A Popularly Used Chinese Internet Buzzword For ”Cool”

HSK 3 quiz

Have you ever seen a live performance, that was so magnificent and energetic, that it almost seemed like the floor itself was jumping? Musicians, athletes, and people who exhibit extraordinary traits are usually considered hardcore, cool and awesome. In an internet-centric world, it would only make sense that there would be a new buzzword created specifically for things, places, and people that are considered cool. Whether you’re referring to your favorite blogger, or live chat celebrity on the internet, or perhaps even one of your friends, “硬核 (yìnghé)” is a new, trendy Chinese internet buzzword, which when used, makes you sound more like a native speaker, and describes someone that you think is tough and cool.

硬核 (Yìnghé) was originally used to describe rap, music and games, therefore, it became common to use the following phrases:

硬核音乐 (Yìnghé yīnyuè) – hardcore, cool, and passionate music that’s fierce

Rap music is often controversial, and fierce sounding. The nature of the music is based on its beats, and the synchronizing rhythm of rhymes to convey a cool, and powerful emphasis on meanings.

硬核游戏 (Yìnghé yóuxì) – hardcore, cool sports and games that require a high level of expertise, and have a specific audience psychographics

At the “Top of Your Game”? You Might be a “高手 (Gāoshǒu)”!

Sports or games such as chess, and poker, might be considered difficult for some people to learn. The way these games work are rooted in strategy, and the audiences who enjoy them are usually a very specific audience. Furthermore, people who excel in both games can be described as cool, awesome, and hardcore.
Interestingly, “硬核 (yìnghé)” emerged from a popular internet buzzword, into a term that’s used more broadly, to describe something or someone that is hardcore, cool, and tough. The term’s popularity has sparked overall new, and creative ways to describe people and things. “硬核 (Yìnghé)” isn’t used for just music and sports, but essentially can be applied to anything considered cool, hardcore, or tough, given the context.

Here are some example sentences of “硬核 (yìnghé)”, as it’s used in daily Chinese conversation:

Tā wán yóuxì shí zǒngshì yíng, tā zhēnshì yígè yìnghé wánjiā.
He always wins games. He’s a genius.

Xiǎo Míng gāng ná dào jiàzhào jiù dài zhe tóngxué chūqù zì jià yóu le, zhēn yìnghé!
Xiao Ming went out for a road trip with his classmates once he got the driving license. So cool!

Can’t Decide Where You Want to Go? You Need This Word Pair to Explain It!

The increased popularity of internet media, the ability for fans of music and sports to follow their favorite performers or athletes has created a cool, new buzzword, “硬核 (yìnghé)”. “硬核 (Yìnghé)” was once used specifically to refer to rap music or difficult games, but has become a term that can be used to describe virtually anything you consider to be hardcore, or cool.
Though “硬核 (yìng hé)” is mainly using in a positive context, it can be used otherwise, such as to make fun of someone or something that is overly exaggerated. Whether you’re referring to rap music, that has fierce, powerful lyrics and beats, or games that are difficult, and have a specific following, or perhaps anything more broadly that you consider cool, 硬核 (yìnghé) can be used in your daily Chinese conversations to make you sound like a “硬核 (yìnghé)” native speaker!

HSK 3 quiz

1. Read the conversation below, and then answer the question.

Mike: Bob zhǐ yòng le bàntiān de shíjiān jiù bǎ zhègè yóuxì wán tōngguān le.

Lucy: Wa! Tā zhēnshì gè yìnghé wán jiā.

What does Lucy mean according to the dialogue? ▁▁
A. Bob is very good at playing games.
B. Bob is not good at playing games.
C. Bob likes playing games very much.
D. Bob doesn’t like playing games very much.

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