Chinese

Chinese Four Character Idiom: 死灰复燃 (Sǐ huī fù rán)

“Resurgence”

A very nice four character phrase in Chinese is 死灰复燃 (Sǐ huī fù rán), which is roughly translated to describe a “resurgence”, it describes a situation where something that previously “died” or “disappeared” has for whatever reason come back. It could also be more directly translated to “ashes burn once more” or more roughly that (something has) “come back to haunt you” (I think it could be useful for those people in romantic relationships who always seem to be going backwards and forwards :-))

Here is an explanation of the phrase, character by character along with an example or two:

死 (Sǐ) is an adjective, meaning “dead”
灰 (huī) is a noun, meaning “ashes”
复 (fù) is a verb, meaning “to return” or “to repeat”
燃 (rán) is a verb, meaning “to burn” or “to ignite”

So literally it means that “dead ashes reignite” — or describes a situation where something that was previously thought to be dead and gone has resurfaced.

How about this example for the melodramatic cases:

我以为我已经把她放下来了,但有时候死灰会复燃 — (Wǒ yǐwéi wǒ yǐjīng bǎ tā fàng xiàláile, dàn yǒu shíhou sǐhuī huì fù rán) which could be translated to “I thought I had already gotten over her, but sometimes dead ashes do reignite” — note that I placed a 会 (huì) in the middle of the phrase, even though four character phrases are normally quite static, if you understand the grammar of them you can manipulate them as the ordinary words that they are 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Chinese

 
Chinese Poem: 咏鹅 yǒng é Singing Goose

咏鹅 yǒng é is a classical Chinese poem written by 骆宾王 luò bīn wáng during the Tang dynasty. 鹅,鹅,鹅,曲项向天歌。 白毛浮绿水,红掌拨清波。 É, é, é, qū xiàng xiàng tiān gē. Bái máo fú lǜ shuǐ, hóng zhǎng bō qīng bō. Here’s my English translation:...

Shawn Powrie
14 sec read

Chinese

 
Chinese Poem: 早发白帝城 (Zǎo fā bái dì chéng)

Here’s another Chinese poem I’ve recently memorised, named 早发白帝城 (Zǎo fā bái dì chéng) by 李白 (Lǐbái) :   朝辞白帝彩云间, 千里江陵一日还, 两岸猿声啼不住, 轻舟已过万重山. Zhāo cí bái dì cǎiyún jiān, qiānlǐ jiānglíng yí rì huán, Liǎng’àn yuán shēng tí bú zhù, qīngzhōu...

Shawn Powrie
1 min read