"But" • Chinese-English Dictionary

CHARACTERS : Simplified Traditional
PHONETIC : Pinyin Bopomofo EFEO Wade-Giles Yale
» Search by Radical
 dàn shì but / however
 bù guò only / merely / no more than / but / however / anyway (to get back to a previous topic) / cannot be more (after adjectival)
 kě shì but / however / (used for emphasis) indeed
 rán ér however / yet / but
 ér and / as well as / and so / but (not) / yet (not) / (indicates causal relation) / (indicates change of state) / (indicates contrast)
 zé (conjunction used to express contrast with a previous clause) but / then / standard / norm / principle / to imitate / to follow / classifier for written items
 què but / yet / however / while / to go back / to decline / to retreat / nevertheless / even though
 zhǐ shì merely / simply / only / but
 dàn but / yet / however / only / merely / still
 dì (prefix indicating ordinal number, e.g. first, number two etc) / order / (old) rank in the imperial examinations / mansion / (literary) but / just
 ér qiě (not only ...) but also / moreover / in addition / furthermore
 bù jǐn not only (this one) / not just (...) but also
 bù dàn not only (... but also...)
 bù dé bù have no choice or option but to / cannot but / have to / can't help it / can't avoid
 zhǐ bu guò only / merely / nothing but / no more than / it's just that ...
 zhǐ dé to have no alternative but to / to be obliged to
 bù yóu de can't help / cannot but
 yào bu shì if it were not for / but for
 yā tou girl / servant girl / (used deprecatingly, but sometimes also as a term of endearment)
 bù néng bù have to / cannot but
 qián shuǐ to dive / to go under water / lurker (Internet slang for sb who reads forum posts but never replies)
 fǎn dào but on the contrary / but expectedly
 bù yào jǐn unimportant / not serious / it doesn't matter / never mind / it looks all right, but
 bù miào (of a turn of events) not too encouraging / far from good / anything but reassuring
 bù dé yǐ to act against one's will / to have no alternative but to / to have to / to have no choice / must
 yí sì to be suspected to be / deceptive / plausible but fallacious
 lì bù cóng xīn less capable than desirable (idiom) / not as strong as one would wish / the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak
 hǎo huà friendly advice / words spoken on sb's behalf / a good word / kind words / words that sound fine but are not followed up with actions
 xiǎn wéi rén zhī rarely known to anyone (idiom) / almost unknown / secret to all but a few
 míng tang item (in a program of entertainments) / trick (act of mischief) / worthwhile result / accomplishment / sth significant but not immediately apparent / sth more than meets the eye
 fǎn guān by contrast / but as for this... / viewed from another angle / subjectively / introspection
 bù wài hū nothing else but
使 jié dù shǐ Tang and Song dynasty provincial governor, in Tang times having military and civil authority, but only civil authority in Song
 yì qǔ tóng gōng different tunes played with equal skill (idiom) / different methods leading to the same result / different approach but equally satisfactory outcome
 qiú zhī bù dé lit. seek but fail to get (idiom) / fig. exactly what one’s been looking for
 chòu dòu fu stinky tofu / strong-smelling preserved beancurd / fig. rough exterior but lovable person
 qīng pín poor but upright / destitute
 wú dú yǒu ǒu not alone but in pairs (idiom, usually derog.) / not a unique occurrence / it's not the only case
 huā yán qiǎo yǔ graceful words, flowery speech (idiom) / elegant but insincere words / cheating wheedling / dishonest rhetoric
 Jiǎ Bǎo yù Jia Baoyu, male character in The Dream of Red Mansions, in love with his cousin Lin Daiyu 林黛玉 / but obliged to marry Xue Baochai 薛寶釵|薛宝钗
 lǎo bù sǐ (derog.) old but still alive / old fart / old bastard
 sì shì ér fēi apparently right but actually wrong / specious (idiom)
 zhì biāo to treat only the symptoms but not the root cause
 yì mǔ (of siblings) having the same father but different mothers
 Guāng gùn jié Singles' Day (November 11), originally a day of activities for single people, but now also the world's biggest annual retail sales day
 huá ér bù shí flower but no fruit (idiom) / handsome exterior but hollow inside / flashy
 qīng chū yú lán lit. green is born of blue, but beats blue (idiom) / fig. the student becomes superior to the master / same as couplet 青出於藍,而勝於藍|青出于蓝,而胜于蓝
 wò xīn cháng dǎn lit. to lie on firewood and taste gall (idiom) / fig. suffering patiently, but firmly resolved on revenge
 bó lì duō xiāo small profit but rapid turnover
 yán bù yóu zhōng to say sth without meaning it (idiom) / to speak tongue in cheek / saying one thing but meaning sth different
 huò bù dān xíng misfortune does not come singly (idiom) / it never rains but it pours
 qīng kǔ destitute but honest / poor and simple / spartan / austere
 bù tòng bù yǎng lit. doesn't hurt, doesn't tickle (idiom) / sth is wrong, but not quite sure what / fig. not getting to any matter of substance / scratching the surface / superficial / perfunctory
