Idioms Gallery
Blog archive at the bottom of the page.

Language Gallery by Sharon Hahn Darlin

Jun 20, 2009

人口膾炙 on everyone's lips

人 (people) 口 (mouth) 膾 (raw meat/fish) 炙 (roast)
人口 (population) 膾炙 (talked about)

Do you like being roasted?

Knowing that celebrity can become a prison, you may still think it is a cool idea.


The best kind of fame must be one where you can be anonymous when you want to be, yet you are openly admired when you choose to be.

Happiness(?) option 1: Fame, money, power vs.
Happiness option 2: Privacy, freedom, hope

Striving to be Plato's man of moderation is a delicate balance.

Celebrity is alluring, isn't it. Well. By all means, go for option #1. Expect fish toast.

"Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess." -Oscar Wilde

Jun 11, 2009

同心同德 of the same mind

同 (together) 心 (mind) 同 (together) 德 (goodness)

Are we doomed(?) to be irrevocably and meaningfully linked, connected, joined with the entire globe?

Harold and Maude becomes 哈羅德和莫德 in Chinese. As luck would have it, (perhaps a joyful scheme?) both characters are given the character
("dé " in Mandarin) meaning virtue, godliness, moral code.
(Harold) 和 (and) 莫 (Maude)

Maude: Vice, virtue. It's best not to be too moral. You cheat yourself out of too much
life. Aim above morality. If you apply that to life, then you're bound to live life fully.

Harold: I haven't lived. I've died a few times.

Maude: You know, at one time, I used to break into pet shops to liberate the canaries. But I decided that was an idea way before its time. Zoos are full, prisons are overflowing. Oh my, how the world still dearly loves a cage.

Maude: Dreyfus once wrote from Devil's Island that he would see the most glorious birds. Many years later in Brittany he realized they had only been seagulls. For me they will always be
glorious birds.
taken with iPhone by Sharon Hahn Darlin, Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, California

Jun 4, 2009

不約而同 in sync with no prior pact

不 (no) 約 (pact) 而 (yet) 同 (sync)

How well are promises kept?
With so many variables around us, every promise comes with an implicit caveat which reads, honoring the original promise shall cost you x units of sacrifice
when an urgent priority presents itself.

The weight of these "sacrifice units" vary according to individual mettle. Could be half a cookie, an entire pizza, perhaps a free vacation to Rome ... (fill in your own limit.)

Making promises can feel fantastic because you are lucky enough to mean it at the moment of your pledge. Key is, will you keep meaning it, gladly sinking all those sacrifice units?

Things proceed smoothly with no need to draw up a contract, as if you've promised? Why, you are lucky indeed. May your wishes always be in sync with your life.

(image courtesy of

Jun 1, 2009

磨斧作針 persistence pays off

磨 (grind) 斧 (axe) 作 (make) 針 (needle)

or 磨斧爲針

磨 (grind) 斧 (axe) 爲 (be) 針 (needle)

Grind down an axe blade long enough, you'll eventually turn it into a needle, if that's what you aspire to do.

Anything's possible given enough time and patience? I'll take your word for it, or stick a needle in your eye.