常用中文成語英譯

Back to the Garden of English Idioms
 



說明

這裡所提供的中文成語的英文翻譯都是既有的、道地的英文成語我們不會去創造意思跟中文成語相近的英文翻譯 。所以,有些常見的中文成語在此並未列出,原因是截至目前還找不到意思對應的英文成語,或我們才疏學淺,還不知道有對應的英文成語存在。



11畫 12畫 13畫 14畫 15畫 16畫 17畫 18畫 19畫 20畫及以上

1~10畫



 
十一畫

張三李四;阿貓阿狗
every Tom, Dick, and Harry
It is not a smart idea to admit every Tom, Dick, and Harry to the party. (允許張三李四,隨便什麼人都可以參加派對,並不是個好主意)
Draw the curtains or we'll have every Tom, Dick, and Harry peeking in the window. (把窗簾拉上,否則隨便哪個阿貓阿狗都可以從窗戶偷窺)
I want a qualified plumber to do the job, not just any Tom, Dick, or Harry. (我需要一個合格的水電工來做這項工作,不是隨便哪個阿貓阿狗都可以)
 
甜言蜜語;恭維奉承
sweet talk
She uses sweet talk to get her way.
 
情人眼裡出西施
beauty is in the eye of the beholder; love is blind
You should remember, my dear, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
 
欲速則不達
more haste, less speed
"More haste, less speed," as the saying goes.
 
聊勝於無
half a loaf is better than none (or no bread)
The fund is not enough, but half a loaf is better than none.
 
捷足先登
the race is to the swift
I returned, and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. (我又轉念,見日光之下,快跑的未必能贏,力戰的未必得勝 -- 語出聖經)
 
敝帚自珍;言過其實
all his geese are swans
We all know John always says that all his geese are swans.
 
殺雞取卵;斷絕財路
kill the goose that lays the golden eggs
They sold part of their business but it was the most profitable part. I think that they have killed the goose that lays the golden eggs.
 
殺雞用牛刀;小題大作
break the butterfly on a/the wheel; take a sledgehammer to crack/break a walnut/nut
He's a person who usually breaks the butterfly on the wheel.
 
得寸進尺
give him an inch and he will take a mile/yard
He's such a person that you give him an inch and he will take a mile.

得意洋洋
walk/tread on air
Susan has been walking on air ever since she got the official letter that she's been accepted as a graduate student at the University of California.
 
患難見真情
a friend in need is a friend indeed
You came to my side when I was in trouble. A friend in need is a friend indeed.
 
動人心弦;扣人心弦
pull/tug at/on the/one's heartstrings
The book about the romance  between a young lady and an old man was one that really pulled at the heartstrings.
 
眾擎易舉;人多好辦事
many hands make light work
We need a few more volunteers to move the furniture -- many hands make light work, you know.
 
盛氣凌人;作威作福;擺架子
give oneself airs; lord it over
Because he has two big houses, he is always giving himself airs.
After Mary was elected president, she tried to lord it over the other girls.
 
畢恭畢敬;卑躬屈膝
bow and scrape; cap/hat in hand
In this fashionable store, the salespersons virtually bow and scrape before customers.
They went to her, hat in hand, asking for a change of assignment.
 
從容不迫;不慌不忙
take one's time
You can take your time altering that dress; I don't need it right away.
 
魚米之鄉
a land of milk and honey
Taiwan is a land of milk and honey.
 
這山望著那山高
the grass is greener on the other side of the hill/fence
Don't compare yourself with others. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Just do your best. (你不必去跟別人作比較,這山望著那山高,你只要盡最大努力去做好就可以了)
You might think you'd be happy if you were working in my company, but, well, the grass is greener on the other side. (你真是這山望著那山高,如果你來我的公司工作看看,你就知道你現在有多麼幸福了)
 
眾矢之的
an Aunt Sally
A number of institutions revered and respected in earlier times have become Aunt Sally for the present generation. (早期一些受到尊崇的制度,現在已成了這一代的眾矢之的)
Any public figure risks being made an Aunt Sally by the press. (任何公眾人物都有成為新聞界的眾矢之的的風險)
 
捧腹大笑;笑破肚皮;笑翻了天
(nearly, almost, etc.) split/burst one's sides (with laughter)
The members of the audience almost split their sides with laughter. (觀眾幾乎笑破了肚皮)
They nearly burst their sides when I told them my reason for being late. (當我說出我遲到的原因時,他們幾乎笑翻了天)
When I heard what happened to Patricia, I almost split my sides. (當我聽到派翠西亞所發生的事情時,我幾乎捧腹大笑)
 
