12 Chinese Idioms About Rabbits

The year 2023 is the Year of the Water Rabbit, the fourth animal in the Chinese 12 animal zodiac chart. The Year of the Water Rabbit comes every sixty years, as there are five elements altogether: wood, fire, earth, metal, water, each taking turn every twelve years.

chinese idioms about rabbits

Here are twelve Chinese idioms that use the word ‘rabbit’:

jiàn tù fàng yīng

Literal translation: to see the rabbit and release the eagle

Meaning: in time action, suitable for needs

quǎn tù zhī zhēng

Literal translation: the race between the dog and the rabbit

Meaning: pointless fight

tù zǒu wū fēi

Literal translation: the rabbit’s leaving and the crow’s flying

Meaning: time flies by

According to the legend, the sun was called the golden crow and the moon the jade rabbit. Hence, the metaphor using a rabbit and a crow to depict time.

tù qǐ hú luò

Literal translation: ascending rabbit, descending falcon

Meaning: swift movement, also used to describe fast and smooth drawing or essay writing.

shī zi bó tù

Literal translation: a lion fighting a rabbit

Meaning: paying attention to the smallest matter and using one’s all might

tù sī yàn mài

Literal translation: Chinese dodder herb (instead of silk), rolled oats (instead of wheat)

Meaning: in name only

yī diāo shuāng tù

Literal translation: one sculpture two rabbits

Meaning: three people standing side by side, one is powerful and the other two are held captive

tù sī fù nǚ luó

Literal translation: a Chinese dodder herb that is attached to a cypress vine

Meaning: husband and wife depending on each other

tù jiǎo niú yì

Literal translation: a rabbit’s horn and a cow’s feather

Meaning: unreasonable thing

dài tù shǒu zhū

Literal translation: waiting rabbit guarding plant

Meaning: sticking to rules without flexibility, delusion of getting something without effort

guī máo tù jiǎo

Literal translation: a tortoise’s fur and a rabbit’s horn

Meaning: non-existent or titular thing

tù quǎn jù bì

Literal translation: weary rabbit and dog

Meaning: two parties lose, and the third party gains for nothing

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