Has your boat ever “gone under?”
We have all been in those doomed situations, sometimes.
In English, you might express this situation as being “doomed,” “in trouble,” or “in a bad spot.”
In Chinese, you can say “完蛋了 (wándàn le).” Your business is closing? The bicycle is out of control and will soon crash into a tree?
Is there a particular sentence or phrase you would like me to work on?
For all of these scenarios, you can use “完蛋了 (wándàn le).” There isn’t even any hope!
“完蛋了 (wándàn le)” means “to be sunk,” “to be all over with,” or “to have no hope in something.”
This is mostly a daily expression we use frequently in bad situations.
We often shorten “完蛋了 (wándàn le)” into “完了 (wánle),” but you can use either expression. Let’s break it down:
“完 (wán)” literally means “over/finish”
“蛋 (dàn)” means “egg”
I know what you’re thinking: if “完 (wán)” can express the meaning of “finished” completely, why do we add the character “蛋 (dàn) egg,” anyway?
There are two explanations regarding how the “蛋 (dàn) egg” reference came about:
(1) In Chinese, people call eggs that cannot hatch into baby chicks when the incubation period is over ‘完蛋 (wándàn),’ which means ‘over’ or ‘no hope.
(2) The pronunciation of ‘蛋 (dàn) egg’ also bears resemblance to the spoken ‘dangs’ in the Hmong language, a tongue spoken by the Chinese ethnic minority group known as the ‘苗族 (miáozú),’ primarily residing in Guizhou Province.
“Dangs” also means “finished, broken , dead, destroyed” in “苗语 (miáoyǔ) Hmong,” so it has the same meaning as “完 (wán)” in standard Chinese. K
ind of makes sense now, right?
Let’s look at some examples of the “doomed” expressions in these sentences:
Nǐ wándàn le!
你 完蛋 了!
You will be finished!
Rúguǒ zhè jiàn shìqíng chùlǐ bù hǎo, wǒmen dōu huì wándàn.
如果 这 件 事情 处理 不 好，我们 都 会 完蛋.
We will be done for if we can’t handle this issue properly.
Yào shì gǎn bú shàng fēijī, nǐ jiù wán(dàn) le.
要 是 赶 不 上 飞机，你 就 完 (蛋) 了.
You will be ruined if you can’t catch the plane.
1. You can use the expression “完蛋了 (wándàn le)” if:
A. you find your keys after losing them
B. you meet your friends for lunch
C. you do well in a job interview
D. you are going to be late for an important meeting