雞脾打人牙鉸軟: "hit by chicken drumstick, jaw goes jelly" -- If given some advantage, recipient stops arguing. (Cantonese) 

飲頭啖湯: "Being the first one to have the soup" -- To take most advantage of something. (Cantonese)

蓮子蓉口面:  "A face like lotus seed paste" -- A happy face. (Cantonese)

藤條燜豬肉: "Simmer the pork with cane" -- Physical punishment. (Cantonese)

僧多粥少:  "Too many monks and too little congee" -- Not enough to share.

茶餘飯後: "Over a cup of tea" -- At one's leisure.

雞肋:  "Chicken ribs" -- Something with little interest; also signifies weakness, yet one is loth to part with it.

薑是老的辣: "Nature like ginger, the older it gets the more its pungency increase" -- The older, the wiser.

畫餅充饑: "Draw a cake to satisfy one's hunger" -- A Barmecide feast.

緣木求魚: "Climb up a tree in search of fish" -- Do the impossible.

雞毛蒜皮: "Chicken feather and garlic skin" -- Unimportant things.

花心蘿蔔:  "Mooli with flower pattern (rot spot) inside" -- Someone not honest to one's lover.

口蜜腹劍: "Honey on one's lip, murder in one's heart" -- A Judas kiss.

鐘鳴鼎食: "Line up tripods of eatables and play musical performance during a meal" -- Living an extravagant life; enjoy affluence; luxurious [sumptuous] life.

酒肉之交: "Alcohol and meat acquaintance"

            : People who come only for the food and drinks, who are not true friends.

朱門酒肉臭: "Door of rich people, alcohol meat smell"

               : The food and drinks of the leftovers thrown away by rich people can be smelt from their door.

食九大簋: "Eating nine big dishes"

            : An elaborate and luxurious meal. (Cantonese)

分一杯羹:  "To share a cup of rich soup"

            :  Sharing something good with others.

分甘同味 (Cantonese)  / 同甘共苦:"Sharing good things, same taste"

                                               :Sharing good things with others.

帶兩梳蕉:"Bring two bunches of bananas"

            :Bringing nothing but bare hands, each hand like a bunch of bananas. (Cantonese)

大頭蝦:"Big headed prawn"

         :Someone who is careless like a brainless prawn. (Cantonese)

黃皮樹鷯哥: "Mynah in a wampee tree"

               :The mynah bird knows which is the ripest wampee fruit to eat from the tree, which symbolises someone who takes advantage of someone they know. The Chinese character for 'ripe' is the same character for 'familiar'. (Cantonese)

啞巴吃黃連:"A mute eating goldthread"

               :Goldthread is a medicinal plant with very bitter flavour. A mute person eating it cannot tell someone how bitter it is. Symbolises someone who suffers in silence.

飲水思源:Drink water think source

            :To think about where the water comes from, meaning to remember when someone has helped you to be where you are today.

同檯食飯,各自修行:Same table eating meal, individually practice

                           :Even if eating on the same table, people have different ways of practicing their beliefs and lifestyles.  (Cantonese)

甘之如飴:Sweet as candy

            :Even if something tastes horrible, one eats it as if it's delicious

有情飲水飽:With love, drinking water is filling

               :If there is love, even drinking plain water can be filling. (Cantonese)

一肚子壞水:“full of bad/evil  ideas.”  A devil in the flesh.

一個和尚挑水喝,兩個和尚抬水喝,三個和尚沒水喝: “To drink water one should carry it by himself, to drink water two would carry it together. Unfortunately, there would have no water if there are three.” A boy is a boy, two boys half a boy, three boys no boy. Too many cooks spoil the broth. People are mutually shirking responsibilities. 

人要倒黴,喝口凉水都塞牙:“Even the water would get stuck between the teeth when a person is extremely unlucky”. Be Unfortunate to do anything.

井水不犯河水:“Well water does not intrude into river water.” Not to interfere with each other's affairs.