動一根汗毛
harm a hair of someone's head
"My dear love," said the elder lady, as she folded the weeping girl in her bosom, "do you think I would harm a hair of his head?"  (「親愛的,」那位年長的夫人一邊說,一邊把那個哭泣的女孩摟在懷裡,「你想我會碰他一根汗毛嗎?」)-英國大文豪狄更斯 (Charles Dickens) 名著《孤雛淚》(Oliver Twist) 中的句子。
If the kidnapper harms a hair of my daughter's head, I'll kill him. (如果綁匪敢動我女兒一根汗毛,我就殺了他)
 
問道於盲
the blind leading the blind
John: Mike is helping me fill out my tax forms this year. (麥可今年要幫我填寫報稅表單)
Jane: Is he a tax expert? (他是稅務專家嗎?)
John: He read a book about income tax once. (他曾讀過一本所得稅方面的書)
Jane: Sounds to me like the blind leading the blind. (在我聽起來這好像問道於盲)

David offered to be my guide through Tokyo, but since he'd never been there before either, it was a case of the blind leading the blind. (大衛表示要當我到東京的導遊,但由於他以前也沒有去過東京,這是問道於盲,於事無補)

附註:這成語 通常位在 it is (a case of) 之後。
 

深藏不露
hide one's light under a bushel
I didn't know you could speak Arabic. You've been hiding your light under a bushel all these years. (我以前不知道你還會講阿拉伯語。這些年你可真是深藏不露)
 
眼冒金星;頭暈目眩
see stars
I saw stars for hours after I hit my head against a wall last night. (昨晚我頭撞倒牆壁後數小時,我都眼冒金星,頭暈目眩)
The door hit me in the face and saw stars for a moment
. (門撞在我的臉上,我頓時眼冒金星)
The pain made Anna see stars. (安娜痛得眼前直冒金星)
 
勒緊腰帶
tighten one's belt
Things are beginning to cost more and more. It looks like we'll all have to tighten our belts. (東西開始越來越貴。看來我們都要勒緊腰帶)
I've had to tighten my belt since I stopped working full time.
(自從我不再全職工作以來,我一直得勒緊腰帶過日子)
 
欲擒故縱
play hard to get
Why don't you return any of his calls? Are you playing hard to get? (為何妳都不回他的電話呢?妳是欲擒故縱嗎?)
Mandy said Cory was avoiding her, but maybe he was just playing hard to get. (曼蒂說,柯瑞都躲著她,但或許他只是欲擒故縱)
Penny said she would accept the job if it was offered rather than playing hard to get in the hope of being offered more money. (潘妮說,如果那份工作要給她,她寧可接受而不是欲擒故縱,以期獲得較高的薪資)
 
造化弄人;命運的捉弄;命運的安排
(by) a quirk of fate
A quirk of fate led her to work in the US and die in an uncanny car accident. (造化弄人,使她到美國工作而死於一場離奇的車禍中)
By a quirk of fate the couple booked into the same hotel after years of being apart. (命運的安排讓這對失散多年的戀人住進同一家旅館)
 
唯命是從;聽候差遣;任憑使喚
at someone's beck and call
Why am I at your beck and call? You're not my boss. (為什麼我要對你唯命是從呢?你又不是我老闆)
Paul was tired of being at his wife's beck and call all day long. (保羅已厭倦整天受他太太的使喚)
 
雪上加霜
add insult to injury
First, the basement flooded, and then, to add insult to injury, a pipe burst in the kitchen. (首先是地下室淹水,然後雪上加霜地,廚房的一根管子爆裂了)
My car barely started this morning, and to add insult to injury, I got a flat tire in the driveway. (今天早上我的車子差點發不動,而雪上加霜的是,車子在車道爆胎了)
 
毫不掩飾
make no bones about something
Mr. Huang made no bones about his dissatisfaction with the service in the restaurant. (黃先生毫不掩飾他對那家餐廳服務的不滿)
Tracy makes no bones about wanting Dillon to leave. (崔西毫不掩飾她想要狄隆離開)
 
異想天開
ask/cry for the moon
Don't ask for the moon. Be reasonable! (別異想天開。理智一點!)
We need not hope for higher salary in the future - that would be just asking for the moon. (我們不必期望將來薪資會提高 - 那不啻異想天開)
There's no point hoping for a permanent peace in the area. It's simply/only crying for the moon. (期望該地區永久和平是沒有用的。那簡直/只不過是異想天開)

附註:ask/cry for the moon 這個成語經常用進行式。

十二畫

蛛絲馬跡
hide or hair (通常以 "neither hide nor hair of" 的形式出現)
I haven't seen hide nor hair of the children. (or "I have seen neither hide nor hair of the children.")
 
短兵相接;肉搏戰
fight hand to hand (名詞:hand-to-hand fighting)
Scottish troops fixed bayonets and fought hand to hand with a Shi'ite militia in southern Iraq in one of their fiercest clashes since the war was declared.
 
