Essential Chengyu: Like a fish in water – 如鱼得水
Do you ever have those moments when you know your Chinese is on?
When you almost feel like you were born to speak Chinese?
When you feel like a fish in water?
If so, or if you’re aspiring to reach that point, you’ve got to learn this chengyu: 如鱼得水(rú yú dé shuǐ).
如鱼得水 (rú yú dé shuǐ) literally means “like a fish in water,” and it means the same thing as it does in English. It’s generally used to describe someone who performs well in a certain situation, making it seem like they were meant to be in that environment. It’s a positive chengyu.
A breakdown of the characters in 如鱼得水 (rú yú dé shuǐ):
如(rú): like or as if 像(xiàng).
得(dé): to get or acquire (eg. 得到 – dé dào)
Observing 如鱼得水 (rú yú dé shuǐ) in the wild reveals several usages.
Usage 1) As a Verb
Example 1 A)
“àoníěr tuìyì yīrán rúyúdéshuǐ, shēngchēng háiyào dānɡ NBA qiúduì lǎobǎn “
“After retirement, O’Neal is still like a fish in water, and asserts that he wants to be the owner of an NBA team”
Example 1 B)
“mǎxiū néng ràng mòduōkè jiāzú zài lúndūn shèjiāoquān nèi rúyúdéshuǐ “
“Marshall is able to make the Murdoch family like a fish in in water in London’s social circles”
Example 1 C)
“yī kuǎn yōuzhì shǔ biāo, ràng nǐ zài gèzhǒng yóuxì lǐ rúyúdéshuǐ “
“A high quality mouse can make you like a fish in water for many kinds of games”
Usage 2) 如鱼得水 + 的 + Noun
Example 2 A)
“xiǎngshòu rúyúdéshuǐ de xǐyuè “
“enjoy the joy of feeling like a fish in water“
Example 2 B)
“zài shuǐ zhōng piāoyóu shí, zhēn de huì ràng nǐ yǒu rúyúdéshuǐ zhī gǎn “
“When you are drifting in the water, you will really have the feeling of being like a fish in water“
Usage 3) As an adverb (eg. 活得 / 过得 / 混得 + 如鱼得水)
Example 3 A)
“suīrán NBA tíngbǎi, dànshì pàkè zài fǎguó ɡuò de rúyúdéshuǐ “
“The NBA lockout is underway, but Parker is in France living like a fish in water“
Example 3 B)
“sān nián guòqù, dāndān jiě zài wēibó jiè hún de rúyúdéshuǐ “
“After 3 years, Sister Dan Dan is getting by like a fish in water in the Weibo world”
Questions? Comments? Other chengyu you’d like to learn with us? Let us know!