Blackberry in Chinese



As the picture on this page shows, I’m not talking about a PDA device but rather the edible blackberry, 黑莓 (hēi méi), which is now in season here. The summer air is filled with the sweet aroma of the luscious berries that are waiting to be picked and popped into the mouth. If one is not careful, one will pay the price of being pricked or scratched by the thorny brier.

As we have discussed previously, (cì) means a thorn. As a verb, it means to pierce or poke into something.

Wǒ de hēi méi cì le.
My thumb got jabbed.

The sting of a bee or a wasp is called 蜂刺 (fēngcì). Fishbones are called 鱼刺 (yúcì). Not surprisingly, a hedgehog is called 刺猬 (cìwèi).

刺痛 (cìtòng) means a tingle. As a verb it means to hurt by stabbing with a small pointed object like a needle.

Other things can sting without making physical contact with you.

Ear-piercing sounds or harsh words may be described as 刺耳 (cìěr grating on the ear). And things that are offending to the eye are said to be 刺眼 (cìyǎn) or 不顺眼 (bù shùnyǎn).

Tā shuō de huà jù jù cìěr.
Every sentence he uttered grated on my ear.

As an exercise, try making a sentence in Chinese that translates to: “His words stabbed my heart.”

A biting wind is often described as 刺骨 (cìgǔ piercing to the bones).

刺激 (cìjī) means to stimulate, to provoke or to upset.

Bùyào zài cìjī tā le.
Stop irritating him.

You may wonder why in the above sentence there is not a Chinese word for stopping. In Chinese, instead of asking someone to stop doing something, you would normally just request that someone to not continue the action. Therefore, this is how you would ask someone to stop weeping:

Bùyào zài kū le.

刺杀 (cìshā) means to assassinate. The assassin is called 刺客 (cìkè).

刺绣 (cìxiù) is to embroider using a needle with a sharp point. As a noun, it refers to an embroidered article, which is also called 刺绣品 (cìxiùpǐn).

As (cì) means to pierce or to poke, it makes sense that making roundabout or secret inquiries is referred to as 刺探 (cìtàn). And it also makes sense that 讽刺 (fěngcì to mock or satirize) also contains the (cì) character.

Now, take a look at the character (là). If you look closely, you will see it is slightly different from (cì) – the little rectangle is closed off and does not have spikes poking down.

(là) means obstinate, pompous or disrespectful, as in 大剌剌 (dà là là with a swagger).

A word that sounds like (là) but is much more commonly used is

(là), or 辛辣 (xīnlà), means spicy hot, pungent, biting or ruthless.

辣椒 (làjiāo) are hot peppers, and 辣酱 (làjiàng) is a hot chili sauce or a hot chili paste.

A woman who is unreasonable, shrewish and attacks people with pungent words would be described as 潑辣 (pōlà).

Tā de qīzi shì gè pōlà de nǚrén
His wife is a shrew.

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).

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