混水摸魚
fish in muddy/troubled waters
He often buys up stock in companies declaring bankruptcy; fishing in troubled waters generally pays off.
 
畫蛇添足;多此一舉
gild the lily
Offering three different desserts after that elaborate meal would be gilding the lily.
 
提心吊膽;焦急萬分
have one's heart in one's mouth
When the plane was about to take off, my heart was in my mouth.
 
進退維谷;進退兩難
between the devil and the deep blue sea; between a rock and a hard place
I'm between the devil and the deep blue sea on this negotiation; I need a car, but not at these prices.
 
虛應故事;敷衍塞責;裝裝樣子
go through the motions
The team is so far behind that they're just going through the motions.
She didn't really grieve at his death; she just went through the motions.
 
進退兩難;進退維谷
between the devil and the deep blue see; between a rock and a hard place; between Scylla and Charybdis; in a cleft stick
Trying to please both my boss and his supervisor puts me between a rock and a hard place.
Because of new employment laws, these companies are caught in a cleft stick.

附註:在這四個成語中,between Scylla and Charybdis (Scylla 是一塊岩礁,Charybdis 是大漩渦) 最早出現,而 between a rock and a hard place 最晚出現 (1900 年代初期才出現)。
 
無與倫比;獨一無二
be in a class of one's/its own
He is in a class of his own as a computer expert.
 
無所不知
know all the answers (通常用在 "think one knows all the answers" 這個片語中)
He always think he knows all the answers and doesn't respect anybody else's opinion.
 
無憂無慮;活潑開朗
bright and breezy
She is a very bright and breezy sort of girl.
 
無稽之談;荒誕不經的故事
a cock-and-bull story; a tall story; an old wives' tale/story
Jack told us some cock-and-bull story about getting lost.
My sister's account of her adventures in Africa during the summer vacation sounds like a collection of tall stories.
Toads cause warts? That's an old wives' tale.
 
無風不起浪;無火不生煙
There's no smoke without fire
He's denied taking bribes, but there's no smoke without fire.
 
筋疲力盡
run out of steam
I have been working very hard on this project for months, but now I'm running out of steam.
 
喋喋不休 (而使人厭煩)
talk someone's head off
The woman beside me in the bus talked my head off during our journey.
 
悶悶不樂
down in the dumps/mouth
She's been down in the dumps ever since she lost the match.
What's wrong with him? He's so down in the mouth about everything.

 
焦躁不安;坐立不安
have ants in one's pants
This child just can't sit still; she must have ants in her pants.
 
棋逢對手;勢均力敵
diamond cut diamond
They have been playing chess from morning to night, because of diamond cutting diamond.
 
揮金如土
spend money like water
Miss Wang spends money like water - no wonder she's always broke.
 
晴天霹靂
a bolt from the blue
Bill's dropping his life insurance was a bolt from the blue for his wife.
 
發號施令
call the shots; call the tune
It's up to the boss to call the shots.
Mary
said that it's her turn to call the tune.
 
量入為出
cut one's coat according to one's cloth
You must cut your coat according to your cloth.
 
絞盡腦汁
rack one's brain(s); beat one's brains out
I've been racking my brain trying to recall where we put the key.
John's beating his brains out to finish this puzzle.
 
陽春白雪;曲高和寡
caviar to the general
Though more popular than it used to be, the opera is still caviar to the general.
 
童山濯濯
(as) bald as a coot
Nowadays more and more men are as bald as a coot.
A person who is completely bald is as bald as a coot.
 
惡有惡報
chickens come home to roost
Now that you're finally admitting your true age, no one believes you--chickens come home to roost.
 
惶惶不可終日;惶惶不安;忐忑不安
have kittens
When I heard the bad news, I began to have kittens. (聽到這壞消息後,我開始惶惶不安)
His mother nearly had kittens when Alex announced that he wanted to be a trapeze artist. (在艾立克斯宣布他想成為高空鞦韆表演人之後,他的母親幾乎惶惶不可終日)
 
循規蹈矩
(on) the straight and narrow
The police were surprised that such a trustworthy man, who had kept to the straight and narrow all his life, had committed such a high crime. (這樣一個一生循規蹈矩,值得信任的人,竟然犯下如此重大罪行,讓警方感到非常驚訝)
Lashing out at your children isn't ideal behavior for keeping them on the straight and narrow. (要使你的小孩循規蹈矩,嚴斥並非理想的作法)
 
貴人多忘事
have a memory/mind/head like a sieve
I was introduced to the manager twice, but I still cannot remember his name-I've got a memory like a sieve. (我曾兩次被介紹跟這位經理認識,但我仍記不住他的名字 - 我真是貴人多忘事)
I've never known anyone so forgetful-she's got a mind like a sieve. (我還沒見過這麼健忘的人 - 她的記性真差)
 
