Must-know Shopping Lingo in Chinese (Elementary)

New Year’s Day is just around the corner and we wish you all the best for the New Year! In Chinese, we call New Year’s Day, or the first day of the year, 元旦 (Yuándàn). So, 元旦快乐 (Yuándàn kuàilè, Happy New Year’s Day)!

Chinese usually have three national holidays during the New Year’s festivities, which gives shopping malls and supermarkets a good chance to make some extra money. They use every trick in the book to catch a shopper’s eye. Large discounts, buy one get one free, and buy one get a free present deals are common sights to attract poor, hung-over souls spending their money and time on 血拼 (xuèpīn).

Here, 血拼 (xuèpīn) is the homonymic pronunciation of the English word shopping, but is used to describe a “shop-till-you-drop” attitude. The word is a newcomer on the Internet and is now widely used, especially amongst the young.

血 (xuè) means “blood,” while 拼 (pīn) means “to go all out,” or “to risk one’s life,” providing an interesting visual for the shopping craze that strikes some during the holidays. However, the word 血 (xuè) contains a deeper meaning of regret after spending so much money on shopping. This is rather typical for China’s current young generation: make money, spend money, and then bang your head against the wall a few dozen times in self-loathing.


      Nǐ Yuándàn dǎsuan zuò shénme?
A:你     元旦      打算     做    什么?

      What are you going to do on New Year’s Day?

     Wǒ dǎsuan qù xiānggǎng xuèpīn!
B:我    打算    去    香港        



      I plan to go shopping in Hong Kong!

Linda, a huge 血拼 (xuèpīn) fan, is shopping at the mall. She’s too busy haggling over the price with the seller and doesn’t notice that someone has stolen her purse:

           Lǎobǎn, zhè jiàn yīfu duōshao qián?
Linda:老板,   这  件   衣服    多少     钱?

             How much are the clothes?

           Sānbǎi kuài.
Seller:三百    块。

            Three hundred Yuan.

            Piányi diǎnr ba?


点儿  吧?

           Could you give me a discount?

            Bù hǎo yìsi, sānbǎi kuài shì zuì dī jià.
Seller:不   好  意思,三百   块   是  最  低价。

            I’m afraid this is the lowest I can go.

            Biérén mài liǎngbǎi kuài.
Linda:别人     卖   两百      块。

            Other shops have these for two hundred Yuan.

            Nǐ bùnéng tān xiǎo piányi. Zhìliang hǎo, zuì zhòngyào.
Seller:你  不能     贪   小  


。 质量       好,最     重要。

            Don’t covet little advantages. Quality’s more important than price.

At last, Linda agrees with the seller’s price and turns to her purse for paying. However:

            Ya! Wǒ de qiánbāo bújiàn le.
Linda:呀!我  的     钱包    不见  了。

            Hey! My purse is missing.

           Kuài bàojǐng, bié piányi le xiǎotōu.
Seller:快    报警,   别 


了 小偷。 

            Quick! Call the cops! Don’t let him off the hook that easily! 

Poor Linda. Thieves can be a real pain. So, be careful when you’re 血拼 (xuèpīn, shopping) in malls packed with people. Now, let’s look at the three 便宜 (piányi) in the above conversation. What’s the meaning of each?

Generally, 便宜 (piányi) has the following three usages:

1. Cheap, adj.

      Zhèjiàn yīfu néng piányi diǎnr ma?
(1). 这件    衣服  能    


   点儿  吗?

       Could you go a bit cheaper for the clothes?

      Zhè běn shū hěn piányi.
(2). 这     本   书   很  


       This book is really cheap.

2.  Penny-wise, or small advantages,  n.

Tān xiǎo piányi, chī dà kuī.
贪     小  


,吃  大 亏。

A lot of sacrifice for a little pay-off.

3. Forgive (sb). or let (sb.) off lightly, v.

Bùnéng piányi le tā!


 了 他!

Don’t let him off lightly!

Are you clear about the usage of 便宜 (piányi)? Try looking at the three meanings in context in our previous shop conversation. The first one means “cheap,” the second, “small advantages,” and the third, “to let (sb.) off lightly.”


1.What does the sentence “苹果很便宜。(Píngguǒ hěn piányi.)” mean? ____

 A. Apples are cheap.

 B. Apples are small advantages.

 C. Apples taste good.

 D. Apples are expensive

2.Li  Hua talks with Tom: “星期天我们去血拼吧!(Xīngqī tiān wǒmen qù xuèpīn ba!)” What does she mean? ______

 A. Let’s go see a fight on Sunday!

 B. Let’s go to the hospital on Sunday!

 C. Let’s go shopping on Sunday!

 D. Let’s do a jigsaw puzzle on Sunday!


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