ bié piàn wǒ.
Don’t’ lie to me. (Don’t try to fool me.)

那个推销员是个骗子.
Nàge tuīxiāo yuán shì gè piànzi.
That salesperson is a crook.

我被他骗走了一百块钱.
Wǒ bèi tā piàn zǒu le yī bǎi kuài qián.
I was cheated out of a $100 by him.

Understandably a number of words pertaining to riding or driving assume the horse radical.

(chí) is to gallop or speed forward.

(jià) is to harness a horse, drive a car, sail a boat or fly a plane. (shǐ) has the same meaning. These two words usually go together – 驾驶 (jiàshǐ).

驱驶 (qūshǐ) also means to drive, but usually in the sense of pushing someone to do something.

(yù), or 驾驭 (jiàyù), is to drive a carriage. 驾驭 (jiàyù) also means to control.

(qí) is to ride an animal, such as a horse, or to ride a bicycle.

我想骑脚踏车横跨美国.
Wǒ xiǎng qí jiǎotàchē héngkuà Měiguó.
I’d like to ride my bike across the United States.

(zhù) is to make a stop or to be stationed at a place. So, 驻美代表 (zhù Měi dàibiǎo) means a delegate stationed in the USA.

(tuó) is to carry on the back, usually said of an animal of burden.

(zǎo) are fleas. With a flea on a horse, (sāo) means disturbed, upset or coquettish.

(bó) means to refute or to contradict as a horse might refuse to obey orders. It is often used in 反驳 (fǎnbó to retort, or a retort).

(mà) is to scold or to condemn. Poor horse, with two mouths shouting at it.

他骂我粗心.
Tā mà wǒ cūxīn.
He scolds me for being careless.

骆驼 (luòtuo) is a camel. (luó) is a mule. (lǘ) is a donkey. I just realized there is a fun song for each of these animals in “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes“.

I fail to see how an ant is related to a horse, but here you have it, 蚂蚁 (mǎyǐ ants). 热锅上的蚂蚁 (règuōshàngdèmǎyǐ) translates to “ants on a hot pan”. This expression describes a state of intense anxiety.

他急得像热锅上的蚂蚁.
He is anxious and jittery like ants on a hot pan.
Tā jí de xiàng règuōshàngdèmǎyǐ.

Learn Chinese word radical – Rain

Snow 雪 (xuě)

Snow 雪 (xuě)

We have discussed the Chinese character for rain, (yǔ), a few times before. This character, featuring four drops of water, also serves as a word radical that is employed in words involving precipitation or moisture in the air. As you know, one advantage of being able to recognizing a word radical is that you will only need to learn the remaining part in a new word.

As with many other natural elements, the words containing the rain radical are often used in phrases associated with human nature.

We will start with a simple character, (xuě snow).

你会滑雪吗?
Nǐ huì huáxuě ma?
Do you know how to ski?

(xuě) is also used as a verb in the idiom 报仇雪耻 (bàochóuxuěchǐ), which means to take revenge and wipe out a humiliation.

(tàn) is charcoal. (sòng) means to give or to deliver. The idiom 雪中送炭 (xuězhōngsòngtàn providing charcoal in snowy weather) means to offer needed help and be “a friend indeed”.

(shuāng) is frost. 雪上加霜 (xuěshàngjiāshuāng), means to have frost added on top of snow, to have one disaster after another, or to add insult to injury.

(bīng) is ice. 冰雹 (bīngbáo) are hailstones. Some one who is really aloof might be described as being icy. The following comment is often bestowed on strikingly beautiful women who give their admirers the cold shoulder.

艳若桃李, 冷若冰霜.
Yàn ruò táo lǐ, lěng ruò bīng shuāng.
Gorgeous as peach and plum blossoms, but cold as ice and frost.

(léi) is thunder, which often strikes a field when it rains. 地雷 (dìléi) are land mines.

雷声大,雨点小. (léishēngdà,yǔdiǎnxiǎo) literally translates to “loud thunder but tiny raindrops”. This idiom implies that much is proclaimed but followed by little action.

暴跳如雷 (bàotiàorúléi) and 大发雷霆 (dàfāléitíng) both mean flying into a rage.

他听了这话, 暴跳如雷.
Tā tīng le zhè huà, bàotiàorúléi.
After hearing these words, he flew off the handle.

如雷贯耳 (rúléiguàněr) literally translates to “like thunder piercing the ears”, but this idiom is used for complimenting a person on his or her colossal reputation, implying that everyone is praising that person and the clamor fills the ear like thunder.

(lù) as a noun means dew. 雨露 (yǔlù rain and dew) often refers to grace and bounty.

(ní) is the secondary rainbow. What is the primary raindow called in Chinese?

We learned before that 晚霞 (wǎnxiá) is the evening glow at sunset.

(zhèn) means to shake or shock, or to be greatly shocked, as in 震惊 (zhènjīng). 地震 (dìzhèn) is an earthquake.

他听了这消息, 十分震惊.
Tā tīng le zhè xiāoxi, shífēn zhènjīng.
He was shocked to hear this piece of news.

(méi) is mildew. 发霉 (fāméi) is to become moldy.
倒霉 (dǎoméi), on the other hand, means to have bad luck.

今天又碰到他. 倒霉!
Jīntiān yòu pèng dào tā. Dǎoméi!
I ran into him again today. Just my luck!

The proper word for “tough luck” is 倒楣 (dǎoméi). However, 倒霉 (dǎoméi) has been so widely used that it has won legitimacy. Either way you write it, it’s not a happy word.

下雪天, 走路开车都要当心.
Xià xuě tiān, zǒulù kāichē dōu yào dāngxīn,
In snowy weather, walk and drive carefully.

For a short discussion of other weather conditions please see Chapter 22 of “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes“.

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