Written by Sarah Li Cain
You ought to know by now that Chinese slang is changing frequently. Yeah, we have a list we mentioned before, but there are just so many more waiting to be discovered!
If you truly want to be part of Chinese culture, you need to learn slang. No WeChat conversation can be complete without them, or even Weibo for that matter.
Since we don’t want you scratching your head in confusion, we’ve compiled ANOTHER list of popular Chinese slang for you. As always, if you come across any new ones not listed, please let us know!
圣母 (shèng mǔ)
It literally means “holy mother”, which references the Virgin Mary. Online, however, it refers to people as “saints”. These are the types of people who can come across as being holier-than-thou, and tends to criticize others for things such as jokes or inappropriate comments. People usually use 圣母 to talk about people who ruin all the fun, like a party pooper.
我爸是李刚 (wǒ bà shì Lǐ Gāng)
The phrase “My dad is Li Gang” refers to an October 2010 incident where Li Qiming was drunk driving. He hit two rollerskating girls passing through Hebei University. One of the girls died later. Li was stopped by witnesses as he was trying to leave the campus. He challenged people to sue him by saying “我爸是李刚!”
People use this phrase jokingly to say they don’t need to adhere to any laws because they have government connections.
喷子 (pēn zi)
Meaning “sprayer”, used a slang it talks about people who are “flamers.” These are people who constantly complain, bash or hate on others online.
白富美 (bái fù měi)
This phrase has become a popular internet meme meaning “white, rich and beautiful.” It refers to traits of an ideal ideal woman, usually referring to a woman’s complexion, overall appearance and wealth. The male equivalent is “tall, rich and handsome” (高富帅).
高富帅 (gāo fù shuài)
Literally meaning “tall, rich, and handsome”, it has become a popular internet meme which refers to an ideal boyfriend or husband The opposite phrase is “short, ugly, and poor“ (矮丑穷).
矮丑穷 (ǎi chǒu qióng)
Another popular meme meaning “short, ugly, and poor.” It refers to a man who is not an ideal boyfriend or husband in Chinese society. In other words, someone who is not “tall, handsome, and rich“ (高富帅).
剩斗士 (shèng dòushì)
Literally meaning “’leftover warriors”, the expression is used to refer to single ladies, who still don’t have a husband. An equivalent would be “old maid”.
干爹 (gān diē)
If you use it as slang it means a sugar daddy, though it literally means “godfather.”
心塞 (xīn sāi)
The actual phrase is 心肌梗塞 (xīn jī gěng sè), but many people use shortened version 心塞. The phrase means heart attack, and used as slang, describes an extremely painful or negative feeling.The character 塞 has two meanings and pronunciations. The first meaning that can be seen in 心肌梗塞 (heart attack) is ‘to stop up’ and uses the pinyin ‘sè’. When the original 心肌梗塞 is shorted to 心塞, the pronunciation of 塞 becomes sāi. Doing so makes the phrase less daunting.
山寨 (Shān zhài)
If you like to shop online (or anywhere else actually), pay attention to this phrase. While it really means “mountain village”, it is now used online to refer to cheap or fake merchandise.
灌水 (guàn shuǐ)
While the phrase literally means to “pour water”, online it refers to someone who constantly talks or posts internet replies. Basically, it means someone who can’t keep their mouth shut.
土豪 (tǔ háo)
This term has been used for a long time, which historically refers to powerful people, known as a “local tyrant”. The phrase resurfaced in 2013 to mean the nouveau riche, referring people who love to flaunt their newfound wealth. “Local tyrant” was first used online to describe the release of the gold Apple iPhone 5s as “土豪金” (“local tyrant gold”). This phrase implies that the iPhone would appeal to the nouveau riche who want to show off. It is used now to refer to people who have money but lack taste, meaning they are showy and even arrogant.
Hopefully this is list will help you to understand Chinese slang and to know when to use it! Again, this list just touches upon a tiny fraction of all the slang floating around on the internet. If there are any you love to use, let us know!