掌上明珠;心肝寶貝
the apple of someone's eye
The little girl is the apple of her mother's eye. (這小女孩是她母親的掌上明珠)
Henry is the apple of his grandfather's eye. (亨利是他爺爺的心肝寶貝)

附註:這成語不可寫成 the apple of the eye of someone,其中的 apple 原指「瞳孔」(pupil of the eye),表示某人對自己非常重要,猶如自己的眼珠一樣珍貴。這成語都位在 BE 動詞之後。
 
虛驚一場
a false alarm
John feared that he would not be able to pass the exam, but it was a false alarm. (約翰擔心考試不及格,結果只是虛驚一場)
Someone called to say there was a bomb inside the school, but it turned out to be a false alarm. (有人打電話來說,學校裡面有炸彈,結果只是虛驚一場)
 
集思廣益
put our/your/their heads together
If we put our heads together we'll figure out a way to deal with this problem. (如果我們集思廣益,我們會想出一個處理這問題的方法)
If they put their heads together I know they can definitely come up with a proposal that really works. (如果他們集思廣益,我知道他們肯定能提出一個真正管用的計畫)
 
寒氣逼人
a nip in the air
I felt a little nip in the air when I opened the window. (我打開窗戶時,覺得有點寒氣逼人)
There's more of a nip in the air as winter approaches. (隨著冬天逼近,寒氣更加逼人)
There's quite a nip in the air. I think you'll need your jacket on. (寒氣相當逼人。我想你需要穿外套)

十三畫

會吵的小孩有糖吃
the squeaky wheel gets the grease
No matter what table they give her, Helen generally insists on a better one and gets it--the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
 
禍不單行;不雨則已,雨則傾盆
it never rains but it pours
When troubles come together, we can say "It never rains but it pours."
 
酩酊大醉
(as) drunk as a lord; drunk as a fiddler or skunk
He came home drunk as a lord.
 
隔牆有耳
the walls have ears
Be careful what you say; the walls have ears.
 
歲月不饒人;歲月不待人
time and tide wait for no man
Let's get on with the voting; time and tide won't wait, you know.
 
預防勝於治療;亡羊補牢不如防患於未然
prevention is better than cure
More advice is needed on how to stay healthy because, as we all know, prevention is better than cure.
 
新官上任三把火
a new broom sweeps clean
Once he takes office, you can be sure the President will replace most of the people on the staff-- a new broom sweeps clean.
 
塞翁失馬,焉知非福
a blessing in disguise
Missing the train was a blessing in disguise, for if I hadn't, I wouldn't have met my future wife.
 
滄海一粟;九牛一毛
a drop in the bucket/ocean
These contributions are just a drop in the bucket; the new church wing will cost thousands more.
 
愛屋及烏
love me, love my dog
I had agreed to take my new job only on the condition that Mr. Wang remained at my right hand. "It's a case of love me, love my dog."
 
腰纏萬貫
made of money
Do you think I'm made of money?
 
誇大其詞
lay it on thick
He'd injured his hand slightly but he was laying it on a bit thick about how painful it was.
 
亂七八糟;七嘴八舌:眾說紛紜
at sixes and sevens
We've just moved in, and the office is still at sixes and sevens.
The new college admissions tests were poorly explained, leaving the students at sixes and sevens.
 
勢均力敵
neck and neck; it is even Stephen/Steven
The two are neck and neck in developing a new operating system for the computer.
The two leading candidates have an equal support rate -- it's even Stephen.

 
裝腔作勢
put on an act
We know you're a good swimmer -- stop putting on an act.
 
落井下石;乘人之危:雪上加霜
hit/kick a man/someone when he is down
Never hit a man when he's down.
 
微乎其微 (幾乎沒有)
next to nothing
She knows next to nothing about politics.
The city has done next to nothing about the parking problem.
 
腳踏實地
have/keep one's feet (set/planted) (firmly) on the ground
She is a girl who has her feet (planted firmly) on the ground.
 
溜之大吉;逃之夭夭;拔腿就逃
take to one's heels; show (someone) a clean pair of heels
The boys took to their heels when the farmer found them stealing his mangoes. (那些男孩在農民發現他們偷芒果時都溜之大吉了)
The criminal quickly showed the police a clean pair of heels when they found him with the stolen car. (當警察發現罪犯駕著那輛偷來的車子時,他飛快地逃之夭夭了)
 
誠實才是上策
honesty is the best policy
Mary: I borrowed Jane's white blouse without asking her, and then I spilled tomato sauce on it. Should I tell her what happened, or should I just put the blouse back in her closet and hope she won't notice? Teresa: Honesty is the best policy. (瑪麗:我沒先問珍就借了她的白襯衫,後來我把蕃茄醬弄在襯衫上。我該告訴她實情,還是就把襯衫放回她的衣櫥,希望她沒注意到呢? 泰瑞莎:誠實才是上策)
When I was a young boy, my father usually said that honesty was the best policy. (在我小時候,我父親經常說,誠實才是上策)
 
