Chinese Idiom Database


This post was originally published in 2013
It may contain stale & outdated information. Or it may have grown more awesome with age, like the author.

When I decided to learn PHP, I figured I needed a project. At that time I’d been learning Chinese for about 2 years, and had developed an interest in Chinese Idioms. I wanted a place dedicated to Chinese Idioms, where one could wallow in their glory for eternity. So I set about making it.

Fast-forward 5 years. I wanted an excuse to get some experience with Symfony. My Chinese Idiom Database website was showing its age, and … well the code was horrible. A rewrite happened.

In the time between creating the first version and now, I had also found a database of over 12,000 Chinese Idioms, complete with etymology, pinyin, definition and allegory. Completely untranslated of course, but a great find nonetheless. The new goal for the website then was to provide a way for people to not only browse these idioms, but also contribute updates and translations for partially or completely untranslated idioms.

强龙不压地头蛇 - Chinese Idiom Database

The new Chinese Idiom Database boasts a total of 12,994 idioms, and allows users to login with Facebook or Twitter to modify any idiom. I had fun creating this new version, and hope that it will be a useful resource for other Chinese language learners and enthusiasts.

My current favourite idiom is 饥不择食 – “If you make things easy for others, they’ll make things easy for you”. I like it generally, and feel it represents an excellent attitude for a developer working on any team project. Do you have a favourite Chinese Idiom?

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