If you have been learning Mandarin Chinese for some time, I hope you learned something about the Chinese zodiac already. If not, please read the Chinese zodiac to get some basic knowledge.
Do you know 2017 is the rooster year? Since the start of the Chinese lunar year is different from the Gregorian calendar(公历)(gōng lì), someone who was born in January and February in the Gregorian calendar might pay extra attention to find his Chinese zodiac.
For example, if a baby was born on Jan. 18, 2017, based on the Gregorian calendar, his Chinese zodiac is Monkey rather than Rooster since the 2017 Chinese lunar new year will start in the Gregorian calendar on Jan. 28. According to the lunar calendar, the baby’s lunar birthday is Dec. 21, 2016, and 2016 year is the Monkey year.
If you are curious about your Chinese zodiac, click on the Chinese Zodiac Sign Calculator to learn more.
In this post, I am going to talk about some Chinese sayings and idioms about chickens.
1. 鸡蛋里挑骨头( jī dàn lǐ tiāo gǔ tou ): Find a bone in an egg. It means being picky on purpose.
Example: 他的工作完成的不错，你就不要鸡蛋里挑骨头了。( tā de gōng zuò wán chéng de bú cuò, nǐ jiù bú yào jī dàn lǐ tiāo gú tou le )
He did a good job, you don’t need to be too picky.
2. 鸡飞蛋打( (jī fēi dàn dǎ ): A hen flew and eggs were broken. It means nothing left.
Example: 鸡飞蛋打的事情，你可千万别做。( jī fēi dàn dǎ de shì qíng, nǐ kě qiān wàn bié zuò )
You had better never do the thing to lose everything.
3. 鸡飞狗跳 ( jī fēi gǒu tiào ): Chickens are flying, dogs are jumping. It means: Something is very messy.
Example: 他走到哪里，哪里就鸡飞狗跳。( tā zǒu dào nǎ lǐ, nǎ lǐ jiù jī fēi gǒu tiào )
Where he goes, where the chicken fly and the dogs jump.
There is another similar idiom: 鸡犬不宁( jī quǎn bù níng ). Chicken and dogs are in an uneasy state. It means the turmoil makes everybody nervous.
4. 宁做鸡头，不做凤尾 ( níng zuò jī tóu, bù zuò fèng wěi ): Prefer to be a rooster head rather than a phoenix tail.
It means: It is better to be a leader in a small place rather than being a nobody in a big place.
Example: 宁做鸡头，不做凤尾，你就安心在这个小城市做你的市长吧。(níng zuò jī tóu, bù zuò fèng wěi, nǐ jiù ān xīn zài zhè gè xiǎo chéng shì zuò nǐ de shì zhǎng ba )
Being a rooster head is better than being the phoenix tail, you should feel easy to be a mayor in this small city.
5. 嫁鸡随鸡，嫁狗随狗 ( jià jī suí jī, jià gǒu suí gǒu ): Follow the rooster if married to a rooster. Followed the dog if married a dog.
This idiom was used as advice for a married woman in ancient China. It means: A wife should be obedient to her husband and try to stay with her husband no matter what.
Example: 嫁鸡随鸡，嫁狗随狗，就算我老公不好，我也认了这个命了。(jià jī suí jī , jià gǒu suí gǒu , jiù suàn wǒ lǎo gōng bù hǎo , wǒ yě rèn le zhè gè mìng le)
Follow the rooster if married to a rooster, followed the dog if married to a dog, even if my husband is not that good, it is my fate.
6. 手无缚鸡之力 ( shǒu wú fù jī zhī lì ): The hands have no the strength to tie up a chicken.
This idiom was used to describe physically weak people, usually, it was used to laugh at the scholars who are not physically strong.
Example: 他是个读书人，手无缚鸡之力，你要他干好农活？不可能！( tā shì gè dú shū rén, shǒu wú fù jī zhī lì, nǐ yào tā gàn hǎo nóng huó? bù kě néng!)
He is a scholar and even hasn’t the strength to tie up a chicken, and you expect him to be good at farming? It is impossible!
7. 鸡毛蒜皮( jī máo suàn pí ): Chicken features and garlic skin. It means something unimportant and very trivial.
Example: 别吵了！都是一些鸡毛蒜皮的事情，值得吗？( bié chǎo le ！dōu shì yī xiē jī máo suàn pí de shì qíng, zhí de ma? )
Don’t fight! These are all trivial things, is it worth fighting?
8. 一人得道，鸡犬升天 ( yī rén dé dào, jī quǎn shēng tiān ): Once a person got the zen, even his chickens and dogs can go to heaven too.
It means: Once someone got a promotion, a related person will get benefits too.
Example: 你知道吗，自从他得到提拔，成为省长之后，就连他做农民的叔叔，现在也在我们镇做镇长了。真是一人得道，鸡犬升天啊。( nǐ zhī dào ma, zì cóng tā dé dào tí bá, chéng wéi shěng zhǎng zhī hòu, jiù lián tā zuò nóng mín de shū shū, xiàn zài yě zài wǒ men zhèn zuò zhèn cháng le. zhēn shì yī rén dé dào, jī quǎn shēng tiān a )
Do you know, since he was promoted to governor, even his farmer uncle became the mayor of our town at this time. It is really once a person got the zen, even his chickens and dogs can go to heaven too.
9. 偷鸡摸狗( tōu jī mō gǒu ): Steal chickens and touch dogs. It means Sneaky, or doing something secretly.
Example: 从今天开始，好好做人，那些偷鸡摸狗的事就别干了。( cóng jīn tiān kāi shǐ, hǎo hǎo zuò rén, nèi xiē tōu jī mō gǒu de shì jiù bié gàn le )
From today, be a good person, and don’t do those sneaky things anymore.
10. 鹤立鸡群( hè lì jī qún): A crane stands among a flock of chickens. It means someone is very outstanding and talented or he is very handsome/she is very beautiful.
Example: 这个戴眼镜的姑娘，身材高挑，气质出众，在人群中，显得鹤立鸡群，与众不同。(zhè gè dài yǎn jìng de gū niáng, shēn cái gāo tiǎo, qì zhí chū zhòng, zài rén qún zhōng, xiǎn de hè lì jī qún , yǔ zhòng bù tóng )
This girl with glasses has a tall figure and an unusual personality, which makes her stand out in the crowd and look different.
11. 闻鸡起舞 ( wén jī qǐ wǔ ): When the rooster crow, it is time to work out. It means strong self-discipline and working very hard.
Example: 如果你每天都闻鸡起舞，努力学习的话，你考试就不会不及格了。( rú guǒ nǐ měi tiān dū wén jī qǐ wǔ, nǔ lì xué xí de huà, nǐ kǎo shì jiù bú huì bù jí gé le )
There is a historical story about 闻鸡起舞. It is said, there was an ambitious Chinese man. His name is 祖逖( zǔ tì ). When he was young, he worked very hard and hope one day he can do something for his country. Every day, when the rooster crowed in the early morning, he will get up to exercise. Later, he became a general.
Now you know some well-known Chinese idioms and sayings about Chicken. Once you know these sayings well, you can apply what you learned to your Chinese speaking and writing.
If you wish to learn more about these interesting Chinese sayings and idioms, please keep reading these posts. Enjoy your learning!