遠水解不了近渴:Distant water cannot quench your immediate thirst. A slow remedy can’t meet an emergency. The aid is too slow in coming to be of any help.

一方水土養一方人:The unique features of a local environment always give special characteristics to its inhabitants.

乳臭未乾:Milk smell not gone

            :Someone who is still so young, he/she still smells of milk

出糧:Paying grain

      :Paying the wage (Cantonese)

巧婦難為無米之炊: "The cleverest housewife can't cook a meal without rice"

                        :Nobody can accomplish anything without the necessary means.

生米煮成熟: "The rice is already cooked"

               : What's done cannot be undone.

撿了芝麻,丟了西瓜:"In order to pick up a sesame seed, one drops a watermelon"

                           :To concentrate on trivial matters to the neglect of important ones.

吃閉門羹:Be denied entrance.

掛羊頭賣狗肉:"Sell dog's meat under the label of a sheep's head"

                  :To carry high-sounding, but misleading names.

                  :To try to palm off something interior to what its puports to be.

望梅止渴:Console oneself with false hopes.

吃大鍋飯: "Egalitarian practice of everybody eating from the same big pot"

                To get an equal share regardless of the work done.

                To be treated the same despite the differences in working attitude and contribution.

一口吃個胖子:"You have to crawl before you can walk."

一個蘿蔔一個坑: “One turnip, one pit”.  Each person has his/her own position.

蘿蔔青菜,各有所愛:  "Different strokes for different folks."
人一走,茶就凉: “The tea cools down as soon as the person is gone.”  The relationship with somebody will no long exist when the person becomes unimportant or useless.

黃花菜都凉了:“(wait for too long) The Yellow Flower vegetable is too cold to eat.” It has been too late already.

人怕出名猪怕壯: “Great honors are great burdens; Fat pigs get slaughtered first.” Detraction hunts down the rich and famous.

小菜一碟兒: "The matter is very little, and very easy to make.

                    Easy Job; A piece of cake.

小蔥拌豆腐—— 一青 (清 )二白: It means something is as clear as crystal.

殺雞儆猴: "To kill the chicken to frighten the monkey"

               To punish someone as a warning to others.

               To warn by example.

偷雞不成蝕把米: "Fail to steal a chilcken while it ate up your bait grain."

肉包子打狗——有去無回:  "To hit a dog with a meat-bun"

                                    By no means retrievable.

                                    Use the wrong method to approach a problem.

因噎廢食:"To refuse to eat for fear of choking"

               To give up making renovations for fear of a little trouble.

               To throw out the child along with the bath; to throw away the apple because of its core.

吃豆腐:  "Eating bean curd", teasing someone (usually female) with pleasure.

心急吃不了熱豆腐:”You have to wait until the hot tofu cools down.” Haste makes waste. 食白果: "Eating gingko seed", zero result. (Cantonese)

炒魷魚:  "To stir-fry the squid", to dismiss. (Cantonese)

冬瓜豆腐:  "Winter melon and bean curd", very bad news (link to life and death). (Cantonese)

鹹魚返生:  "Salted fish becomes alive", a second opportunity. (Cantonese)

兔子不吃窩邊草: “A hare never eats the greens around its lair.” A wise fox will never rob his neighbour's henroost.

狡兔三窟:“A wily hare has three burrows.” a crafty person has more than one hideout; elaborate precautions made for self-protection

兔子尾巴長不了:”A rabbit’s tail cannot be long” Those who resort to treachery cannot get away for it very long.

種瓜得瓜,種豆得豆:"As you sow, so shall you reap." You get what you pay for.

王婆賣瓜,自賣自誇:Every potter praises his own pot. All one's geese are swans.

瓜熟蒂落:”Ripe melon falls off its stem in due time.” Things will be easily settled when conditions are ripe.

瓜田李下:”In the Melon field or under a plum tree.” Referring to circumstances that tend to give rise to suspicion and misconstruction.

