Chinese Online Slang

Chinese Online Slang

Learning how to interact online is an important part of learning any language and Mandarin is no different. Creative Chinese netizens have coined a wealth of phrases during the past years that aid online expression. My mind casts back to 2008 when the popular phrase ‘What’s it got to do with you? I’m just out buying soy sauce’ (关我屌事,我出来打酱油的) originated. This was the response a Guangzhou man gave when asked by a reporter to discuss the latest pop star scandal that to me perfectly depicts the often humorous nature of Chinese online slang (网络流行语):

However, the Chinese government recently spoke out against pun use in Chinese language and its ‘cultural and linguistic chaos’. Chinese is perfectly suited to the use of puns because of its use of homophones and puns are so culturally engrained into Chinese language that they are impossible to simply overlook. Puns in Chinese determine everything from the presents people give to the fortune of numbers, and can’t be merely dismissed. During recent years, puns have been used by Chinese netizens to avoid the great firewall, enabling them to discuss politically sensitive issues online.

We asked all of our Chinese writers to put their heads together and come up with their list of the most popular Chinese online slang (网络流行语) of 2014. Here’s our top ten list:

  • 我也是醉了    wǒ yě shì  zuì le    Literal: I was drunk! In context: I’m speechless!

  • 蛮拼的    mán pīn de   To go ‘all out’ for something

  • 屌丝   diǎo sī   Dropout – a popular word against mainstream culture, along with:

  • 高富帅   gāo fù shuài   – tall (高 gāo), rich (富 fù) and handsome (帅 shuài) boy.

  • 白富美   bái fù měi    – white skinned (白 bái), rich (富 fù) and beautiful (美 měi) girl.

  • 保证不打死你   bǎo zhèng bù  dǎ sǐ nǐ   Literal: Rest assured that I won’t kill you. In context: I’m going to kill you!

  • 萌萌哒   méng méng dā   Extremely cute

    例 : 宝贝这张照片,萌萌哒。

  • 时间都去哪了  shí jiān dōu qù na le   Literal: Where has the time gone? In context: How time flies!

  • 我读书少你别骗我   wǒ  dú shū shǎo nǐ bié piàn wǒ   Don’t take advantage of my illiteracy.

    例 :这颗苹果5块钱,我给你10块钱,你只找给我3块钱,这样对么?我读书少,表骗我。

  • 画面太美我不敢看  huà miàn tài  měi wǒ  bù gǎn kàn   Something so beautiful I dare not fix my eyes upon it! (Used to describe something out of the extraordinary).

  • 有钱就是任性  yǒu qián  jiù shì  rèn xìng   Rich bitch – (用来调侃有钱人令网友大跌眼镜的做事风格,并衍生出“成绩好就是任性”、“年轻就是任性”等用语。)

    例 :  A:我同事 花了3000买了个裙子,有钱,任性。


  • 且行且珍惜   qiě xíng qiě  zhēn xī    Live for the moment and cherish what we have.

I hope that some of these phrases will come in useful as you interact with Chinese friends online – they will certainly help you stand out from the crowd! Our aim is to turn this into a dynamic blog, so please feel free to contact us to suggest more Chinese online slang (网络流行语) phrases and we will add them to the list. The Chinese language has a great ability to adapt, and I look forward to watching this list grow with all of our user contributions!

Don’t forget to check out our blog on Chinese slang here

88 from me!

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