In Chinese, there is a word called "yuán fèn", which means the destiny that ties people together, at special time and place. In English, is there one word that can express that meaning?

  • I found this Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuanfen. I don't know an English word that fits this meaning perfectly. (I know a few words/phrases for it in my first language.) In English, I would probably use either destiny or fate. Commented May 23, 2015 at 6:40

3 Answers 3


The closest equivalent English* word would appear to be fate:

fate (fāt)


  1. The supposed force, principle, or power that predetermines events: Fate did not favor his career. - thefreedictionary.com

Fate can be used in the context of individuals (his fate, her fate etc.), groups (their fate, they were fated etc.) or as an overarching power (fate was against them) in a way that is not quite as applicable to the near synonym destiny. Which as the first definition at thefreedictionary.com implies is usually used in association with individuals:

des·ti·ny (dĕs′tə-nē)

n. pl. des·ti·nies

The inevitable or necessary fate to which a particular person or thing is destined; one's lot.

*A loanword that also seems to be a close match is kismet.


There's no one word, but the English phrase we're all in the same boat seems to convey the same meaning.


The answer to the question is "no!". There are many cases of words in one language that have no exact equivalent in another language. This makes the life of a professional translator difficult. It is also why to speak a second language well you have to understand it internally without reference and translation into your first language.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .