Have you ever argued with anyone over a small thing, but it wasn’t even worth it?
Here’s one of the most interesting Chinese idioms or chéngyǔ that can help you better describe this situation and talk about your experience with your Chinese friends and colleagues.
Spoiler: it involves feathers… and garlic. 🪶 🧄
鸡毛蒜皮 jīmáo suànpí
The meaning of 鸡毛蒜皮 (jīmáo suànpí) is a “trivial matter” or “unworthy matter”.
- jīmáo suànpí
- trifles/a trivial or unworthy matter
lit. “chicken feathers-garlic skins”
01. THE TOOTHPASTE ARGUMENT
- 小王和他的老婆因为挤牙膏应该从下面往上挤还是从中间往上挤, 吵架了。
- Xiǎo Wáng hé tā de lǎopo yīnwèi jǐ yágāo yīnggāi cóng xiàmiān wǎngshàng jǐ háishi cóng zhōngjiān wǎngshàng jǐ chǎojià le.
- Xiao Wang and his wife quarreled about a toothpaste: whether it should be squeezed up from the bottom or from the middle.
- 我们就可以说: “他们因为鸡毛蒜皮的事儿吵架了”。
- Wǒmen jiù kěyǐ shuō: “Tāmen yīnwèi jīmáo suànpí de shìr chǎojià le.”
- We can say: “They quarreled about such a trifle (such a small thing).“
02. GRUDGE AT COLLEAGUES
- Xiǎo Lǐ yīnwèi jīntiān tā de tóngshì méiyǒu jiào tā yīqǐ qù chī wǔfàn, shēngqì le.
- Xiao Li was mad at his colleague because he didn’t invite him to have lunch together.
- 我们可以跟小李说: “你不要为了鸡毛蒜皮的事儿生气”。
- Wǒmen kěyǐ gēn Xiǎo Lǐ shuō: “Nǐ bùyào wèile jīmáo suànpí de shìr shēngqì.”
- We can say to Xiao Li: “You shouldn’t get angry about such a small thing”.
We hope that Chinese idioms will help you better understand Chinese culture and describe any life situations when you talk to your Chinese friends and colleagues. To learn more Chinese idioms and useful vocabulary, check out one of our blog posts Chinese Idioms: Complain About Crowds in Chinese!
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