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Chinese expression 火烧眉毛 (eyebrows on fire)
Posted by: vivian_wang_wei (IP Logged)
Date: December 04, 2007 10:00PM

- Pinyin: huǒ shāo méimáo
- Literal translation: eyebrows on fire
- Meaning: desperately urgent

Today we'll learn a Chinese proverb which is often used to ask for a pressing need to solve the urgent problem without delay. What will you do if a fire is buring your eyebrow? Since the eyebrows 眉毛 (méimáo) are immediately above the eyes 眼 (yǎn), when the eyebrows are on fire 火 (huǒ), the eyes are in immediate danger.

This idiom is used when the circumstances have become desperately urgent and one must solve the most pressing problem, leaving aside other, less-important business. Sometimes it can also refer to shortsightedness, i.e. paying attention only to the resent, without any consideration for the future.


明天就考试,都火烧眉毛了。 (Míngtiān jiù kǎoshì, dōu huǒ shāo méimáo le.)
Tomorrow is for the examination. It is so urgent just like eyebrows on fire.

你不好好复习,还想去看电影? (Nǐ bù hǎohǎo fùxí, hái xiǎng qù kàn diànyǐng?)
Why are you thinking of seeing a film, rather than staying home for a complete review of the lessons?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/04/2007 10:36PM by Olive.

Re: Chinese expression 火烧眉毛 (eyebrows on fire)
Posted by: Tom Higgins (IP Logged)
Date: December 10, 2007 03:09AM
Great lesson! And a cool pic too.
Something to add... In this expression, 毛 is usually pronounced with the "zero" tone or "5th" tone (轻声), otherwise it'll sound a little bit awkward.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/10/2007 10:35AM by Olive.

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