今朝有酒今朝醉:Enjoy the wine today and leave all the worries till tomorrow.

一粒老鼠屎,打壞一鍋湯: “Just a bit of a mouse's dropping will spoil a whole saucepan of broth.” A pot of milk is ruined by a drop of poison.

背黑鍋:to be made a scapegoat; to be unjustly blamed; take the blame for others

吃著碗裏的,看著鍋裏的:“Eating what’s in the bowl and eyeing what’s in the pot.” Staring to the cup board while peeping in the cabbage pot.

那壺不開提哪壺: “To pick up the kettle of water that is not ready yet. ” Touch the tender pot. Drop a clanger.

芝麻開花節節高:A sesame stalk puts forth blossoms notch-by-notch and gets higher and higher. Things or life is getting better and better.

陳穀子爛芝麻:”Stale grain and overcooked sesame.” The same boring old gossip or something unimportant.

吃醋: “Drink the sour vinegar”. Jealousy

亡羊補牢:To repair the sheep stable after some sheep are found missing. Better late than never.

羊入虎口:”A lamb in a tiger's den.” To tread dangerous ground.

披著羊皮的狼:A wolf in sheep skin.

又想吃魚又怕腥:“All cats love fish but hate to get their paws wet."

任人魚肉:"Being meat or fish on another's chopping board."

鯉魚跳龍門:"The carp has leaped through the dragon's gate." Success, especially for students who have passed their exams.

千里送鵝毛,禮輕情意重:”The gift itself may be light as a goose feather, but sent from afar, it conveys deep feeling.”

卸磨殺驢:To kill the donkey when the grinding is done; to get rid of somebody once he has ceased to be useful.

對牛彈琴:”Play the lute to a cow.“ It's like talking to a brick wall.

嫁鶏隨鶏,嫁狗隨狗:”When you married a chicken, you will stick to the chicken, when you married a dog, you will stick to the dog.” A woman should stick with the man she marries, no matter what kind of man he is. Where the needle goes, the thread follows.

鶏鳴狗盜: To cunning or petty ruses

一毛不拔鐵公鶏:”You can’t get a feather from iron cock.” Somebody very stingy and never give; or miser

依樣畫葫蘆:”To draw a gourd from the model.” "What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander." To copy something mechanically without attempt at originality.

天上掉下餡兒餅來:”A pie falls from the Heaven”. You can't have your cake and eat it too. Something lucky and easy to get.

不爲五斗米折腰:“Refuse to bow down for 50 liters of rice”. It is used to describe a man who refuses to impugn his integrity and will not brown nose the rich and powerful.

雨後春笋:The spring bamboo shoots after rain. Many new things emerge in rapid succession.

以卵擊石:”Like an egg striking a rock.” Attacking something or somebody who is stronger or powerful than oneself.
自食其果:"As you make your bed, so you must lie in it."

青梅竹馬:“Green plums and a bamboo horse as the games of childhood.” the period when a boy and a girl grew up together; a man and a woman who had an innocent affection for each other in childhood

煮豆燃萁:”Burn beanstalks to cook beans.” Fight among brothers is like to boiling beans with beanstalks. Fratricidal strife.

五穀豐登:”To have a bumper grain harvest.”

囫圇吞棗:“Swallow dates whole.” People who blindly imitate or utilize something without due consideration or analysis.  I think it is close to the English “look before you leap“.

世外桃源:The Garden of the Peaches of Immortality Shangri-la; imaginary land of joy and plenty

藕斷絲連:”Lotus roots may break, but its fiber and skin remain joined.” Apparently severed, but actually connected. Lovers part, but still long for one another

李代桃僵:”The plum tree sacrifices itself for the peach tree.” Sacrifice oneself for another person.




Collected by Stephen Hiew, Kam Ling Tang Hui, Yatwan Hui, Vicky Qin-Hallett, Kun Fung Tang, Jiali Xu and Rachel Yang.