What’s the meaning of千载难逢?

Posted by iChinese Learning on January 19, 2016

This article serves as an supplement material to our Skype Chinese lessons online. In this article, we will learn a very authentic Chinese expression “千载难逢的机会”. What does this phrase mean in Chinese? Let’s first see a language context where this phrase can be used.

张艺谋 (Zhang Yimou) is a very famous Chinese director in China. You may not have heard him too much in your country, but you must have watched his typical works – the “Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing”! Being “hand-picked” by Zhang Yimou is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Many young actresses dream of being picked by Zhang Yimou and regard this as a springboard to fame and fortune. However, not all are as lucky as Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi. Both of these two actresses rose to fame overnight after acting in Zhang Yimou’s films.

Now, did you find the answer to the question? Actually, “千载难逢 (qiān zǎi nán fénɡ)” is a Chinese idiom, which has the meaning “something happens only once in a thousand years”, or “difficult to meet in a thousand years”. The word “千载” is another way of saying “千年 – one thousand years.” “” means “hard”. “” is short for “相逢 – to come across”. “机会” means “opportunity”. So literally, the whole phrase “千载难逢的机会” means “an opportunity that is very hard to come across in one thousand years”, namely “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

In Chinese grammar, it can be used as an adjective to modify a noun (opportunity).


chūɡuódúshū shì ɡè qiānzǎinánfénɡ de jīhuì, nǐ yídìnɡ yào zhuāzhù le!

出国读书 千载难逢 机会,你 一定 抓住 了!

Going abroad to study is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You must grasp it!


dōnɡ’àohuì nénɡ zàiběijīnɡ jǔxínɡ, zhēn shì ɡè qiānzǎinánfénɡ de jīhuì.

冬奥会 在北京 举行,真 千载难逢 的机会。

It is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that the Winter Olympic Games can be held in Beijing.

Category: Chinese

Tags: learn chinese idioms


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