Essential Chengyu: Don’t you love this feeling?

Have you ever come across a chengyu that is good, so good that you want to say it when you’re speaking English? 

We have such a chengyu for you today: 豁然开朗 (huò rán kāi lǎng).

豁然开朗 (huò rán kāi lǎng) has two meanings which are linked. First, it’s the refreshing and liberating feeling you get when you see a beautiful, open expanse. Typically, immediately before this 豁然开朗 (huò rán kāi lǎng) moment, the beautiful area is not visible and you might be feeling a little stuffy.

Second, it’s also used as a metaphor for the feeling you get when you achieve an “aha” or “eureka!” moment. It can also be used when other nagging issues (eg. interpersonal issues) are resolved positively.

Essential Chengyu: Don’t you love this feeling?

A breakdown of the characters in 豁然开朗 (huò rán kāi lǎng):

豁 (huò): spacious

然 (rán): “like that” (eg. 突然 – tūrán – sudden or suddenly)

开 (kāi): short for 开阔 (kāikuò), which means broad

朗 (lǎng): bright

It’s hard to get a good sense of 豁然开朗 (huò rán kāi lǎng) without getting into examples. Here are its 2 main usages. 

Usage 1) As a Verb

Example 1 A)

沿着绿道继续往前,两侧视野豁然开朗 “

“yán zhe lǜdào jìxù wǎngqián, liǎngcè shìyě huòránkāilǎng”

“As we walked ahead along the green path, both sides of our field of vision were filled with beautiful open expanses

Example 1 B)

车绕过大山直行时,我们的眼前豁然开朗 “

“chē ràoguò dàshān zhíxínɡ shí, wǒmen de yǎnqián huòránkāilǎng”

“As the car bypassed the mountain and went straight ahead, our eyes were filled with a beautiful open expanse

Example 1 C)


“zài tīng le chén lǎoshī de zhè táng kè yǐhòu, wǒ tūrán huòránkāilǎng le, yuánlái yìtáng hǎo kè yě kěyǐ zhème qīngsōng de shàng”

“After hearing Mr. Chen’s class, it was suddenly clear to me, that it was possible to attend a class in such a relaxing way”

Example 1 D)

夫妻间有矛盾,还是吵开好,把内心的不满响响亮亮地吵了出来,心也就豁然开朗 “

“fūqī jiān yǒu máodùn, háishì chǎo kāi hǎo, bǎ nèixīn de bùmǎn xiǎngxiǎngliàngliàng de chǎo le chūlái, xīn yě jiù huòránkāilǎng le”

“When a couple has conflict, it’s better to argue it out, and to loudly argue about the dissatisfactions bottled up inside. Then it’ll feel refreshing

Usage 2) 豁然开朗 + 的 + Noun

Example 2 A)


“jīngguò xiǎo tōngdào jìnrù kètīng, ɡènɡ yǒu yīzhǒng huòránkāilǎng de gǎnjué”

“After the small passageway you enter the living room, and have the feeling of suddenly seeing a broad open expanse

Example 2 B)


“dàxué shíqí, qiáoní kāishǐ yǒujīhuì yòng Mac zuò shèjì, nàshì yīzhǒng huòránkāilǎng de tǐyàn”

“During college, Jony began to have opportunities to use a Mac to design, and that was a refreshing, eye-opening experience”

Hope you like this chengyu as much as we do!

Any questions? Comments? Other chengyu you would like to learn?

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2 Responses to Essential Chengyu: Don’t you love this feeling?

  1. Tamar Harrington January 5, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    I like your chengyu posts. A lot of them seem to have to do with chengyu that have a fairly clear meaning just from looking at them. Some chengyu are not so clear though, because they are based on historical events or legends. This new Chinese proverb stories site is a good source to find the stories behind chengyu in English. Reading the story can help you remember the chengyu as well as learn about Chinese history.

    • Alan January 6, 2012 at 1:37 pm #


      Thanks for the kind words! Agree that historical events and legends can be very helpful. I guess I prefer to cut to the chase and focus on how words are used. But the background can be useful. Nice site!

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