Some things are meant to be in Chinese

The Chinese often talk about a predestined relationship, which they call (yuán). This character looks somewhat similar to 绿 (lǜ green). Make sure you do not confuse these two characters.

Notice the “silk” radical on the left side of (yuán)? People come and go in your life. Perhaps there is an invisible silk thread that ties you to those who stay around most of the time, such as your family members, your friends, your classmates, your colleagues, and so on.

In the same sense, many things that happen are linked to a reason or a cause, i.e. 缘故 (yuángù) or 缘由 (yuányóu).

不知什么缘故, 我就是迷恋他.
Bùzhī shénme yuángù, wǒ jiùshì míliàn tā.
Not sure why, but I’m simply infatuated with him.

她无缘无故哭了起来.
Tā wúyuánwúgù kū le qǐlái.
For no reason, she started to cry.

(yuán) also menas the edge, the brink, or to move along such a boundary, or 边缘 (biānyuán).

缘木求鱼 (yuánmùqiúyú) means to climb a tree to catch fish, or to take a useless approach.

缘分 (yuánfèn) is the element of destiny that associates a person with other people or things.

结缘 (jiéyuán) means to form a tie with or become associated with someone or something. On the other hand, 绝缘 (juéyuán) means to sever tie with someone. This word also means insulation or to insulate. 无缘 (wúyuán) means having no chance for, or no possibility of, connecting with someone or something.

我和政治无缘.
Wǒ hé zhèngzhì wúyuán.
I’m not into politics.

By substituting 金钱 (jīnqián money) for 政治 (zhèngzhì) in the above sentence, you’ll have a more interesting way of saying, “I’m never going to get rich.”

In “The Butterfly Lovers”, reference is made to the popular Chinese saying:

有缘千里来相会;
Yǒuyuán qiānlǐ lái xiàng huì,
If predestined, people will come from afar to meet each other;

无缘对面不相识.
Wúyuán duìmiàn bù xiāngshí.
If not meant to be, they won’t get acquainted even when placed together face to face.

注定 (zhùdìng) means destined.

有些事是天注定的.
Yǒuxiē shì shì tiān zhùdìng de.
Some things are meant to be.
(Some things are predetermined by the heavens.)

The fate that brings lovers together into a marriage is called 姻缘 (yīnyuán). It is pronounced the same as 因缘 (yīnyuán), which is the cause or reason that predetermines a certain outcome.

血缘 (xuèyuán) is blood relationship.

他和我没有血缘关系.
Tā hé wǒ méiyǒu xuèyuán guānxi.
He and I are not related by blood.

A sociable person attracts other people like a magnet. He or she is said to have 人缘 (rényuán), i.e. the ability to connect with other people.

露露的人缘很好.
Lùlù de rényuán hěn hǎo.
Lulu is very sociable (popular).

If you would like to meet someone, will you wait for fate to make the connection, or will you take a step forward yourself? A date is called 约会 (yuēhui) in Chinese.

我约了她周末一同去看电影.
Wǒ yuē le tā zhōumò yītóng qù kàn diànyǐng.
I asked her out to watch a movie with me this weekend.

The fact that you are learning Chinese probably indicates that you have some 缘分 (yuánfèn) with the Chinese language. However, it was you who made up your mind to study Chinese, and it is your own determination that will drive you through the process to achieve your goal step by step.

“Not yet” in formal Chinese

Like (bú), (wèi) is an adverb that confers opposite meaning to the ensuing word. Whereas (bú) means “not”, “not to”, or “not willing to”, (wèi) means “not yet”, “have not” or “did not”, and concerns the incomplete state of an action. (wèi) is a formal way of saying 还没有 (hái méiyǒu) or 还没 (hái méi).

未知 (wèizhī) means unknown. In mathematics, the unknown quantity is called the 未知数(wèizhīshù). This term is also used in common parlance to refer to something unknown and out of one’s control.

他的政治前途还是一个未知数.
Tā de zhèngzh qiántú háishìyīgè wèizhīshù.
The future of his political career is still uncertain.

闻所未闻( wénsuǒwèiwén) is a formal phrase that means “unheard-of”. It’s interesting that, as a verb, (wén) means both to hear and to smell. In everyday speech, we use (wén) for smelling, and (tīng) for hearing. Therefore, the casual way to say “never heard of” is: 没听说过(Méi tīngshuō guò).

前所未有 (qiánsuǒwèiyǒu) is a formal phrase that means “unprecedented”. The casual way to say this is: 从来没有过(cónglái méiyǒu guò).

结婚(jiéhūn) means to get married. 已婚(yǐhūn) means being already married. 未婚(wèihūn) means not yet married, or single.

丈夫(zhàngfū) is a husband, and 妻子(qīzi) is a wife. 夫妻(fūqī) means husband and wife. Therefore, being not yet married, the fiancé is called 未婚夫(wèihūnfū), and the fianceé is called 未婚妻(wèihūnqī).

未来(wèilái) means the future, or in the future.

成年(chéngnián) is being grown-up. 成年人(chéngniánrén) refers to an adult. So, 未成年(wèichéngnián) means underaged.

未老先衰(wèilǎoxiānshuāi) is a phrase used to describe a person who seems to be prematurely senile and weak.

未免(wèimiǎn) is a commonly used adverb that means “rather” or “a bit too”.

你这样做, 未免太过分了.
Nǐ zhèyàng zuò, wèimiǎn tài guòfèn le.
What you did was a bit too much (inappropriate or unkind).

未必 (wèibì) means “not necessarily”.

这样做, 未必可行.
Zhèyàng zuò, wèibì kěxíng.
Doing it this way may not necessarily work.

(mèi), having the sun obscured by the (wèi) character, connotes haziness or concealment. It’s pronounced the same as the character for a younger sister, (mèi).

昧着良心(mèi zhe liángxīn) or 昧心(mèixīn) refers to doing something unscrupulously, or against one’s conscience.

冒昧(màomèi) is being impudent or taking the liberty to do something that may inconvenience someone else.

愚昧(yúmèi) is a word for describing someone as being foolish and ignorant.

暧昧(àimèi) means ambiguous, dubious or shady.

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