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What is Chinese Idiom 三心二意 (sān xīn èr yì)?

Life is inherently full of decisions. Everything that we do revolves around choice. The moment you wake up, you need to take a specific amount of energy to contemplate your next move. Such is accurate for the rest of the day. Every moment requires decision-making. We are constantly weighing choices to fit the standards we need. However, there are specific life moments where it’s hard to make decisions. We can’t choose between two options that impede our decision-making capabilities. That forces us to enter a state called “三心二意 (sān xīn èr yì)” with one Chinese idiom or “double-minded.”

Chinese idioms are one of the best ones in the world. Like their values, Chinese idioms are inclusive and relevant. It is flexible too. One can use it merely as means of expression. Some can utilize this to understand local cultural semantics. Additionally, Chinese idioms apply to a wide variety of contexts. That is why today, we shall explore the Chinese idiom “double-minded” or 三心二意 (sān xīn èr yì).

chinese idiom half-minded
chinese idiom half-minded

1. Meaning of 三心二意 (Sān xīn èr yì)

Being “double-minded” occurs every time. When faced with indecision, people will go for a soft stance. After all, it is incredibly daunting to choose between two tasks. That’s why we do both.

For example, when choosing between watching your favorite program and doing your homework, you will opt for a half-hearted option. You will watch Tv in the background while doing your homework. Another situation is when your partner is thinking about work when it’s date night. It shows a sign of half-hearted behavior or being in a state of “double-minded.”

Generally, 三心二意 (sān xīn èr yì)or “double-minded” means a state of indecision. The person doesn’t currently have a firm will or a firm mind. The idiom reflects the mental state of a person. The idiom shows the Chinese nation’s concern about people’s living state and thinking about people themselves.

2. The related story of the idiom “double-minded” 三心二意 (sān xīn èr yì)

Cat Miao Miao and Mimi are a pair of siblings. Miao Miao is a hard-working and obedient cat, while Mimi is playful and lazy. The siblings live with their mother. They usually helped their mother do chores and catch food. One day, Mother and child went to the river to fish. Mother and Miao Miao both caught bountiful harvests. However, Mimi was not able to capture a single one. Their mother was infuriated. She said, “You have time to play with dragonflies and butterflies but can’t catch a single fish?” Mimi had no face to show. He was very embarrassed. Consequently, he decided to fish seriously. In the end, he caught a big fish.

The story tells us that we will never succeed if we are half-hearted.

3. Knowledge points

Explain the knowledge

心(xīn): the first tone, heart, mind, intelligence, soul, mood

意(yì): the fourth tone, thought, idea, opinion; think

For examples,

Tā de xīn zàng chū le wèn tí.

他 的 心 脏  出 了  问题。

He had a heart problem.

Xiàn zài tā de xīn qíng hěn zāo gāo.

现  在 他的 心  情  很  糟  糕。

Now he’s in a bad mood.

Shī gē 《jǐn sè》de yì yì shì hěn nán dǒng de.

诗 歌 《锦瑟》  的意义是 很   难  懂  的。

The meaning of the poem JinSe 《锦瑟》 (Jǐn Sè) is difficult to understand.

Wǒ méi yǒu tīng dǒng nǐ de yì sī.

我  没 有   听  懂  你的意思。

I didn’t catch your meaning.


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