Who can call the wind and summon the rain? – Chinese idiom 呼风唤雨

Posted by Grace Feng on September 30, 2013

Who can call the wind and summon the rain? - Chinese idiom 呼风唤雨As the title says it, who can call the wind and summon the rain? It has to be someone with super power and magic, and probably only exists in supernatural world. However, soon enough, you’ll going to learn the Chinese idiom 呼hū (call) 风fēng (wind) 唤huàn (summon) 雨yǔ (rain) that is actually used on real people in real world.

You probably already guess it out. 呼风唤雨 hūfēnghuànyǔ is used to describe a person who can exercise magical powers in the real world. In another word, that type of person is usually called big wheel, mogul or tycoon in English. Let’s see an example first:


tā de bàba zài shāngjiè shì néng hūfēnghuànyǔ de.


His Dad can exercise magical powers in business world.


However, 呼风唤雨 hūfēnghuànyǔ is not always a compliment to say about people. As a matter of fact, it is quite often used with a negative tone. It is one of news reporter’s favorite words to describe a corrupted government official.

If you’ve read about the world popular Bo Xilai scandal ( 薄熙来 Bó Xīlái) / murder case of Neil Heywood (海伍德 hǎi wǔ dé) in Chinese, you might have noticed the word 呼风唤雨 hūfēnghuànyǔ was frequently used in the portrait of Bo Xilai in his political career. Now we look at another example where the idiom is used in a negative tone:


tā suīrán hěn nénggàn, méiyǒu yī gè néng hūfēnghuànyǔ de fùqīn, háishi dé bùliǎo shēngqiān.

他虽然很能干, 没有一个能呼风唤雨的父亲, 还是得不了升迁.

As competent as he is, without a Dad that can pull strings everywhere, he couldn’t get promoted.


Now, it’s your turn to practice. Please use 呼风唤雨 hūfēnghuànyǔ to make a few sentences. Read them out loud and leave them in the comment area if you will then I can check for you.

PS. this idiom can be used both in oral or written Chinese.



Related posts:

A Chinese idiom that is used on a crowd - 争先恐后
Consoling oneself with false hope - Chinese idiom 望梅止渴
What exactly does it mean to borrow flowers to present to Buddha - Chinese idiom 借花献佛?


Category: Chinese idioms

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3 Responses to “Who can call the wind and summon the rain? – Chinese idiom 呼风唤雨”

  1. nothing


    04-23-2016 1:16 pm

    chinese magic works only with the use of traditional characters, simplified dont work!
    correct word is 呼風喚雨 this is how it is correctly written to summon the rain


    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      04-25-2016 4:01 am

      Hi Huang, I won’t say I’m a believer in super power or magic in any forms. But I agree to the extent that traditional Chinese characters look much better in calligraphy, especially the calligraphic works they used for festivals or rituals.




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