嗤之以鼻;不屑一顧
turn one's nose up at
I never turn my nose up at dessert, no matter what it is. (不管什麼甜點,我都不會嗤之以鼻)
Jim turned his nose up at Ann, and that hurt her feelings. (吉姆對安不屑一顧,這使她的感情很受傷)
 
傻人有傻福
fortune favors fools
"Fortune favors fools" means that foolish people often have a lot of good luck. ("Fortune favors fools" 的意思是「傻人有傻福」)
Popular belief claims that fortune favors fools. (一般普遍的看法都認為傻人有傻福)
 
意外之財
pennies from heaven
What many people in Taiwan want these dire days is pennies from heaven. (這陣子生活十分難過,台灣許多人都想要有意外之財)
 
裝瘋賣傻
act/play the goat
Stop acting the goat! (別裝瘋賣傻了!)
Allen is always acting the goat; I never know when to take him seriously. (艾倫老是裝瘋賣傻;我根本不知道什麼時候才能把他當真)
 
遍體鱗傷 (青一塊,紫一塊)
black and blue
His son was beaten black and blue at the boarding school. (他兒子在寄宿學校被打得遍體鱗傷)
Her whole body was black and blue after she had fallen down. (她摔了下來,跌得渾身青一塊,紫一塊)
 
當眾出醜;出洋相
make an exhibition of oneself
Whenever Mary sings, she makes an exhibition of herself. (瑪麗每次唱歌都大出洋相)
If Rudy keeps on drinking he's going to end up making an exhibition of himself! (如果魯迪繼續喝酒,他終將當眾出醜!)
 
腹背受敵
between two fires
In family quarrels Kevin's often between two fires – his mother-in-law crying at him on one side and his wife shouting at him on the other. (在家庭爭吵中,凱文常常腹背受敵 - 一方是他岳母對他喊叫,另一方是他太太對他叫嚷)
The president was caught between two fires during last election. (總統在上次選舉中腹背受敵)
 
禍不單行;雙重打擊
double whammy
Robert: Dude, I just got fired and you know I got divorced yesterday. (老兄,我剛被炒魷魚,你知道我昨天才離婚)
Sam: Double whammy! (禍不單行!)
Critics claim that the cuts in public spending coupled with a pay freeze is a double whammy which will affect low-paid workers badly. (批評人士宣稱,削減公共支出加上凍結薪資,是雙重打擊,將嚴重影響低薪勞工)
 
道貌岸然;表面上一副忠厚老實相;一臉無辜相
butter wouldn't melt in one's mouth
Professor Lee always looks as if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. (李教授看起來總是一副道貌岸然的樣子)
Mary: How can you suspect Sam of playing that practical joke on you? He looks so innocent. (瑪麗:妳怎麼可以懷疑山姆對妳惡作劇呢? 他看起來這麼無辜)
Wendy: Yes, butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, I'm sure. (溫蒂:是啊,我肯定他是一臉無辜相)
 
腳踏兩條船
have/keep a foot in both camps
Many big corporations have a foot in both camps by donating to both KMT and DPP at the same time. (許多大公司腳踏兩條船,同時捐款給國民黨和民進黨)
The developers, who favor more construction, and the environmentalists, who oppose it, are always two competing interests. Yet the mayor has managed to give each of them something they want. He always keeps a foot in both camps. (主張多蓋房子的開發商和反對多蓋房子的環保人士,永遠是兩個對抗的利益團體。但市長讓兩派力量都得到了一些好處,兩邊都不得罪)

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十四畫

壽終正寢
die in one's bed
Her father died in his bed last night.
 
對牛彈琴
cast pearls before swine
The old professor felt that lecturing on semiotics to undergraduates would be casting pearls before swine.
 
截然不同
(as) different as chalk and cheese
I don't have anything in common with my brother. We're different as chalk and cheese.
 
維妙維肖;栩栩如生
to the life
John can copy his teacher's manner of speaking to the life.
 
精打細算;省吃儉用
scrimp and save
For years we had to scrimp and save, but now we can enjoy life more.
 
精疲力竭
flat out
He was flat out after his night's work.
 
說曹操,曹操就到
speak of the devil
Why, speak of the devil -- there's Amy.

附註:這成語是從 "Speak of the devil and he's sure to appear." 縮略而來
 
需要乃發明之母
Necessity is the mother of invention
The first prisoner to tie together bedsheets to escape knew that necessity was the mother of invention.
 
養尊處優
live off the fat of the land
The tiny upper class lived off the fat of the land while many of the poor were starving.
 
種瓜得瓜,種豆得豆
As you sow so shall you reap
As you sow so shall you reap. I'm a firm believer that we create our destiny.
 
