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)


“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)


“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)


“ sìhǎiwéijiā de kāituò jīngshén ”

“A pioneering spirit that treats the whole world as home

Example 2B)


“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)


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. :)