Feeling left out of online conversations with Chinese friends when they start using the latest slang? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll introduce you to the top 5 must-know Chinese online slang words that are taking the internet by storm in the first half of 2023. From social media to everyday communication, these words are quickly becoming a part of our everyday language, and you won’t want to miss out on the fun. Whether you’re a seasoned netizen or new to the Chinese online world, read on to stay ahead of the curve and impress your friends with your newfound Chinese language knowledge!
Diàn zǐ zhà cài
Digital Pickled Vegetables
“Diàn zǐ zhà cài” (电子榨菜) refers to stories, essays, videos, TV shows, or movies that we read or watch on our phones or computers and can provide light-hearted fun at mealtime. These are compared to “pickled mustard tubers” because traditionally the food is good company at meals when one doesn’t really have a good appetite, such as some classic TV shows like “Game of Thrones,” Marvel movies, “Friends,” and others.
Nǐ chīfàn shí de diànzǐ zhàcài shì shénme?
What’s your digital pickled vegetable while eating?
Lǎoyǒu jì shì wǒ zuì xǐhuān de diànzǐ zhàcài.
My favorite digital pickled vegetable is ‘Friends’.
Jiārénmen! Shéi dǒng a!
Family! Who Knows!
This sentence is used as an opening line in some face-blocking satirical videos from the Chinese internet to describe things that are incredibly puzzling and hard to understand. The phrase “Jiārénmen” (家人们 family) is used to bring people closer, while “Shéi dǒng a” (谁懂啊 who knows) expresses the degree of speechlessness or confusion about the matter being discussed. It’s suitable for chatting with friends or venting frustrations online.
Jiārénmen! Shéi dǒng a! Wǒ zǒu zài lùshang tūrán shuāi le yī jiāo.
Family! Who knows! I suddenly fell while walking on the street.
Jiārénmen! Shéi dǒng a! Zhè chuàn pútáo jūrán yào yībǎi kuài!
Family! Who knows! This bunch of grapes costs 100 bucks!
If you have some friends who love being funny and standing out, you must learn the term “Xiǎnyǎn bāo” (显眼包) It refers to someone who stands out and is prominent among peers. For example, someone who likes to be the center of attention, is loud, and humorous, making others burst into laughter can be called a “Xiǎnyǎn bāo” (显眼包) both in real life and on the internet.
Wǒ de nán péngyǒu shì ge xiǎnyǎn bāo.
My boyfriend is totally a character.
Tā xiàng ge xiǎnyǎn bāo yīyàng.
He’s such a character!
Tài kù là
This term is a homophonic pun on the Chinese phrase “Tài kù lā” (太酷啦) in unique pronunciation and sounds like “pretty cool” or “awesome” in English. It can be used to express admiration, excitement, or amazement about someone or something. Compared to the original version, “Tài kù là” (泰裤辣) is a trending buzzword that works better for online surfing, especially when chatting or posting on social media. Give it a try, and you might be pleasantly surprised by the results.
Zhè bù diàn yǐng tài kù là!
This movie is pretty cool!
Nǐ de yī fú tài kù là!
Your outfit is awesome!
Zhǔ dǎ yī gè péi bàn
“Zhǔ dǎ yī gè péi bàn” (主打一个陪伴) literally means “the main purpose is to provide companionship.” However, this term is often used humorously to suggest that one is present but not necessarily contributing anything substantial. It acknowledges the person’s role as a companion who is there for moral support but not necessarily providing any other tangible value. For example, if you attend school without paying attention and not learning anything, you could joke that you’re “Zhǔ dǔ yī gè péi bàn” (主打一个陪伴). Similarly, if you go shopping with a friend and they buy a lot of things, but you don’t buy anything, you could say that you’re “Zhǔ dǔ yī gè péi bàn” (主打一个陪伴).
A: Nǐ kǎoshì tōngguòle ma?
A: Did you pass the exam?
B: Méiyǒu, wǒ zhǔdǎ yīgè péibàn.
B: No, I mainly focus on a companion.
A: Nǐ mǎile shénme ya?
A: What did you buy?
B: Shénme yě méiyǒu mǎi, wǒ zhǔdǎ yīgè péibàn.
B: Nothing, I’m just providing companionship.
Did you come across any other Chinese internet slang that you’d like to learn more about? Or do you have questions about the slang we covered in this article? Let us know in the comments section below, and we’ll be happy to help.
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