竭盡全力;全力以赴
do one's level best; with (all one's) might and main
I was convinced that he did his level best to find a new girlfriend.
She pulled on the rope with all her might and main.

附註:"with might and main" 這成語算是累贅,因為 might 和 main (名詞) 都意為「力量」(strength or power)
 
銖兩悉稱;半斤八兩;不相上下
six of one and half a dozen of the other
I say she's a stewardess. She says she's a flight attendant. It's six of one and a half dozen of the other.
 
蒸蒸日上;竿頭日進
on the up and up (also, on the up-and-up)
Our business is on the up and up. (我們的生意蒸蒸日上)
From now on everything is on the up-and-up. (從現在起,一切都會越來越好)

附註:on the up and up 這個成語在英式英語中意為「蒸蒸日上;竿頭日進」,但在美式英語 (口語) 卻意為「誠實的,正直的 (honest);可靠的,值得信賴的 (trustworthy)」,如 Mary, don't think everyone is on the up and up with you. There are dishonest people around. (瑪麗,不要以為每個人都對你很誠實。有些人是不誠實的 )。
 
盡地主之誼
do the honors
You do the honors and pour out the tea while I bring in the cakes. (你盡一下地主之誼,給客人倒茶,我去把糕餅拿來)
He was asked to do the honors during his best friend's wedding. (在他最要好朋友的婚禮上,他被請求招待賓客)
 
墓木已拱
dead and gone
My father's been dead and gone for quite a spell. (我父親墓木已拱)
When I'm dead and gone, I hope folks remember me at my best. (當我墓木已拱時,我希望人們記得我在最輝煌、最風光的時候)
 
寧為雞首,不為牛後
Better be the head of a dog than the tail of a lion
Elton: I can be the headmaster of a small senior high school, or I can be a teacher at a famous university. Which job offer do you think I should take? (艾爾頓:我可以擔任一所小型高中的校長或擔任一所著名大學的教師。妳認為我該接受那項聘用通知呢?)
Renee: Better be the head of a dog than the tail of a lion. (蕾妮:寧為雞首,不為牛後)
A large multinational corporation had asked Simon to work for it, but he elected to stay with his small company as Executive Vice President, since he thought it better to be the head of a dog than the tail of a lion. (一家跨國大企業已邀請賽蒙去任職,但他選擇繼續留在他現在的小公司擔任執行副總,因為他認為寧為雞首,不為牛後)

十五畫

熟能生巧
practice makes perfect
I've knit at least a hundred sweaters, but in my case practice hasn't made perfect.
 
暴跳如雷
hopping mad
I was hopping mad when they left my name off the list.
 
徹頭徹尾;完完全全
to the backbone; first and last
He is naive to the backbone.
She was an artist first and last.
 
墨守成規;蹈常襲故
keep to the beaten track
His boss told him to keep to the beaten track and not use any new ideas until the company became established.
 
廚師多了煮壞湯;老大多了撐翻船
too many cooks spoil the broth (有時略作:too many cooks)
If someone says, "Too many cooks spoil the broth," he/she means that your work will be more efficient if you use fewer people. (如果有人說 "Too many cooks spoil the broth",他或她的意思是說,你的工作若用比較少的人來做,會比較有效率)
Our director never asks more than 10 people to work with him in his projects, and he wants the best 10. He always says, "Too many cooks spoil the broth." (我們主任從未要求 10 人以上來參與他的企畫案,他要的是最佳 10 人組。他常說「廚師多了煮壞湯」)
 
寬以待人如待己; 自己活,也讓別人活
live and let live
I don't care what they do! Live and let live, I always say. (我不介意他們做什麼! 我經常說,寬以待人如待己)
His parents are strict. Mine just live and let live. (他的父母嚴以待人。我的雙親則是寬以待人如待己)
 
黎明即起
rise (or be up) with the lark
Fewer and fewer people like rising with the lark. (越來越少人喜歡黎明即起)
I'm not used to being up with the lark. (我不習慣早起)
 
樂天知命;無憂無慮;逍遙自在
happy-go-lucky
Kevin is not a happy-go-lucky kind of person. (凱文不是那種樂天知命的人)
Alison is the most happy-go-lucky person I've ever met. (愛麗森是我所見過最樂天知命的人)
 
標新立異;獨樹一幟;別具一格;自成一家
march to (the beat of) a different drummer
Ida has had a lot of great new ideas since she started marching to a different drummer. (自從艾達開始標新立異以後,她一直有許多很棒的新點子)
James is marching to the beat of a different drummer, and he doesn't associate with us anymore. (詹姆士逐漸獨樹一幟,現在不再跟我們來往了)

附註:march to (the beat of) a different drummer 主要為美國成語,字面意思為「隨著不同鼓手的節拍行進或齊步走」。英式英語是以 march to a different tune 來表達相同的意思。

十六畫

獨佔鰲頭;首屈一指;出人頭地
bear (or carry off) the palm
He carried off the palm by sheer perseverance.
 
