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Chengyu-esque Contemporary Abbreviations like “累觉不爱”

Hi guys,

I thought I’d share some extended examples of an interesting bit of vocab that popped up in an intermediate lesson - “4 day work week” - 累觉不爱.

累觉不爱 Lèi jué bù ài

Simply translated means that you are so tried of something you really think you cannot love anymore.

Apparently this term first appeared on a Chinese forum when a high school kid was saying something along the lines of “ah…love it so tough…relationships are so tiring…I think I can never love again” - he abbreviated his experience to 4 characters - 累觉不爱.

Recently Constance was browsing through some Chinese forums and saw that it was used in the context of talking about a job. She found it quite interesting and made a lesson around it.

When I first saw the term I asked Constance whether I could explain the term as a modern 成語. The short answer is no. To qualify as a cheng yu you need to a) have some story or historical background to it and b) pass the test of time.

But the thought lingered with me and I have decided that I will think of them as cheng yu hopefuls or candidates. Maybe in a thousand years some teacher somewhere will say “累覺不愛 - a term used when one is dumped during high school and find the thought of romance utterly exhausting”. ANYWAY… I digress… examples… examples…that’s why i’m writing this…LOL

人艱不拆 rén jiān bù chāi

Definition: 人生已經很艱苦,有些事情就不要拆穿. Life is already miserable. Some things are better left unsaid / Some bubbles shouldn’t be busted.

男默女累 nán mò nǚ lèi

Definition: 男的沈默,女的流淚. A guy’s silence = a lady’s tears. (Don’t get this one)

不明覺厲 bùmíng jué lì

Definition: 雖然不明白,還是覺得很厲害. Despite not understanding anything, you still feel whatever is going on is awesome.


甄嬛傳的對話,話中有話,不明覺厲啊! “雖然不明白在說啥還是覺得很厲害”

Even though I don’t understand Mark Watney’s SOL 233 entry on the water reclaimer, it still sounds amazing/impressive.

Interesting? Just me? Who am I kidding…we’re all Chinese nerds.

I’d love to hear more terms that you may have come across and don’t quite “qualify” as a cheng yu but have the same kind of feel. (Do I sense a Chinese urban dictionary coming along??!!)


nailed it!!

Great post. I find "chengyu-s’ very tricky to use. As a matter of fact I’m not sure I’ve ever used it properly, judging by people’s face. :slight_smile:
That being said, may I suggest a post about high-frequency, traditional chengyu and when/how to use it right. 抛 砖 引 玉

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@danielpioner there is a series of videos on various cheng yu on the chinesepodtv YouTube page. Here is the playlist.

we’d actually like to restart this series soon so feel free to leave any chengyu below that you want made.

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Peace, heres a question, can a cheng yu only be 4 characters? because I’ve come across some interesting cheng yu like things that are more the 4 characters. If not, what would those be called? Like in english we have proverbs or something like this? Also when I was in the bookstore the other day I saw some pretty cool cheng yu dictionaries, and notice they all have a similar layout… can’t quote how its set up but maybe a little lesson on how to decipher a cheng yu dictionary would be cool too! Peace.

Nm this above question I figured it out…