Chinese Idioms Station #Week 4#


忍气吞声

忍:to bear

气:dissatisfaction; grievance

吞:to swallow

声:sound, voice

忍气:being mistreated but did not express one’s dissatisfaction

吞声:do not dare to speak out one’s grievances

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General Meaning: This idiom describes a situation in which a mistreated person feels angry about the offender but does not dare to voice out his or her grievances.

Example: Jack is abusive to his daughter Claudia and often neglects her needs. Claudia feels maltreated and angry. However, she does not dare to challenge her father’s authority and thus does not voice out her thoughts. She 忍气吞声地moves on in life.  



孤注一掷

孤:only; sole

注:to bet

掷:to throw (a dice when gambling)

Explanation: the literal meaning of this idiom is that one bets all one’s money for a final showdown. It is used more often in a figurative context, meaning that a person gears up all his or her energy and resources to engage in a risky activity for the last time.

Example: Jamie is treating a patient suffering from lung cancer. She has several plans and nearly all of them failed. Running out of time, Jamie decides to invest all her energy and time to test out one last method,孤注一掷, to see if she can save the patient’s life.

About TC@Penn

University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education
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