興風作浪;惹是生非
make waves
We've finally settled our differences, so please don't make waves.
 
興高采烈;喜不自勝
bright-eyed and bushy-tailed; full of the joys of spring
Here is my new kindergarten class, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
He bounced into the office, full of the joys of spring.
 
隨心所欲;一意孤行;自行其是 (想怎樣就怎樣)
be a law unto oneself; have it one's (own) way
You can't tell Mary how to punctuate; she's a law unto herself.
Oh, have it your own way — I'm tired of arguing.
 
隨波逐流;隨遇而安
swim/drift/go with the tide/current/stream
Bill doesn't have a mind of his own; he just swims with the tide.

附註:這成語的相反詞,即「不隨波逐流」,叫做 "swim/go against the tide/current/stream"
 
隨風轉舵;隨機應變
trim one's sails (before/to the wind)
His advisers told him to trim his sails before he alienated voters and bungled the election completely.
 
曇花一現;虎頭蛇尾
a flash in the pan
His second novel proved to be a flash in the pan.
We had high hopes for the new director, but she was a flash in the pan.
 
戰戰兢兢;提心吊膽;膽戰心驚
in fear and trembling
I went to him in fear and trembling to seek his acceptance of my apology for my rude remarks.
 
擅離職守;不告而別
take French leave
Is Randy really ill again, or is he just taking French leave?
 
謀事在人,成事在天
Man proposes, God disposes
My father usually says that man proposes, God disposes.
 
擠眉弄眼;送秋波 (尤指女人對男人放電)
flutter one's eyelashes at
All through the meal his wife was fluttering her eyelashes at the man sitting at the next table. (在整個吃飯過程中,他的太太一直對鄰桌一名男子擠眉弄眼)
She even very often fluttered her eyelashes at me. How could I resist? (她甚至對我頻送秋波。我怎能抗拒呢?)
 
頭上長瘡,腳底流膿 - 壞透了,爛透了
rotten to the core
The whole family are rotten to the core. (這一家人全都頭上長瘡,腳底流膿,壞透了)
Bill said that Kevin is evil to the core. (比爾說,凱文壞透了)
This organization is rotten to the core. (這個組織爛透了)
 
隨機應變
play it by ear
I'm not sure how long I'll stay at the party. I'll just play it by ear. (我不確定我會在派對停留多久。我會隨機應變)
I haven't decided what to say when he comes; I'll play it by ear. (我還沒決定他來時要說什麼,到時隨機應變吧)

附註:play it by ear 原意為聽過樂曲後不看樂譜僅憑記憶演奏。
 
錦上添花
(the) icing on the cake
Tony was delighted to have his story published – getting paid for it was just icing on the cake. (東尼很高興他的故事能被出版 - 因此而獲得報酬只是錦上添花)
We're really happy playing in Taipei, and if we win on Sunday that will be the icing on the cake. (我們真的很高興能來台北比賽,如果我們星期天獲勝的話,那就錦上添花了)

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十七畫

嚎啕大哭;痛哭流涕
cry buckets
I cry buckets every time I watch this drama.
 
輾轉反側
toss and turn; twist and turn
I was in the hope that I had a good night's sleep but instead twisted and turned all night long because I was worried about my job. (我希望一夜好眠,但由於擔心自己的工作,反而整晚輾轉反側,難以成眠)
Bernard was tossing and turning all night. (柏納德整晚輾轉反側,難以成眠)

 
膽小如鼠;不敢得罪人
would/could/will not say boo to a goose
His wife used to say he would not say boo to a goose.
 
膽大包天;膽大妄為;厚顏無恥
(as) bold as brass
No one had invited her to the wedding, but she showed up at the church, bold as brass.
 
禮尚往來;善有善報;好心有好報
one good turn deserves another
He fixed my bike so I let him use my computer. One good turn deserves another. (他修理我的腳踏車,所以我讓他用我的電腦。禮尚往來嘛!)
One good turn deserves another so we made a great effort to help those people who had helped us in the past. (善有善報! 所以我們盡了最大努力來幫助過去曾經幫助過我們的人)
 
聰明伶俐
(as) bright as a button
My little son's as bright as a button.
 
瞠目結舌
someone's eyes (nearly/almost/practically) popped out of one's head
My sister showed me the ring Jim gave her, and my eyes popped out of my head. It was so beautiful. (我姊姊給我看吉姆送她的戒指,我驚訝地瞠目結舌。戒指真是太漂亮了)
When he told me how much money he was earning, my eyes almost popped out of my head. (當他告訴我他賺多少錢時,我驚訝地瞠目結舌)

十八畫

謹言慎行;循規蹈矩;小心行事
mind one's P's and Q's
Their grandmother often told the children to mind their p's and q's.
 
