Have one of these timeless expressions ready for when you need it!
Beauty is subjective; we all get that. And while there are plenty of online posts about the latest pretty girl expressions, such as 白富美 bái fù měi miss perfect (lit. fair rich beautiful), 萌妹 méng mèi a cutie pie (lit. adorable younger sister) and 女神 nǚshén a goddess who’s unattainable.
We wouldn’t want your vocabulary limited to just those “here today, gone tomorrow” fad expressions!
Let’s review 5 timeless expressions that show others you appreciate the beauty of women and the language:
Beauty and intelligence (lit. elegant exterior, wisdom interior); first used in Tang Dynasty.
You want to show appreciation for her inner substance.
Rènshi yuèjiǔ, yuè juédé nǐ xiùwài-huìzhōng.
The longer I know you, the more I realize you are a perfect blend of beauty and intelligence.
zēng zhī yī fēn zé tài cháng, jiǎn zhī yī fēn zé tài duǎn
Fit and perfect (lit. add an inch too long, cut an inch too short); first used in Warring States to discuss height.
You want to compliment someone’s physical shape.
Nǐ de shēncái tài hǎo le. Jiǎnzhí shì zēng yī fēn zé tài féi, jiǎn yī fēn zé tài shòu.
Your figure looks great. A little more weight would be too much, a little less weight would be too thin.
So beautiful that she crashes fish and birds (lit. dive fish fall goose); first used in Warring States.
You are floored by her heavenly charms.
Nǐ měi dé chényú-luòyàn.
Your beauty makes fish dive and geese crash.
So beautiful the moon and flowers feel embarrassed (lit. hide moon, shame flower); first used in Yuan Dynasty.
You’re again floored by someone’s heavenly charms, and you’ve already mastered #3 above.
Nǐ dì měi shì bìyuè-xiūhuā zhīměi.
Your beauty even outshines nature.
qíngrén yǎn lǐ chū xīshī
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder (lit. lover eye’s produce Xishi, one of the legendary Four China Beauties); first used in Qing Dynasty.
When others question your beauty standards, here’s a clever way to silence them and demonstrate a little historic awareness.
Qíngrén yǎn lǐ chū xīshī ma, nǐ chuān shénme dōu hǎokàn.
In my eyes, everything looks beautiful on you.
These expressions have been around for centuries and they’re not going to disappear anytime soon. But don’t feel like you have to learn them all! With Chinese idioms (成语 chéngyǔ), a little goes a long way.
To find out how to dodge compliments, especially those overpraising your Mandarin skills, check out Chapter 7 in our new book China Simplified: Language Gymnastics and discover how to strike just the right tone of modesty.
Do you know of any other classic compliments?
Let us know in the comments below!