Directly and indirectly in Chinese

Diameter 直径 (zhíjìng)

Diameter 直径 (zhíjìng)

The opposite of (wān curved or bent) is (zhí), which means straight, directly, straightforward, upright or just.

直接 (zhíjiē) means direct, directly or immediately.

Nǐ kěyǐ zhíjiē hé tā liánluò.
You can contact him directly.

直达 (zhídá) means nonstop. Therefore, 直达车 (zhídá chē) is a bus that will go directly to the destination without making stops on the way.

We have previously (4/9/14) learned that 半径 (bànjìng) is the radius of a circular shape. The diameter is called 直径 (zhíjìng).

直流电 (zhíliúdiàn) is direct current. Alternating current is called 交流电 (jiāoliúdiàn).

直肠 (zhícháng) is the straight section of the large intestine, or rectum. On the other hand, 直肠子 (zhíchángzi) refers to a person who is straightforward and outspoken, or 直爽 (zhíshuǎng).

Tā gèxìng zhíshuǎng.
He is straightforward in personality.

You could also describe such a person by using a four-character Chinese idiom:

Tā xīnzhíkǒukuài.
He is frank and outspoken.

直截了当 (zhíjiéliǎodàng) means straightforward, blunt or pointblank.

Tā zhíjiéliǎodàng shuō tā bù ài tā.
He said pointblank that he did not love her.

As “he” and “she” sound exactly the same in Chinese, it will not be possible to tell whether a man is dumping a woman or a woman is dumping a man if you are not familiar with the situation and just heard someone utter the above sentence.

一直 (yīzhí) means continuously, always or all along.

Tā yīzhí bùtíng de kū.
She kept crying non-stop.

直到 (zhídào) means up until.

我永远爱你, 直到海枯石烂.
Wǒ yǒngyuǎn ài nǐ, zhídào hǎikūshílàn
I will love you forever, until the seas run dry and the rocks are totally eroded.

直觉 (zhíjué) is one’s intuition or gut feeling.

Wǒ de zhíjué shì tā méiyǒu chéngyì.
My gut feeling is that he is not sincere.

正直 (zhèngzhí) means honest, upright and fair.

理直气壮 (lǐzhíqìzhuàng) means acting bold and assured because one has justice on one’s side.

间接 (jiànjiē) means indirect or indirectly.

间隔 (jiàngé) is the interval between two events or the space separating two objects.

房间 (fángjiān) are rooms that are separated from each other by walls.

间断 (jiànduàn) means interrupted or disconnected.

我和他通信多年, 没有间断.
Wǒ hé tā tōngxìn duōnián, méiyǒu jiànduàn.
I corresponded with him for years without interruption.

中间 (zhōngjiān) means in the middle or being between two things or persons. Therefore, a middleman is called 中间人 (zhōngjiānrén), and a spy is called 间谍 (jiàndié).

“Directly” and “directly” are adverbs. You might want to review Chapter 17 of “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes” for the correct placement of an adverb in a sentence.

Sing Chinese Song – Crescent Moon Shines over the Land

There is a Sung Dynasty folk song that starts with these lines:

Yuè er wān wān zhào jiǔzhōu,
The slim crescent moon shines all over the land,

几家欢乐, 几家愁.
Jǐ jiā huānlè, jǐ jiā chóu.
Some families happy and others sad.

九州 (jiǔzhōu) refers to the nine regions of ancient China. This term is still used in songs and poems to refer to China. Please note that 九州 (jiǔzhōu) is also the Chinese word for Kyushu, one of the four main islands of Japan.

Although the moon graces all the people equally, a few families enjoy prosperity while the majority endure hardship.

This old song was later transformed into a theme song for a movie. I am not familiar with the movie, but from the lyrics of the song and a short movie clip on Youtube, I gathered that it’s about a girl from a fisherman’s family who left her village for the city and later became a famous singer. The glamorous new life also brought her unexpected trouble.

Click on this link to hear 月儿弯弯照九州 sung in a male voice. At this site there is an English translation of this song. The lyrics are provided in Traditional Chinese characters.

Let’s look at some of the terms used in the first three stanzas of the lyrics, which depict the plight of a fisherman’s life.

(wān) means curved or bent. The crescent moon has a curved shape. (zhào) has a few different meanings. Here it means to shine or to illuminate.

渔船 (yúchuán) is a fishing boat, and 渔家 (yú jiā) is a fisherman’s family.

到处 (dàochù) means everywhere. 停留 (tíngliú) means to stop and stay.

风光 (fēngguāng) is a scenery. 青山绿水 (qīngshān lǜ shuǐ) is a commonly used term that describes green hills and clear green water, i.e. a nice scenery.

Among common folks, the male in a couple may be addressed by the female as 哥哥 (gēgē), and (mèi) is the female counterpart.

吹笛 (chuī dí) is to play a flute, and 梳头 (shū tóu) is to comb one’s hair. Both are leisurely activities.

工作 (gōngzuò) means a work (noun), a job, or to work (verb).

几时 (jǐshí) is another way of saying 什么时候? (shénme shíhòu), which means “When?”. (xiū) means to stop or to rest. In regular parlance, 几时休 (xiū) would be expressed as:

Shénme shíhòu cái huì tíngzhǐ?
When will it stop?

