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Overcome Halloween Frights with Chinese Chengyu

Have you ever been in a situation here inChina where someone popped out of a closet and you wished you had a swift and eloquent phrase on hand to express your shock? If not, don’t despair. This weekend is Halloween and your odds of petrifying with fright will be that much greater.  Here are a […]

10·30·2010

Overcome Halloween Frights with Chinese Chengyu

Have you ever been in a situation here inChina where someone popped out of a closet and you wished you had a swift and eloquent phrase on hand to express your shock? If not, don’t despair. This weekend is Halloween and your odds of petrifying with fright will be that much greater.  Here are a […]

10·30·2010

Have you ever been in a situation here inChina where someone popped out of a closet and you wished you had a swift and eloquent phrase on hand to express your shock? If not, don’t despair. This weekend is Halloween and your odds of petrifying with fright will be that much greater.  Here are a couple Chinese idioms that may come in handy for such an occasion…

惊惶失措 

jīng huáng shī cuò

be frightened out of one’s wits

Example: 晚上单独的待在家听到陌生的声音让我惊惶失措。

Wǎnshàng dāndú de dāi zài jiā tīngdào mòshēng de shēngyīn rang wǒ jīnghuángshīcuò.

Staying at home alone at night and hearing mysterious noises knocks the wits out of me.

心惊胆战 

xīn jīng dǎn zhàn

tremble with fear

Example: 那个鬼故事弄我心惊胆战。

Nàge guǐ gùshi nòng wǒ xīnjīngdǎnzhàn.

That ghost story made me tremble with fear.

Perhaps you won’t experience sudden shock this Halloween, but instead you might perceive an impending state of doom. The following phrase of caution won’t take too long to spit out before it’s time to scream and run for your life…

心怀鬼胎 

xīn huái guǐ tāi

have evil intentions

Example: 我猜那个吸血鬼心怀鬼胎…

Wǒ cāi nàge xīxuèguǐ xīnhuáiguǐtāi…

I’m guessing that vampire has evil intentions…

Another beauty of Chinese idioms (known as 成语 chéngyǔ), besides their efficiency, is how they foster the imagination. Chengyu are like poems. Like a mix-and-match game, you can play around and link up four characters in a meaningful string to fashion your very own Chinese idiom.

Here are some words related to Halloween (万圣节Wànshèngjié) to help inspire your creativity:

  • Supernatural: 神 shén
  • Spook: 吓 xià
  • Witchcraft: 巫术 wūshù
  • Hidden: 暗àn
  • Eerie: 怪 guài
  • Panic: 恐慌 kǒnghuāng
  • Disturbed: 不安 bù’ān
  • Corpse: 僵尸 jiāngshī
  • Howl: 啸 xiào
  • Creep: 匍匐 púfú

Happy Halloween! Don’t forget your chengyu!

 

So what do you think Chinese people think of halloween?