 dào tiē to lose money instead of being paid (i.e. sb should pay me, but is actually taking my money)
 kě yù bù kě qiú can be discovered but not sought (idiom) / one can only come across such things serendipitously
 dé guò qiě guò satisfied just to get through (idiom) / to muddle through / without high ambitions, but getting by
 hǔ tóu shé wěi lit. tiger's head, snake's tail (idiom) / fig. a strong start but weak finish
 xīn yǒu yú ér lì bù zú the will is there, but not the strength (idiom) / the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak
 hào chī lǎn zuò happy to partake but not prepared to do any work (idiom) / all take and no give
 Chǔ cí Chu Ci, the Songs of Chu (ancient book of poems, collected during Han but esp. from country of Chu c. 500 BC)
 sì shě wǔ rù to round up to the nearest integer / to discard four, but treat five as whole (of decimal points)
 mēn sāo (coll.) outwardly cold or retiring but deep and passionate inside
 yǒu míng wú shí lit. has a name but no reality (idiom) / exists only in name / nominal
 kě wàng ér bù kě jí in sight but unattainable (idiom) / inaccessible
 wéi lì shì tú to seek nothing but profit (idiom) / personal profit before everything / self-seeking
 huàn tāng bù huàn yào different broth but the same old medicine (idiom) / a change in name only / a change in form but not in substance
 fù shěng jí sub-provincial (not provincial status, but independent)
 huā jià zi attractive appearance, but without substance
 zhāo sān mù sì lit. say three in the morning but four in the evening (idiom) / to change sth that is already settled upon / indecisive / to blow hot and cold
 lǎo dāng yì zhuàng old but vigorous (idiom) / hale and hearty despite the years
 yáng fèng yīn wéi outward devotion but inner opposition (idiom) / to pay lip service / to agree overtly, but oppose in secret
 diào bāo to steal sb's valuable item and substitute a similar-looking but worthless item / to sell a fake for the genuine article / to palm off
 mào hé shén lí the appearance of unity, but divided at heart (idiom) / seeming harmony belies underlying disagreement
 páng xì collateral relative (descended from a common ancestor but through different lines)
 dōng shī xiào pín lit. Dong Shi imitates Xi Shi's frown (idiom) / fig. to mimick sb's idiosyncrasies but make a fool of oneself
 wàn biàn bù lí qí zōng many superficial changes but no departure from the original stand (idiom) / plus ça change, plus ça reste la mème chose
 tiān wǎng huī huī lit. heaven's net has wide meshes, but nothing escapes it (idiom, from Laozi 73) / fig. the way of Heaven is fair, but the guilty will not escape / you can't run from the long arm of the law
 huā quán xiù tuǐ flowery of fist with fancy footwork (idiom) / highly embellished and ineffectual / fancy but impractical skills / all show and no go / pugilistic wankery
广 dì guǎng rén xī vast, but sparsely populated
 wài qiáng zhōng gān strong in appearance but weak in reality (idiom)
 tīng ér bù wén to hear but not react (idiom) / to turn a deaf ear / to ignore deliberately
 xū yǒu qí biǎo looks impressive but is worthless (idiom) / not as good as it looks / a reputation with no substance
 bǎo dāo wèi lǎo treasure knife does not age (idiom) / old but still vigorous
 bàn lǎo xú niáng middle-aged but still attractive woman / lady of a certain age
 gāo bù chéng dī bù jiù can't reach the high or accept the low (idiom) / not good enough for a high post, but too proud to take a low one
 chàng gāo diào to sing the high part / to speak fine sounding but empty words (idiom)
 dà ér wú dàng grandiose but impractical (idiom) / large but of no real use
 yǒu shǐ wú zhōng to start but not finish (idiom) / to fail to carry things through / lack of sticking power / short attention span
 gǎn nù ér bù gǎn yán angry, but not daring to speak out (idiom) / obliged to remain silent about one's resentment / unable to voice objections
 yǒu kǒu wú xīn to speak harshly but without any bad intent (idiom)
 zhào māo huà hǔ lit. drawing a tiger using a cat as a model (idiom) / fig. to follow a model and get things more or less right but without capturing the spirit of the subject / uninspired imitation
 yīn lòu jiù jiǎn crude but simple methods (idiom) / use whatever methods you can / to do things simply and thriftily / It's not pretty but it works.
 āi yàn plaintive and beautiful / melancholy but gorgeous
 dǎng tóng fá yì to be narrowly partisan / to unite with those of the same views but alienate those with different views
 zhōng ruǎn zhongruan or alto lute, like pipa 琵琶 / but bigger and lower range
 sàng to lose sth abstract but important (courage, authority, one's life etc) / to be bereaved of (one's spouse etc) / to die / disappointed / discouraged
 rèn annealed / pliable but strong / tough / tenacious
 liū quick-fry / sim. to stir-frying, but with cornstarch added / also written 溜
 lei sentence-final particle similar to 了[le5], but carrying a tone of approval
 fěi want but cannot speak
Chinese Tones