essential-chengyu-jetsetters

Essential Chengyu: For you jetsetters out there – 四海为家

Nowadays, it can seem like many of us spend more time living on planes rather than on the ground. We can say such jetsetters 四海为家 (sìhǎiwéijiā).

四海为家 (sìhǎiwéijiā) basically means that the whole world (literally, the four seas) is your home. It’s often used in the context of someone who wants to go out and see the world. It’s also used to talk about someone who doesn’t have a permanent home.


 
A breakdown of the characters in 四海为家 (sìhǎiwéijiā):

四海 (sìhǎi): the four seas, ie. the whole world

为 (wéi): to regard as or treat as (eg. 作为 – zuòwéi)

家 (jiā):home (eg. 家庭 – family or household – jiātíng)

Observing 四海为家 (sìhǎiwéijiā) in the wild reveals 3 main usages:

Usage 1) Noun + 四海为家

Example 1A)

诗人们。。。四海为家,在一个城市存在1小时候就会离开

“shīrénmen… sìhǎiwéijiā, zài yígè chéngshì cúnzài 1 xiǎoshí hòu jiù huì líkāi ”

“Poets… have the whole world as their home – they’re in a city for one hour and then leave”

Example 1B)

温州人四海为家,哪里有钱我们就出现在哪里

“wēnzhōu rén sìhǎiwéijiā, nǎlǐ yǒuqián wǒmen jiù chūxiàn zài nǎlǐ ”

“Wenzhou people have the whole world as their home – they appear wherever the money is”

Usage 2) 四海为家 + 的 + Noun

Example 2A)

四海为家的开拓精神

“ sìhǎiwéijiā de kāituò jīngshén ”

“A pioneering spirit that treats the whole world as home

Example 2B)

孙中山四海为家的革命生涯。。。”

“sūnzhōngshān sìhǎiwéijiā de gémìng shēngyá”

“Sun Zhongshan’s revolutionary career in which he traveled the world…”

Usage 3) 四海为家 + 地 + Verb

Example 3A)

四海为家地打工

sìhǎiwéijiā de dǎgōng”

“To be working for others while traveling the world

Questions? Comments? Other words you like us to cover? Let us know!

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2 Responses to Essential Chengyu: For you jetsetters out there – 四海为家

  1. Greg October 9, 2011 at 11:37 pm #

    Thanks for this expression – hadn’t heard of that one. I travel a lot, and the one I’ve been using is 空中飞人. Literally it’s a trapeze artist – but is used to apply to frequent flyers!

  2. Alan October 10, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    Thanks Greg, 空中飞人 is also a great one – next time I’ll use them together. :)