白天 (báitiān) is daytime, and (yè) is night or evening. 摇船 (yáochuán) is to row the boat and, 补网 (bǔ wǎng) is to mend the fishing net.

青春 (qīngchūn) means one’s youth, youthfulness or being youthful.

水里 (shuǐ li) means in the water.

(diū) means to throw, to throw away or to lose something.

风浪 (fēnglàng) are stormy waves. 翻天 (fāntiān) means overturning the sky. It describes the worrisome turbulence of the storm.

使人 (shǐ rén) translates to “causes a person to” or “to enable a person to”. So, 使人愁 (shǐ rén chóu) means “makes one worry”.

Nèi jiàn shì shǐ wǒ gǎndào bùān.
That incident made me feel uneasy.

要吃 (yào chī) means needing to eat; 要穿 (yào chuān) means needing to have clothing to wear. (gù) is to care about or to take into consideration. (xiǎn) are dangers. 哪顾得险 (nǎ gù de xiǎn) means not having the luxury to care about the dangers (of fishing in stormy weather).

可怜 (kělián) means pitiable, pitiful or poor. 流泪 (liú lèi) is to weep. (shuāng) is a pair, or two of something. 泪双流 (lèi shuāng liú) indicates there are two people weeping together.

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 words for the four emotions

An aged relative recently remarked, “In life there is more suffering than joy.” Of course, I’m in no position to argue with this beloved centenarian who has been around since motorized movie cameras first replaced hand-cranked cameras and who has witnessed WWI, WWII as well as the Second Sino-Japanese War. In fact, you may agree with her when you take a look at the Chinese phrase that lists the emotional responses to what life deals to each and every person – 喜怒哀怨 (xǐ nù āi yuàn). Out of the four emotions cited, only one pertains to happiness.

As an adjective, (xǐ) means being pleased or delighted. 欢喜 (huānxǐ delighted) and 高兴 (gāoxìng glad) are synonymous. 惊喜 (jīngxǐ) means being pleasantly surprised, or a pleasant surprise.

As a noun, (xǐ) refers to a happy event, such as a wedding, expecting a baby, or some other occasion for celebration. On plaques or banners displayed at a wedding, you may see two of this character joined together. That is not an official Chinese character, but a symbol to represent the auspicious event for the two families involved.

喜酒 (xǐjiǔ) is a wedding feast.

喜事 (xǐshì) is a happy event, such as a wedding or the arrival of a new baby.

喜气洋洋 (xǐqìyángyáng) is a phrase often used to describe a person sporting a jubilant aura, or a place that is filled with joy.

你看他红光满面, 喜气洋洋.
Nǐ kàn tā hóngguāngmǎnmiàn xǐqìyángyáng.
Look at him, glowing with a ruddy face and beaming with joy.

As a verb, (xǐ) means to like or to be fond of someone or something, as in 喜欢 (xǐhuān) or 喜爱 (xǐài)

喜剧 (xǐjù) is a comedy.

Tā xǐhuān kàn xǐjù.
She likes to watch comedies.

(xǐ auspiciousness, jubilation) has the same pronunciation as (xǐ), but mainly occurs in 恭贺新禧 (Gōnghèxīnxǐ Happy New Year) and 千禧年 (qiānxīnián the millennium).

(nù) is anger, indignation, or being angry. (hǒu) means to roar. Therefore, 怒吼 (nùhǒu) means to roar angrily.

动怒 (dòngnù) means the same as 生气 (shēngqì), i.e. to get angry or to lose one’s temper.

愤怒 (fènnù) is anger or indignation. This word can also be used as an adjective.

怒火 (nùhuǒ) likens fury to flames of fire.

Tā nùhuǒ chōngtiān.
He flared up.

恼羞成怒 (nǎoxiūchēngnù) means to be shamed into anger.

(āi) means sorrow, sadness, or being sad or cheerless. 哀伤 (āishāng), 哀痛 (āitòng) and 悲哀 (bēiāi) all mean being sad or sorrowful. These words can also be used as nouns. In everyday speech, the most commonly used word for being sad or brokenhearted is 伤心 (shāngxīn).

他听到那坏消息, 非常伤心.
Tā tīngdào nà huài xiāoxi, fēicháng shāngxīn.
He heard the bad news and was very sad.

悲观 (bēiguān) means pessimistic. 悲剧 (bēijù) is a tragedy.

Tā kàn bēijù huì diào yǎnlèi.
Watching a tragedy will make her weep.

哀号 (āiháo) is to wail or cry piteously.

哀求 (āiqiú) means to implore or entreat.

Nà fùnǚ āiqiú Suǒluómén Wáng bùyào shā nàge yīngér.
That woman begged King Solomon not to kill that baby.

(yuàn) means to resent, to complain, or being resentful. 抱怨 (bàoyuàn) and 埋怨 (mányuàn) mean to complain or to grumble.

怨言 (yuànyán) are complaints.

In formal Chinese, 佳偶 (jiāǒu) refers to a happily married couple, and 怨偶 (yuàn’ǒu) refers to an unhappy couple.

Granted that the world around us cannot be a rose garden every day, therefore it is up to us to look at the bright side of things. An optimist, or 乐观的人 (lèguān de rén), tends to hold a positive attitude toward life.

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