Have you heard “wind” 风(fēnɡ) used in Chinese in different situations? “Wind” 风(fēnɡ) can have many meanings where it doesn’t mean real wind but meaningful idioms which imply humor and history. Here are some commonly used idioms with “wind” 风(fēnɡ).
1. xī běi fēnɡ
西 北 风 (Northwest wind)
The picture illustrates well the idea of the idiom. The expression is to 喝西北风(hē xī běi fēng), which means to starve and have no food. Let’s see a conversation between a couple to explain the how to use it and what it means.
wife ： Zhè ɡe yuè nǐ zhènɡ duō shǎo qián ？
这 个 月 你 挣 多 少 钱 ？ (How much money you earned in this month?)
husband ： Yì qiān kuài 。
一 千 块 。(One thousand.)
wife: Nà wǒ men zhǐ nénɡ hē xī běi fēnɡ le 。
那 我 们 只 能 喝 西 北 风 了 。(Well, we can only drink northwest wind in literal meaning but this sentence means we have nothing to eat or it is too hard for us to survive)
2. dōnɡ fēnɡ
东 风 (East wind)
We have a phrase “万(wàn) 事(shì) 俱(jù) 备(bèi) ， 只(zhǐ) 欠(qiàn) 东(dōnɡ) 风(fēnɡ)”，which means that everything is ready except the east wind literally. But the actual meaning is that everything is ready except one important condition.
E.g. Xiàn zài tā wàn shì jù bèi ， zhǐ qiàn dōnɡ fēnɡ ， tā de tuán duì
现 在 她 万 事 俱 备 ， 只 欠 东 风 ， 她 的 团 队
jiānɡ kāi shǐ ɡù yōnɡ ɡènɡ duō de yuán ɡōnɡ 。
将 开 始 雇 佣 更 多 的 员 工 。
Now that he has all but done so, his team will start to hire more staff.
3. ěr pánɡ fēnɡ
耳 旁 风 (The wind around ears)
“耳(ěr) 旁(pánɡ) 风(fēnɡ)” means someone who does not take other people’s advice, criticism or suggestion. Let’s see what are they talking about between A and B.
A： wǒ yǐ jīnɡ ɡào su ɡuò nǐ bú yào zhè yànɡ zuò le 。
我 已 经 告 诉 过 你 不 要 这 样 做 了 。 (I have told you not to do like this.)
B： shì de ， duì bù qǐ 。
是 的 ， 对 不 起 。 (Yes, I am sorry.)
A ： qǐnɡ nǐ yǐ hòu bú yào bǎ wǒ de huà dànɡ zuò ěr pánɡ fēnɡ,
hǎo mɑ ？
请 你 以 后 不 要 把 我 的 话 当 做 耳 旁 风 , 好 吗 ？
(Which is “Please do not take my words as the wind around your ears in the future, ok?.” for literal meaning. It means that you should take my advice in future.)
B: hǎo de ， yí dìnɡ 。
好 的 ， 一 定 。(Ok, sure.)
When you master these usages for “wind”, that means you can speak native Chinese idioms like a local Chinese person. We hope this has been useful and good luck on your Chinese learning.