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10 Chinese Love Idioms

Here’s a list of sentences to help you express more eloquently your past, present and future experiences with the lovers in your life. If I’ve left out any of your favourites, please leave a comment.

1. 一见如故 yījiànrúgù

To hit it off right from the start; to feel like old friends upon first meeting. Similar to 一见钟情 yījiànzhōngqíng, “love at first sight”.


Wǒmen liǎ yījiànrúgù, sān gè yuè yǐhòu jiù jiéhūn le.

We hit it off the moment we met and got married three months later.

2. 一厢情愿 yīxiāngqíngyuàn

Use this when someone you know likes someone but that person doesn’t like them back. For example, a man is trying to do whatever he can to please a woman but the woman just does not like him. However this also has a slightly negative connotation and implies that the person is only taking into account his or her own feelings and not those of the other party. (A common occurrence when courting someone a little out of one’s league!)


Wǒ de biǎogē xiǎng zhuī wǒ de yīgè tóngxué, kǒngpà tā shì yīxiāngqíngyuàn ba!

My cousin wants to go after one of my classmates but unfortunately his love is only one-way.

3. 重色轻友 zhòngsèqīngyǒu

This phrase implies that you put your boyfriend or girlfriend ahead of your friends. In English, the US slang “[to put] bros before hos” comes to mind. (Edit: Which has the opposite meaning. Thanks for the correction.)


Wèishénme nǐ fàng le wǒ gēzi? Wǒmen bùshì hǎo péngyǒu ma? Nándào nǐ shì yīgè zhòngsèqīngyǒu de rén ma?

Why did you stand me up? Aren’t we good friends? Could it be that you’re the kind of person who won’t put bros before hoes?

4. 一往情深 yīwǎngqíngshēn

To love deeply; to be deeply attached to; to be head over heels.


Jíshǐ tāmen yǐjīng fēnshǒu le, Wángchén duì Cáobó háishì yīwǎngqíngshēn.

Although they had broken up, Wangchen and Caobo were still deeply in love.

5. 海枯石烂 hǎikūshílàn

“Even if the seas should run dry and the rocks crumble.” By extension, “no matter what happens and for how long.” This very poetic and romantic idiom is used to express your undying love for someone.


Tā zhùshì zhe tā de yǎnjīng, fāshì shuō tā huì àidào tā hǎikūshílàn.

He gazed into her eyes and swore to love her until his last dying breath.

6. 两情相悦 liǎngqíngxiāngyuè

To be attracted and attached to one another.


Tāmen kànqǐlái yǐjīng liǎngqíngxiāngyuè le, tūrán lái le gè dìsānzhě.

They seemed so attached to one another, then along came someone else.

7. 比翼双飞 bǐyìshuāngfēi

“To fly as a couple, wing to wing.” This can be used either literally – the idea of flying in the clouds with your lover, such as in a dream – or figuratively to mean to enjoy a kind of activity together, such as going on holiday.


Tāmen zhuàn gòu le qián zhīhòu biàn bǐyìshuāngfēi le.

After making enough money, they went out to have some fun.

8. 脚踏两只船 jiǎo tà liǎng zhī chuán

“To have one’s feet in two boats.” This idiom can refer to a man who already has a girlfriend but is seeing someone else at the same time. When used generically it can also just refer to any kind of situation in which someone is undecided.


Jiǎo tà liǎng zhī chuán hěn yǒu wéixiǎnxìng.

It’s dangerous to have one’s feet in two boats.

9. 藕断丝连 ǒuduànsīlián

“The lotus root is severed, but linked by threads.” This chengyu metaphorises the idea of a relationship breaking up, but still being connected in some kind of way.


Suīrán tāmen yǐjīng líhūn hěnjiǔ le, dàn ǒuěr yě huì zài wǎngshàng liánxì, zhēn yǒudiǎn “ǒuduànsīlián” de gǎnjué.

Although they divorced a long time ago, they still contact each other online from time to time and so have not cut off relations completely.

10. 一刀两断 yīdāoliǎngduàn

To make a clean break; to break up; to a sever a relationship completely.


Wǒ shízài shòu bùliǎo tā de suǒzuòsuǒwéi, suǒyǐ jiù hé tā yīdāoliǎngduàn le.

I couldn’t take her behaviour any more, so I cut her out of my life.

Source: http://carlgene.com/blog


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