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.

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. 
Wǒ zhǐ gēn tā dǎle gè zhāohū, tā píng shénme mà wǒ?
I only said hi to him, why did he yell at me?.
Nǐ tǎng qiāngle.
You were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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.
Zhāng sān yǒu nǚ péngyǒu ma?
Does Zhang San have a girlfriend?
Kěndìng yǒu, tā shì gāofù shuài.
Definitely; he is tall, rich, and handsome.

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.
Zhège wǎng hóng jiùshì bái fùměi.
This internet star is pale, rich, and beautiful.

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..
Tāmen méiyǒu jiànguò miàn, kěshì tāmen hù fěnle.
They have never met, but they follow each other.

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..
Nàxiē wǎngluò shàng de jiànpán xiá zhēn tǎoyàn.
Internet trolls are really annoying.

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.
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..
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?.
Rén jiān bù chāi!
Life's hard enough, dont rub it in!

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....
Wǒ hěn xǐhuān kàn zhège xiǎo jiějiě de dǒu yīn!
I like watching this cutie's Douyin!.
Nǐ hǎo, xiǎo xiānnǚ.
Hey, baby.


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..
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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