Abstract: This study aims to compare the differences between English and Chinese associative meaning on the basis of the categories of associative meaning through analyzing animal and color idioms. The associative meanings of a word may surpass the word’s original meaning. Different from logical meaning or conceptual meaning, associative meaning, for its vagueness and variability, is hardly controllable for those language learners who are lack of broad knowledge beyond language itself. So it’s necessary to explore the sources of associative meaning so as to appropriately use language especially in intercultural communication, avoiding misunderstanding or even trouble.
Key words: associative meaning; idioms; intercultural analysis