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“热门(rèmén)” vs. “冷门(lěngmén)”-Who is More Popular?

Jan. 8, 2014

In the Chinese language, the basic meaning of “门(mén)” is “door.”


Qǐng guānmén!
请     关门!


Close the door, please!

But in some words although they contain the character “门(mén),” the meaning of the word has nothing to do with “door,” such as “热门(rèmén)” and “冷门(lěnɡmén).”

“热门(rèmén),” which is literally hot doors, in fact refers to things that are prosperous or popular such as “热门电影(rèmén diànyǐng), popular films” “热门话题(rèmén huàtí), hot topics” “热门专业(rèmén zhuānyè), popular majors” and “热门职业(rèmén zhíyè), hot jobs” etc.


Zhè kuǎn yóuxì zuìjìn hěn rèmén.
这   款     游戏   最近  很    热门。


This game has become very popular recently.

Jiǎnféi yì zhí dōu shì rèmén huàtí.
减肥    一 直 都    是  热门    话题。


Losing-weight has always been a hot topic.

What corresponds to the “热门(rèmén)” is “冷门(lěngmén).” Certainly it doesn’t mean cold door, either. It refers to something unexpected or something that attracts little attention and is usually unpopular, such as “冷门生意(lěngmén shēngyi), unpopular business” “冷门股票(lěngmén gǔpiào), low price issues” “冷门歌曲(lěngmén gēqǔ), unpopular songs” “冷门小说(lěngmén xiǎoshuō), unpopular novels” etc.


Zhè jǐ shǒu Zhōngwén gē suīrán lěngmén, dànshì fēicháng hǎotīng.
这   几首     中文          歌  虽然   冷门,     但是     非常       好听。


Though these Chinese songs are unpopular, they are great songs.

Tā kàn guò hěnduō lěngmén diànyǐng.
他  看   过    很多      冷门        电影。


He has watched many unpopular movies.

Similar to the second meaning, “something unexpected,” of “冷门(lěngmén),” we also have the term “爆冷门(bào lěngmén),” which means “to produce unexpected results.”


Wǒ tīngshuō Lǐ Míng dāng zǒng jīnglǐ le, zhēnshì bào lěngmén a!
我   听说       李明      当      总    经理 了,真是    爆    冷门      啊!


I heard that Li Ming has become general manager, which was unexpected!


1. Recently, the film the Great Gatsby, became a high-grossing movie, and we can call it a ___ in Chinese.

A. 热门电影(rèmén diànyǐng)

B. 冷门电影(lěnɡmén diànyǐng)

C. 爆冷门电影(bào lěngmén diànyǐng)

2. Which sentence expresses the meaning of “爆冷门(bào lěngmén)?”

A. The soldier exploded the cold door to help the wounded people get out.

B. The music is not popular as usual!

C. The football game was won by an unknown new player!

See answer


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