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鸡年说鸡 Four Phrases of Common Chinese Sayings with “Chicken” - learn Chinese in Shanghai or online

1. 铁公鸡(tiě gōng jī, an iron rooster)



It’s an iron rooster so we can never get even a feather off it. Likewise, if someone is a miser we can’t take any money away from him. To say somebody is an iron rooster in Chinese is to say this person is extremely mean with money.



It’s important to treat in China, such as buying friends meal or gift for celebrating, buying colleagues a cup of coffee once in a while… It’s a way of connecting and communication. “他很大方” (he is generous) is quite a compliment while “他是个铁公鸡” (he is a miser)is absolutely not a good comment.


2. 落汤鸡(luò tāng jī, a drenched chicken)



Many foreigners living in China are familiar with “汤” because it’s soup in Chinese. But “落汤鸡” here is not a chicken in the soup. “汤” has another meaning as hot water or hot spring which is commonly used in ancient Chinese.
So “落汤鸡”, generally, is an image of a poor chicken which has fallen into water. When people get caught in the rain or get wet in water, he/she looks embarrassed like a drenched chicken. “落汤鸡” is the metaphor used in such situations.



3. 打鸡血(dǎ jī xiě, to have injection of chicken blood)


“打” is to have injection. “血” is blood. “打鸡血” is to have injection of chicken blood. Of course we human beings to inject chicken blood is not true. Here we need to learn a popular saying that young Chinese people like to say when we are exhausted: 身体被抽空(the body is drained). So we need blood to bring us back to life. As for the question why it’s chicken blood, not human blood or any other blood, well, a story says that because someone found out that chicken had a higher temperature so he tried to inject its blood into his body and he felt energetic and excited.


4. 心灵鸡汤(xīn líng jī tāng, chicken soup for the soul)



“心灵鸡汤” is actually from English. “心灵” is soul and “鸡汤” is chicken soup. Chinese people believe that having chicken soup is a good way of nourishing, helping people with recovery and health maintaining. This may be one of the reasons why the word of “心灵鸡汤” is well accepted in China. It’s probably more important that we have to face with hardships and obstacles and we need help to keep the passion.


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Now on the Chinese website another type of “chicken soup” is drawing more and more attention especially among the young. It’s the “毒鸡汤” (dú jī tāng, the poisonous chicken soup). Quote: If you don’t try harder, you will never know what desperation is (不努力一下,你都不知道什么叫绝望).


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