Chinese Slang Phrases (They Might Surprise You!)

October 29, 2019

What can we say about Chinese? Over a billion people speak it daily. It is a beautiful, complex language with a long, rich history. And it has slang! Here are eight current Chinese slang phrases that you may hear or see online.

躺枪
Tǎng qiāng

To be in the wrong place at the wrong time

Literally meaning “to take a bullet while lying down”, this perfectly describes a situation in which you are doing nothing wrong, but you still feel the punishment. 
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.A:
我只跟他打了个招呼,他凭什么骂我?
Wǒ zhǐ gēn tā dǎle gè zhāohū, tā píng shénme mà wǒ?
I only said hi to him, why did he yell at me?.
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B:
你躺枪了。
Nǐ tǎng qiāngle.
You were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

高富帅
Gāofù shuài

Tall, rich, handsome

This describes the ideal male suitor: tall stature, wealthy, and good-looking. Three crucial, albeit superficial, qualities for a potential partner.
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.
A:
张三有女朋友吗?
Zhāng sān yǒu nǚ péngyǒu ma?
Does Zhang San have a girlfriend?
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B:
肯定有,他是高富帅。
Kěndìng yǒu, tā shì gāofù shuài.
Definitely; he is tall, rich, and handsome.

白富美
Bái fùměi

Pale, rich, beautiful

In close companionship to the above, this phrase describes the ideal female: pale-skinned, wealthy, and drop-dead gorgeous..It should be noted that pale skin in China is historically and culturally representative of good health and high social status.
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.这个网红就是白富美。
Zhège wǎng hóng jiùshì bái fùměi.
This internet star is pale, rich, and beautiful.

互粉
Hù fěn

To be mutual followers

This is a concise way to say, "they follow each other on social media". 互粉 is usually used to describe other people; rarely do you say it about yourself..
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她们没有见过面,可是她们互粉了。
Tāmen méiyǒu jiànguò miàn, kěshì tāmen hù fěnle.
They have never met, but they follow each other.

键盘侠
Jiànpán xiá

Literally meaning “keyboard warrior”, this is the Chinese slang equivalent to the English "internet troll": making controversial comments, disseminating incorrect information, tearing down the efforts and reputation of hardworking netizens, or otherwise being annoying… you know the type..
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那些网络上的键盘侠真讨厌。
Nàxiē wǎngluò shàng de jiànpán xiá zhēn tǎoyàn.
Internet trolls are really annoying.

人艰不拆
Rén jiān bù chāi

Life's hard enough, don't rub it in

The full phrase is 人生已经很艰难了,不要拆穿 (Rénshēng yǐjīng hěn jiānnánle, bùyào chāichuān). That is, "Life is already difficult, don't expose it"..If you know anything about life, you know it isn't fair.
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However, sometimes it feels like the universe is rubbing salt into your open wounds. When you think you can't take any more, something happens to make you feel worse..
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A:
你的考试怎么还没通过呢?已经第五次了吧。
Nǐ de kǎoshì zěnme hái méi tōngguò ne? Yǐjīng dì wǔ cìle ba.
How did you not pass your exam? Isn't this the fifth time?.
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B:
人艰不拆!
Rén jiān bù chāi!
Life's hard enough, dont rub it in!

小仙女/小姐姐
Xiǎo xiānnǚ/xiǎo jiějiě

Baby; cutie

These are both internet slang for a cute girl/woman. You can say either to describe yourself. However, when describing someone else, 小姐姐 is acceptable for any female. 小仙女 is considered flirty, so careful who you say it to....
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我很喜欢看这个小姐姐的抖音!
Wǒ hěn xǐhuān kàn zhège xiǎo jiějiě de dǒu yīn!
I like watching this cutie's Douyin!.
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你好,小仙女。
Nǐ hǎo, xiǎo xiānnǚ.
Hey, baby.

翻车
Fānchē

Awful; messed up

Originating from a video game, this Chinese slang phrase literally means someone or something “flipped the car”..If you ever find yourself in that position with your vehicle, or where you metaphorically feel this way, you know the situation is pretty well effed..
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他今天的表演翻车了。
Tā jīntiān de biǎoyǎn fānchēle.
His performance today was awful.

Want more great slang? Check out some popular Chinese number slang!

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