To wash by immersing one's body in water is called bathing. Then what is the verb for lounging in a breeze enjoying the wind washing through your hair, your underarms and your toes?

I'm trying to translate this phrase. I would like a verb for air bathing that is equally poetic and languorous.


A direct, unpoetic translation might be:

To (water) bathe in the Yi river, to (air) bathe by the Wuyu altar, to sing back home.

  • 1
    ......Chilling? – Edwin Ashworth Mar 28 '14 at 22:37
  • 1
    lounge if sitting, else loll. Not sure there's a word dedicated to this specific action, though. – emsoff Mar 28 '14 at 22:42
  • 2
    Basking is not just sun bathing. There's another definition related to enjoying something such as "basking in the love of your friends and family." Because of that, I like "basking in the gentle breezes of the Gulf shore." for example. – Kristina Lopez Mar 28 '14 at 22:51
  • 1
    windbathing can be used actually. It is a therapy term mainly. – ermanen Mar 28 '14 at 22:57
  • 2
    @Bradd, that’s because 舞雩 Wǔyú literally means ‘dance rain-praying-ceremony’. In this case, though, it is a proper noun, the name of a specific altar in the Lu State in Ancient China, where this ‘raindance’ was performed. (Similarly, 沂 is the name of the river in which the gentry swam.) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Mar 28 '14 at 23:10

Bathing would ordinarily be a good translation, and poetic because of alliteration with balmy breeze, but you probably want a different verb since you’re using bathe to contrast with the first part of the translation.

Basking is another good word for bathing in the air, and it’s also alliterative, but it has connotations of warmth that you may not want in this specific context.

Cooling directly expresses the sensation of relaxing in a breeze. Chilling is also possible, but literally it would imply some discomfort; there’s a slang meaning of “relaxing,” but it’s probably the wrong register for poetry.

  • Chill should work. Or a one or two syllable word for windbathing. – George Chen Mar 28 '14 at 23:27
  • 3
    My instincts in Mandarin are not quite sharp enough to know whether 风 fēng ‘wind’ to someone who grew up knowing this expression in his native language implies a cool breeze or a balmy one. ‘Cooling’ is fine if it’s a cool breeze, but ‘cooling in the balmy breeze’ sounds a bit odd. Another option might be to simply let the objects themselves make the contrast: Bathe in the waters of the River Yi and the breeze/winds of the Wuyu Altar, and then return home singing. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Mar 28 '14 at 23:27
  • @GeorgeChen Janus’s translation sounds good. I would recommend basking or cooling depending on whether the wind is warm or cool. A chill is uncomfortable, not balmy, so I would avoid that word. – Bradd Szonye Mar 28 '14 at 23:28
  • @GeorgeChen Chill does have a slang meaning of “relax,” but it’s not “poetic.” – Bradd Szonye Mar 28 '14 at 23:29
  • 1
    @GeorgeChen You don’t need to write cool off – just cool is good. – Bradd Szonye Mar 29 '14 at 0:34

To bathe (or soak) in the Yi river, to enjoy the caress of breezes at the Wuyu altar, to return home reciting poetry.

  • 1
    I like it as a whole. – George Chen Mar 29 '14 at 3:44
  • 1
    Seems that there is not such activity in the English world. Lounging in the wind doing nothing. – George Chen Mar 29 '14 at 3:45

Perhaps you should consider a term you already used - wash

to pour, sweep, or flow in a stream or current: waves of pioneers washing westward

The term is often used to indicate a flow of almost anything. This ngram shows usages for breezed washed and air washed.


To bathe in the Yi river, to wash in the breezes by the Wuyu altar, to sing back home.

  • 1
    It is true pilots use words like "down wash" to explain how the wing works. But the immediate mental image wash invokes has something to do with water. – George Chen Mar 29 '14 at 2:48

How about to indulge in the breezes?

To bathe in the streams of River Yi, indulge in the breezes by the Wuyu altar, and return home in carefree song.

In my opinion that conveys the "underlying laziness in this gentleman's ambition" quite well.

  • In this case, lounging is more concrete. Indulge is too abstract by comparison. – George Chen Mar 29 '14 at 3:59
  • @GeorgeChen Perhaps, but poetry doesn't necessarily have to be concrete, does it? :) It's always up for personal interpretation, as is the case with your interpretation of this phrase in 古文. – JW Lim Mar 29 '14 at 4:04
  • Poetic words invoke vivid mental images, which is the opposite of abstract. – George Chen Mar 29 '14 at 4:10
  • No interpretation. I need a word that causes spontaneous effects. – George Chen Mar 29 '14 at 4:10
  • Literally it means wind bathing, right? No body wind bathes in a wind that is not a balmy breeze. – George Chen Mar 29 '14 at 4:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.