Chinese proverbs about love

Some Chinese sayings concerning the allure and perils of love.

ér xíng qiān lǐ mǔ dān yōu [er xing qian li mu dan you]
child travel 1000 mile mother undertake worry
When children travel far away the mother worries
Mothers will always worry about their children
Xiào xiào, shí nián shào [xiao yi xiao, shi nian shao]
smile a smile, 10 year less
Just one smile makes you ten years younger
Happiness is the best cosmetic
ài bù shì shǒu [ai bu shi shou]
love not let go hand
Locked in love's clutches
ài wū jí wū [ai wu ji wu]
love house reach crow
Strong love that encompasses all, including the crow sitting on the roof
In love with everything in the world
Love is blind
Shù gāo qiān zhàng yè luò guī gēn [shu gao qian zhang ye luo gui gen]
tree tall 1000 length leaf fall return root
A tree may grow high, but its leaves always fall on its roots
People living far away will eventually comes back home
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Qiān jīn mǎi xiào [qian jin mai xiao]
thousand gold buy smile
A smile costing a thousand ounces of gold
A target that is very hard to attain. Spending lavishly to attract a young woman
Luò yè guī gèn [luo ye gui gen]
fall leaf return root
Fallen leaves return to the root
Returning to place of birth
There's no place like home
, 每逢佳
Yuè dào zhōng qiū fèn wài míng, měi féng jiā jié bèi sī qīn [yue dao zhong qiu fen wai ming, mei feng jia jie bei si qin]
moon arrive mid-autumn divide outside bright every occurrence fetival joyous times think parent
The moon is brightest at the Mid-Autumn Festival, and the feeling of homesickness will be strongest during the festival
Longing to see family from far away
There's no place like home
Zhǐ sāng mà huái [zhi sang ma huai]
finger mulberry blame locust tree
Pointing to the mulberry tree when the locust tree is to blame
Deliberately deflecting criticism to someone or something else - often to protect friends or family
Jiǔ ròu péng yǒu [jiu rou peng you]
wine meat friends
Friends only for the food and drink
Cupboard love
Fair weather friends
nián [du ri ru nian]
pass day as year
Each day passes as a year
Time seems to pass very slowly
Time drags on
Xīn ruò sǐ huī [xin ruo si hui]
heart like dead ash
Heart reduced to ashes
Desperately unhappy
Pí zhī bù cún maó jiāng yān fù [pi zhi bu cun mao jiang yan fu]
skin no exist hair support how add
If the skin is missing hair can not grow
Everything needs its proper environment for nurture
A house is not a home
Xuě lǐ sòng tàn [xue li song tan]
snow neighbourhood deliver charcoal
Send charcoal in a snow storm
To offer assistance when it is needed
A friend in need is a friend indeed
Shēng huó yǒu ài xìngfú, wèi ài shēng huó yú chǔn [sheng huo you ai xingfu, wei ai sheng huo yu chun]
produce live have love good fortune, pride love produce live foolish
A life of love is happy; a life for love is foolish
Love is not the most important thing
Qíng ren yǎn lǐ chū xī shī [qing ren yan li chu xi shi]
lover eye inside produce Xi Shi
The lover's eye sees the legendary beauty of Xi Shi in his plain mistress
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Love is blind
Oǔ duàn sī lián [ou duan si lian]
lotus root break silken thread links
Although the lotus root may be cut, its fibered threads are still connected
Friendship survives adversity
Xiāng xiāo yù sǔn [xiang xiao yu sun]
fragrant vanish jade broken
Fragrance is dissipated; jade is broken
Spoken of on the death of a beautiful young woman
Whom the Gods love die young
jiàn zhōng qíng [yi jian zhong qing]
once see deep affection
Upon first seeing fall madly in love
To fall in love at first sight
Great Hall of the People, Beijing, Tiananmen Square, NPC
Great Hall of the People, Beijing where the National People’s Congress (NPC) of China convenes. January 18, 2003 Photo by Allen Timothy Chang, available under a Creative Commons license .
Bǎi wén bù rú jiàn [bai wen bu ru yi jian]
hundred hear not like one see
Hearing a hundred times is not as good as seeing once
Delighted to meet you in person at last
sān qiū [yi ri san qiu]
one day three years
One day seems like three years
To miss somebody very much
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Lí xiāng bèi jǐng [li xiang bei jing]
leave village behind well
Leave one's own village
A stranger away from home


The traditional way to show respect and subservience was with the kowtow, which involves bowing and touching the ground with the forehead. A kowtow was made to parents, school teachers, court officials as well as the Imperial family. Sometimes it is still seen when families visit their ancestral tomb.
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Tiān zuò zhī hé [tian zuo zhi he]
heaven make someone close
Heaven made intimacy
Blissful affection
Marriage made in heaven
Xiù sè kě cān [xiu se ke can]
beautiful appearance can eat
A lovely sight to feast the eyes on
A beautiful woman
A feast for the eyes
China motif
Our proverbs come with lots of information. The modern Chinese characters are followed by the proverb in pinyin. Next, there is a crude character by character transliteration into English, followed by a more accurate English translation. If this is a Chinese proverb alluding to history the meaning may still not be clear in English, so the general meaning follows. Finally some proverbs have fairly direct English equivalents, if so the English proverb is included at the end.

Our translations need improving, so please let us know if you can help with that.
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Citation information: Chinasage, 'Chinese Proverbs full of love and affection', last updated 30 Nov 2016, Web,

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