English translations of 100 Chinese proverbs! Magic!

1.爱屋及乌:Love me, love my dog.

2.百闻不日一见:One look is worth a thousand words.

Seeing is believing.

3.比上不足,比下有余: to fall short of the best, but be better than the worst

4.笨鸟先飞:A slow sparrow should make an early start.

5.不遗余力:spare no effort; go all out; do one’s best

6.不打不成交:No discord, no concord.

7.拆东墙补西墙:rob Peter to pay Paul

8.辞旧迎新:bid farewell to the old and usher in the new

9.大事化小,小事化了:try first to make their mistake sound less serious and then to reduce it to nothing at all

10.大开眼界: broaden one’s horizon; be an eye-opener

11.国泰民安:the country flourishes and people live in peace

12.过犹不及:going beyond the limit is as bad as falling short; excess is just as bad as deficiency;too much is as bad as too little

13.好了伤疤忘了疼:once on shore, one prays no more

14.好事不出门,坏事传千里:Bad news travels fast.

15.和气生财:harmony brings wealth;friendliness is conducive to business success

16.活到老学到老: never too old to learn

17.既往不咎:let bygones be bygones

18.金无足赤,人无完人:There are spots even on the sun.

19.金玉满堂:Treasures fill the home.

20.脚踏实地: be down-to-earth

21.脚踩两只船:sit on the fence; be a fence-sitter; have a foot in either camp

22.君子之交淡如水:A hedge between keeps friendship green.

23.老生常谈,陈词滥调:cut and dried; cliché

24.礼尚往来:Courtesy calls for reciprocity.

25.留得青山在,不怕没柴烧:Where there is life, there is hope.

26.马到成功:achieve immediate victory; win instant success

27.名利双收:gain both fame and wealth

28.茅塞顿开:be suddenly enlightened

29.没有规矩,不成方圆:Nothing can be accomplished without norms or standards.

30.每逢佳节倍思亲: On festive occasions more than ever one thinks of one’s dear ones far away.

31.谋事在人,成事在天:Man proposes; God disposes.

32.弄巧成拙:make a fool of oneself in trying to be smart

33.赔了夫人又折兵:suffer a double loss; lose the bait along with the fish

34.抛砖引玉:a modest spur to induce others to come forward with valuable contributions; throw a sprat to catch a whale

35.破釜沉舟:cut off all means of retreat;burn one’s own way of retreat and be determined to fight to the end

36.抢得先机:take the preemptive opportunities

37.巧妇难为无米之炊:One can’t make bricks without straw.

38.前事不忘,后事之师:Past experience, if not forgotten, is a guide for the future.

39.千里之行始于足下:a thousand-li journey begins with the first step–the highest eminence is to be gained step by step

40.前怕狼,后怕虎: fear wolves ahead and tigers behind; hesitate in doing something

41.强龙难压地头蛇:The mighty dragon is no match for the native serpent.

42.瑞雪兆丰年:A fall of seasonal snow gives promise of a fruitful year

43.人逢喜事精神爽:People are in high spirits when involved in happy events.

44.世上无难事,只怕有心人:Where there is a will, there is a way.

45.世外桃源:a retreat away from the turmoil of the world

46.人之初,性本善:Humans are born good.

47.上有天堂,下有苏杭:Just as there is paradise in heaven, there are Suzhou and Hangzhou on earth

48.塞翁失马,焉知非福:a blessing in disguise;Every cloud has a silver lining.

49.三十而立:A man should be independent at the age of thirty. /At thirty, a man should be able to think for himself.

50.水涨船高: A ship rises with the tide

51.时不我待:Time and tide wait for no man.

52.杀鸡用牛刀:use a steam-hammer to crack nuts

53.实事求是:seek truth from facts; be practical and realistic; be true to facts

54.说曹操,曹操到:speak of the devil

55.实话实说:speak the plain truth; call a spade a spade; tell it as it is

56.实践是检验真理的唯一标准:Practice is the sole criterion for testing truth.

57.韬光养晦:hide one’s capacities and bide one’s time

58.糖衣炮弹:sugar-coated bullets

59.天有不测风云:Anything unexpected may happen. a bolt from the blue

60.团结就是力量:Unity is strength.

61.跳进黄河洗不清:Even if one jumped into the Yellow River, one can not wash oneself clean – there’s nothing one can do to clear one’s name

62.歪风邪气: unhealthy trends and vulgar practices

63.物以类聚,人以群分:Birds of a feather flock together.

64.望子成龙:hold high hopes for one’s child

65.唯利是图:seek nothing but profits; be blind to all but one’s own interests

66.无中生有:a sheer fabrication out of nothing; fabricate rumors out of thin air

67.无风不起浪:There are no waves without wind. Nothing comes of nothing.

68.徇私枉法: twist the law to suit one’s own purpose

69.新官上任三把火:a new broom sweeps clean

70.蓄势待发:accumulate strength for a take-off

71.心想事成:May all your wish come true

72.心照不宣: have a tacit understanding; thoroughly understand each other, without having exchanged a word of explanation

73.先入为主:First impressions are firmly entrenched.

74.先下手为强:He who strikes first gains the advantage.The best defense is offense.

75.热锅上的蚂蚁:ants on a hot pan

76.现身说法:warn people by taking oneself as an example

77.息事宁人:pour oil on troubled waters; patch up a quarrel and reconcile the parties concerned

78.循序渐进:proceed in an orderly way and step by step; advance gradually in due order

79.严以律己,宽以待人:be strict with oneself and lenient with others

80.有情人终成眷属:Jack shall have Jill, all shall be well.

81.有钱能使鬼推磨:Money makes the mare go./ Money talks.

82.有识之士: a man of insight

83.有勇无谋:bold but not crafty

84.有缘千里来相会:Separated as we are thousands of miles apart, we come together as if by predestination.

85.与时俱进:keep pace with the times


87.因材施教:teach students according to their aptitude

88.欲穷千里目,更上一层楼:to ascend another storey to see a thousand miles further; Ascend further, were you to look farther.

89.欲速则不达:Haste makes waste.More haste, less speed

90.优胜劣汰:survival of the fittest

91.英雄所见略同:Great minds think alike.

92.冤家宜解不宜结: Better make friends than make enemies.

93.冤假错案:cases in which people were unjustly, falsely or wrongly charged or sentenced; unjust, false or wrong cases

94.一言既出,驷马难追:A promise is a promise.A real man never goes back on his words.

95.招财进宝:bring in wealth and treasure

96.债台高筑:become debt-ridden

97.众矢之的:target of public criticism

98.纸上谈兵:be an armchair strategist

99.纸包不住火:You can’t wrap fire in paper.What’s done by night appears by day.

100.左右为难:caught in a dilemma; between the devil and the deep blue sea

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5 Responses to English translations of 100 Chinese proverbs! Magic!

  1. This is a very interesting idea! I love the content, and how you are helping others learn through your blog. I will definitely keep checking this out! Thanks!


  2. Useful translation, good idea!


  3. Hanna M, says:

    Hey. This really helped me with my history homework. But number 71 should say wishes, not wish. Thank you so much for your help.


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