China’s National Language Resources Monitoring and Research Center has released the top 10 online phrases of 2021 in China. Each year, the Center releases the top buzzwords for the year and this year is no exception! How many of the below phrases do you already recognise? Are there any that you’ll try to use in conversation with your friends and language exchange partners?
Top online phrases of 2021 in China
- 觉醒年代 – juéxǐng niándài – The Age of Awakening
The Age of the Awakening was the most popular TV show in China in the first half of 2021. The show was published to accompany the 100th anniversary of the founding of the PRC and depicts the turbulent years between 1915 and 1921.
- YYDS, the pinyin abbreviation of Chinese “永远滴神” – yǒngyuǎn dī shén – Forever the God (‘The Goat’)
The Chinese version of the English phrase The GOAT originated with eSports player Shiny Ruo shouted “永远滴神” at his idol Uzi, a retired Legend of League player. The phrase then went viral online with people affectionately using the term toward their idols.
- 双减 – shuāng jiǎn – Double Reduction
As we recently published, China has put a ban on off-campus tutoring for school students. The ‘Double Reduction’ policies were aimed to enforce the ban and to remove excessive homework to allow students greater flexibility during their downtime from official study.
- 破防 – pò fang – Something that has breached my defences / “this has really got me!”
The meaning of this phrase has evolved in the past year. Whereas traditionally it meant a breach of physical defences, in recent times it has also come to mean a breach in psychological defences, such as finding a story particularly moving.
- 元宇宙 – yuán yǔzhòu – Metaverse
Not just the new name for Facebook! Metaverse is a combination of many technological elements such as virtual reality, the Internet, digital art etc. where users live within a ‘virtual world’.
- 绝绝子 – jué jué zi – Awesome, marvellous, amazing, brilliant
This phrase originated from various talent and variety shows in China and is now more widely used to express how great something is.
- 躺平 – tǎng píng – Lie flat
‘Lie flat’ is used by people who are combatting the 996 work pattern in China. The practice – working 9am to 9pm 6 days per week – was made illegal this year. The phrase ‘lie flat’ is mostly used by young people who say they are happy just doing the bare minimum they need to get by as they prefer not to be in a stressed mindset such as that of a 996 schedule.
- 伤害性不高,侮辱性极强 – Shānghài xìng bù gāo, wǔrǔ xìng jí qiáng – Not harmful, but completely embarrassing
Something that is really embarrassing, but not overall harmful. I’m sure we can think of many things such as that online!
- 我看不懂,但我大受震撼 – wǒ kàn bù dǒng, dàn wǒ dà shòu zhènhàn – “I don’t understand it, but I was shocked.”
This phrase is used online in China to express shock, disbelief, and confusion about something and originated from a documentary.
- 强国有我 – qiáng guóyǒu wǒ – I’m committed to a stronger country
Another phrase coined from the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CCP in China.
Why not learn some online slang for texting your friends in Chinese?