chinese-idioms-year-dragon

7 Awesome Chinese Idioms with Dragons

Do you know what the dragon symbolizes for Chinese people?

The dragon has been a sacred creature since ancient times. It is the king of beasts and represents strength, wisdom, rule, and unlimited potential. Chinese people still consider themselves descendants of the dragon.

How about 7 commonly used Chinese idioms about dragons?

7 Awesome Chinese Idioms with Dragons

1) 龙马精神(lónɡ mǎ jīnɡ shén): To continue to be full of spirit and vigor, despite being older. A 龙马(lónɡ mǎ) is a mythical creature consisting of part-horse and part-dragon, and is considered to be a lucky symbol.

Example 1 A)

毕竟是龙年,希望中国能够龙马精神,开个好头

“bì jìng shì lóng nián, xī wàng zhōng guó néng gòu lóng mǎ jīng shén, kāi gè hǎo tóu”

“Since it is the Year of the Dragon, (I) hope that China can keep its energy, and start off strong”

Example 1 B)

龙年,希望大家凭着龙马精神,在龙年获得更多收获

“lóng nián, xī wàng dà jiā píng zhe lóng mǎ jīng shén, zài lóng nián huò dé gèng duō shōu huò”

“The Year of the Dragon – (I) hope that everyone can keep their spirit and vigor, and have a fruitful Year of the Dragon”

2) 龙争虎斗(lóng zhēng hǔ dòu): literally, “a fight between a dragon and a tiger.” Refers to a struggle between two similarly matched forces. This is also the title of the famous movie starring Bruce Lee, “Enter the Dragon.”

Example 2 A)

新一年搜索市场必将迎来更为龙争虎斗的开局

“xīn yì nián sōu suǒ shì chǎng bì jiāng yíng lái gèng wéi lóng zhēng hǔ dòu de kāi jú”

“In the new year, the search market will welcome an opening with a fierce struggle between evenly matched competitors

Example 2 B)

他将与安东尼-约翰逊(Anthony Johnson)进行一场龙争虎斗 “

“tā jiāng yǔ ān dōng ní – yuē hàn xùn (Anthony Johnson) jìn xíng yī chǎng lóng zhēng hǔ dòu

“He now begins an intense struggle with Anthony Johnson”

Example 2 C)

优惠打折促销活动可谓是龙争虎斗 “

“yōu huì dǎ zhé cù xiāo huó dòng kě wèi shì lóng zhēng hǔ dòu

“Discount sales can be said to be an intense struggle between competitors

3) 人中之龙 (rén zhōng zhī lóng): “A dragon among men.” Used to describe an exceptional, unmatched talent.

Example 3 A)

龙的地位很高,人中之龙就是皇帝

“lóng de dì wèi hěn gāo, rén zhōng zhī lóng jiù shì huáng dì  “

“The status of the dragon is high – the dragon among men is the emperor”

4) 来龙去脉(lái lóng qù mài): “ins and outs, causes and effects.” Originally referred to a mountain range (山脉 – mountain range) that looked like the body of a dragon. Later came to symbolize a person or event’s history or cause and effect.

Example 4 A)

我们可以先看看这个事件的来龙去脉,再听听旁观者的说法 “

“wǒ men kě yǐ xiān kàn kàn zhè gè shì jiàn de lái lóng qù mài, zài tīng tīng páng guān zhě de shuō fǎ”

“We can first see the ins and outs of this matter, then hear what witnesses have to say”

Example 4 B)

我们会继续与警方密切合作,查清楚事情的来龙去脉 “

“wǒ men huì jì xù yǔ jǐng fāng mì qiè hé zuò, chá qīng chu shì qíng de lái lóng qù mài  “

“We will continue to work closely with the police, and find out clearly the ins and outs of this matter”

5) 龙飞凤舞 (lóng fēi fèng wǔ): (of calligraphy or handwriting) “flying dragons and dancing phoenixes.” Refers to lively and elegant calligraphy. But these days, it’s also used to satirically say the opposite – that someone’s handwriting is awful.

Example 5 A)

贺卡上只有四个龙飞凤舞的大字新年快乐…”

“hè kǎ shàng zhǐ yǒu sì gè lóng fēi fèng wǔ de dà zì xīn nián kuài lè…”

“On the greeting card there were only the 4 big, lively, and elegant characters ‘新年快乐’…”

6) 群龙无首(qún lóng wú shǒu): “A group of dragons, but no leader.” Refers to a group that needs a leader.

Example 6 A)

群龙无首的情况下,股市重心的下移也就在所难免 “

“zài qún lóng wú shǒu de qíng kuàng xià, gǔ shì zhòng xīn de xià yí yě jiù zài suǒ nán miǎn  “

Without leadership, it’s hard to avoid the core of the stock market descending”

Example 6 B)

现在的曼联更衣室可谓是群龙无首 “

“xiàn zài de màn lián gèng yī shì kě wèi shì qún lóng wú shǒu  “

“Right now you could say that the Manchester United’s locker room needs a leader

Example 6 C)

共和党群龙无首,民主党的现任总统奥巴马也未见得淡定 “

“gòng hé dǎng qún lóng wú shǒu, mín zhǔ dǎng de xiàn rèn zǒng tǒng ào bā mǎ yě wèi jiàn de dàn dìng  “

“The GOP needs a leader, and the Democratic Party’s current President Obama does not yet appear to be calm”

7) 望子成龙(wàng zǐ chéng lóng): “to wish your son becomes a dragon.” Refers to parents hoping for their kids to succeed.

Example 7 A)

许多家长望子成龙,希望通过各种方式来教育孩子 “

“xǔ duō jiā zhǎng wàng zǐ chéng lóng, xī wàng tōng guò gè zhǒng fāng shì lái jiào yù hái zi “

“Many parents want their kids to succeed, and hope to educate them in many ways”

Example 7 B)

望子成龙的父母们早已盘算好,将自己的孩子生在这样一个神奇又高贵的年份 “

“…wàng zǐ chéng lóng de fù mǔ men zǎo yǐ pán suàn hǎo, jiāng zì jǐ de hái zi shēng zài zhè yàng yí gè shén qí yòu gāo guì de nián fèn”

“…these parents who wanted their kids to success already calculated long ago, so that they could have their children on this magical and noble year”

 As you can see, dragons mean a lot to Chinese people. (For Americans, maybe the closest equivalent is the dog?)

Let us know if you have any comments, questions, or other Chinese idioms you recommend.

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