Winter is here and it’s really cold outside. Why not make yourself a warm cup of tea or coffee, get cozy and grab a notebook to learn these idioms? 

Here are five useful winter-themed Chinese idioms.

  1. 1 冰天雪地 (Bīng tiān xuě dì)

    Icy roads

    冰天雪地 is commonly used to describe the cold outside. However, it should only be used when it’s extremely cold outside or when there is ice or snow on the ground. 

    冰 (bīng) is ice. / 天 (tiān) is sky. / 雪 (xuě) is snow. / 地 (dì) is ground.

    To use it in a sentence, you would say:


    (Nǐ jiù zài zhè'er děng ba, bié chū qù le. Wài miàn bīng tiān xuě dì de, nǐ qù nǎ'er?) 

    The English translation is, “You should stay right here; don’t go outside. Why go outside? It’s freezing!”

  2. 2 寒风刺骨 (Hán fēng cì gǔ)

    Windy winters

    When it is windy and cold outside, you should use 寒风刺骨 to describe the weather. The wind has to be so cold it feels as if the wind is “cutting into your bones.” 

    寒 (hán) is winter. / 风 (fēng) is wind. / 刺 (cì) is to pierce. / 骨 (gǔ) is bone. 

    It is really easy to use this phrase in a sentence. For example, you can say: 


    (Xiàn zài rì rì hán fēng cì gǔ, wǒ bù dōu gǎn chū mén le) 

    In English, this sentence means, “The wind is bone-chilling every day. I don’t want to go out!” 

  3. 3 大雪纷飞 (Dà xuě fēn fēi)


    大雪纷飞 is definitely the idiom you want to use to describe a blizzard or heavy snow. It doesn’t describe the wind; this idiom captures the image of lots of snow in the air. 

    大 (dà) is big. / 雪 (xuě) is snow. / 纷 (fēn) is numerous. / 飞 (fēi) is to fly. 

    To use 大雪纷飞 in a sentence, you can say: 


    (zài zhè dà xuě fēn fēi de tiān qì lǐ, wǒ men zuì hǎo dāi zài jiā lǐ) 

    In English, this sentence means, “In this snowy weather, it is better if we stay at home.” 

  4. 4 雪中送炭 (Xuě zhōng sòng tàn)

    Helping each otherThe three idioms above were all describing winter in different ways. However, 雪里送炭 doesn’t describe winter. 

    Literally this idiom means to give someone coal in the snow. However, figuratively it means someone gave you support, whether physical or mental, at the right time. 

    雪 (xuě) is snow. / 中 (zhōng) is during. / 送 (sòng) is to give. / 炭 (tàn) is coal.

    To use this idiom in a sentence, you can say: 


    (xiè xiè nǐ de bāng zhù, zhēn shi xuě zhōng sòng tàn)

    In English this sentence means, “Thank you so much for your help. It was like receiving coal during the dead of winter!”

  5. 5 冰雪聪明 (Bīng xuě cōng míng)

    A young girlIf someone describes you as 冰雪聪明, it is a great compliment. This idiom means you are extraordinarily smart and as pure as ice and snow. It is most commonly used to describe females. 

    冰 (bīng) is ice. / 雪 (xuě) is snow. / 聪 (cōng) is clever. / 明 (míng) is bright.

    If you want to sound more eloquent, you can an extra “oomph” by using this idiom. For example, when describing someone, you can say: 


    (tā shì yī gè bīng xuě cōng míng de nǚ hái, hěn zhāo rén xǐ huān) 

    In English this sentence means, “She is a very smart and clever girl. She will be loved by many.”

    Now you can describe all sorts of winter weather conditions. Let us know what other idioms you would like to learn!

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Amie Lin

Amie Lin is currently attending Hunter College double majoring in Mandarin and Media Studies. She is such a foodie and loves Chinese dramas.
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