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How to talk about “pretend” with Chinese “zhuāng”

Too many people live under a mask to hide the truth from others. It's inadvisable for us to expose their intentions, but that doesn't stop us from learning to talk about it in Chinese. The word "装" can be a noun, meaning "clothes" or "costume". It can also be a verb, meaning "to pretend", "to disguise" or "to feign". 

1. 装无辜

Butter wouldn't melt (in sb's mouth)

tā kàn zhe hěn wú gū

他看着很无辜。

–He looks so innocent.

shì ā, kěn dìng shì zhuāng de 

是啊,肯定是装的。

–Yes, butter wouldn't melt, I'm sure. 

2. 装有范

Put on airs

tā de yì xiē lǎo péng yǒu dōu zhǐ zé tā fā cái yǐ hòu jiù kāi shǐ bǎi jià zǐ le 

她的一些老朋友都指责她发财以后就开始摆架子了。

Some of her old friends have accused her of putting on airs since she became wealthy.

3. 装糊涂

Play dumb

zhān nī zhī dào táng fàng zài nǎ ér le, dàn tā gù yì zhuāng shǎ dòu tā de dì dì 

詹妮知道糖放在哪儿了,但她故意装傻逗她的弟弟。

Jenny knew where the sweets were but was playing dumb to tease her little brother.

4. 装嫩

Mutton dressed as lamb

tā suì shù tài dà le, zhè me dǎ bàn gēn tā nián líng bù fú, míng xiǎn jiù shì lǎo huáng guā shuā lǜ qī zhuāng nèn 

她岁数太大了,这么打扮跟她年龄不符,明显就是老黄瓜刷绿漆装嫩。

She's far too old for that – she looks like mutton dressed as lamb.

5. 装厉害

All bark and no bite

yuē hàn zǒng shì shuō yǒu yì tiān tā huì zuàn dà qián, dàn shì zhī jiàn tā shuō méi jiàn tā zuò ā ~

约翰总是说有一天他会赚大钱,但是只见他说没见他做啊~

John talks big about how much money he'll make someday, but he's all bark and no bite.

2016-09-12

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