Feng shui (/ˌfʌŋˈʃweɪ/ ( listen) fung-SHWAY, formerly /ˈfʌŋʃuː.i/ FUNG-shoo-ee; Chinese: 風水, pronounced [fə́ŋʂwèi]) (or Fung shui) is an ancient Chinese system of aesthetics believed to use the laws of both Heaven (astronomy) and Earth (geography) to help one improve life by receiving positive qi. The original designation for the discipline is Kan Yu (simplified Chinese: 堪舆; traditional Chinese: 堪輿; pinyin: kānyú; literally: Tao of heaven and earth).
The term feng shui literally translates as “wind-water” in English. This is a cultural shorthand taken from the following passage of the Zangshu (Book of Burial) by Guo Pu of the Jin Dynasty:
“Qi rides the wind and scatters, but is retained when encountering water.”
Historically, feng shui was widely used to orient buildings—often spiritually significant structures such as tombs, but also dwellings and other structures—in an auspicious manner. Depending on the particular style of feng shui being used, an auspicious site could be determined by reference to local features such as bodies of water, stars, or a compass. Feng shui was suppressed in China during the cultural revolution in the 1960s, but has since seen an increase in popularity.
Definition courtesy Wikipedia.