覆水難收
don't cry over spilt milk; it is no use crying over spilt milk
The papers you wanted went out in last week's trash, so don't cry over spilt milk.
 
歸根結柢
when/after all is said and done
When all's said and done, the doctors did what they could for John, but he was too ill to survive.
 
轉石 (或滾石) 不生苔; 轉業不聚財
a rolling stone gathers no moss
Kate's lived in ten cities in as many years, so I don't think the saying "a rolling stone gathers no moss" means anything to her.
 
鎮定自若;泰然自若;不動聲色
keep one's countenance
Under the circumstances it is hard for him to keep his countenance.
 
舊瓶(裝)新酒
put new wine in/into old bottles
Our organization is a brand-new one, so you can present any new ideas. You will never meet with putting new wine into old bottles. (我們是個全新的機構,所以你可以提出任何新的構想,絕不會碰到舊瓶裝新酒的情況)

附註:這成語比喻雖力求革新,但仍無法掙脫桎梏,只能拘泥在舊有的模式或制度裡表現新意。
 

雜亂無章;亂成一團; 亂象叢生;凌亂不堪
in a shambles
Sarah made a (complete) shambles of the accounts. (莎拉把帳目記得雜亂無章)
The meeting ended in a complete shambles. (會議結束時亂成一團)
Corruption has left the country's economy in a shambles. (貪污腐敗已使這國家的經濟亂象叢生)
 
舊事重提 (尤指不愉快的往事)
rake over the ashes/coals
There's no point in raking over the ashes - all that happened twenty years ago, and there's nothing we can do about it now. (舊事重提已沒什麼意義了 - 那一切都發生在二十年前,現在我們也無能為力了)
His wife always rakes over the coals of their old unpleasant things when she is angry. (他太太一生氣就會將他們之間不愉快的往事重新搬出來)

十九畫

懲一儆百;以儆效尤
make an example of
The teacher made an example of the boy she caught cheating.
The judge imposed a tough sentence to make an example of the car thieves.

 
譁眾取寵
camp it up; play to the gallery
Amateur actors often camp it up, trying to be more dramatic.
He peppers his speeches with humor and wisecracks about his opponent, clearly playing to the gallery.
 
懷恨在心
hold/bear/have a grudge (against someone)
She holds a grudge against the judge who sentenced her. (她對判她刑的法官懷恨在心)
Billy still has a grudge against Mary because she refused to go out with him years ago. (比利對瑪麗仍懷恨在心,因為多年前她拒絕跟他交往)

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二十畫及以上

顯而易見;一清二楚
(as) plain as day; (as) plain as the nose on your face; (as) plain as a pikestaff
It's plain as day that they must sell their house before they can buy another.
It's plain as the nose on your face that she's lying.
 
歡天喜地
on cloud nine
He was on cloud nine after winning the marathon.
 
囊空如洗;一文不名;一貧如洗
not have two halfpennies to rub together
When my dad left us we did not have two halfpennies to rub together.
 
露出馬腳;洩漏天機
give the game away
We were trying to pretend we didn't know it was her birthday but David gave the game away.
 
轟動一時;一鳴驚人;名噪一時
make a noise in the world
He seemed very eager to make a noise in the world.
 
變化無常;反覆無常;朝三暮四
chop and change
After six months of chopping and changing, we've decided to go back to our old system.
 
鐵石心腸
(as) hard/tough as nails
Don't ask her for a contribution--she's hard as nails.
 
響徹雲霄;震天價響
rend the skies/air
Patriotic songs rend the air at the boot camp.
 
驕兵必敗;驕者必敗
pride goes before a fall
You must learn to be modest because pride goes before a fall. (你必須學習謙虛,因為驕兵必敗)
Susan: I'm the best student in my history class. I'm sure I can pass the exam without studying very hard. Sam: Be careful. Pride goes before a fall, you know. (蘇珊:我是我們班上歷史課最優秀的學生。我確信我不用太用功就可通過考試。山姆:當心哦! 驕者必敗)
 
蠟燭兩頭燒 (過度耗費精力)
burn the candle at both ends
You look very tired today. Have you been burning the candle at both ends? (你 今天看起來疲憊不堪。是不是過度勞累了?)
He has been burning the candle at both ends with his work and his studies. (為了兼顧工作和學業,他一直蠟燭兩頭燒)
 
寶刀未老;老當益壯
there's life in the old dog yet
Bill: I heard your grandpa will marry a woman who is 30. He's already 85! (比爾:我聽說你爺爺要娶一名 30 歲的女子。他已經 85 歲了!)
Jack: There's life in the old dog yet. (傑克:他寶刀未老)
I may be 90 but there's life in the old dog yet. (我也許 90 歲,但我老當益壯)

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