Chengyu Explanations: 人山人海

人山人海 describes a place where there are huge crowds of people. This following article explains this 成语.


Characters 人山人海
Pin Yin rén shān rén hǎi
Pleco Definition huge crowds of people; a sea of people
HSK Level


人山人海 can indicate a large number of people who have converged in a place. This 成语 might be translated as ‘a multitude of people’, ‘a throng of people’ or ‘a sea of people’. If a place is small but crowded (e.g. a room, a bus), 人山人海 cannot be used; the crowd of people in the place must be big and crowded enough to resemble the notion “there are people as far as the eye can see.”


Grammatically, 人山人海 can act independently as a sentence phrase. In this way, the subject and verb is contained within the phrase itself.

人山人海 is often used with the 是。。。的 pattern. As such, the crowd of people is the detail emphasized in the sentence (i.e. 是人山人海的).

人山人海 often directly follows a place noun (e.g. 广场上, 体育场内) where the crowd of people is located. 人山人海 may also directly follow a time phrase (e.g. 今天, 放假的时候).

A person may be described as being “inside” the crowd of people, using the pattern 在。。。中 (e.g. 在人山人海中).

人山人海 can act like an adjectival phrase to describe places in general (e.g. 人山人海的地方).

Example Sentences

There’ll be huge crowds of people today, let’s go tomorrow instead.

There were huge crowds of people in Tiananmen Square.

Wow! I never expected there to be so many people here! It really is a vast sea of people!

I came across her in a vast crowd of people, and in an instant I had fallen in love with her.

I don’t like places that have huge crowds.

References and Further Reading

1. 汉语成语学习手册 (2010), p. 155.
2. 成语词典 (新世纪版2011修订), p. 520.


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