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The hilarious Chinese word you must know for luck

Aug. 17, 2016

狗屎运 (gǒushǐyùn), although sounds hilarious in English, is a slang to describe someone getting unexpected luck or good luck in bad days. The word “狗屎 (gǒushǐ)” means “dog shit” and “运 (yùn)” is from “运气 (yùnqi),” which means “fortune, luck.” This phrase comes from the old society in China when there was not a lot of chemical fertilizer. People had to use human feces as fertilizer to supplement this, but there was not enough poop to go around. So, some people started to use dog shit, and fertilizer had such a high demand that they found they could even sell the dog shit to other farmers for money. The people that could collect more dog shit could make more money. Henceforth, they were dubbed as having “狗屎运 (gǒushǐ yùn) dog shit fortune.”

狗屎运

This term has two ways it can be used: one is describing someone having a stroke of luck during a time of misfortune; the other is a way of self-mockery or modesty in the face of good fortune. One thing to keep in mind is when using this term you wouldn’t say he has dog shit fortune, but he “走 (zǒu) walks” dog shit luck, aka “走狗屎运 (zǒu gǒushǐyùn).” Let’s look at some examples:

Example:

Tā chéngjì nàme làn yě tōngguò le kǎoshì, zhēn shì zǒu gǒushǐyùn.
他   成绩    那么  烂  也  通过     了  考试, 真    是   走  狗屎运。
His grades are that terrible and he still passed the test, he has some really good luck.

Another common way to say someone has good luck is “走运 (zǒuyùn).” “走 (zǒu),” literally means “walk” and “运 (yùn)” means “luck,” “走运 (zǒuyùn)” means “be in luck/have good luck.”

Example:

Tāmen zhēn zǒuyùn.
他们       真     走运。
They are so lucky.

Quiz:

Judy: Nǐ dé le dì yī míng, tài lìhai le!
Judy: 你  得了 第 一 名, 太 厉害了!
Judy: You got first place! You are so cool!

Bob: Wǒ yě méi xiǎng dào, dàgài wǒ shì zǒu gǒushǐyùn le.
Bob: 我   也  没    想    到,大概   我  是  走   狗屎运     了。
Bob: I also didn’t expect it, I probably just ______.

How does Bob feel about getting first place?
A. He thinks he doesn’t deserve it.
B. He is being modest and feels very happy.
C. He is embarrassed that Judy would mention it.
D. He wishes that Judy had gotten first place.

See Answer Analysis

Keep Learning about Luck and Misfortune:

Chinese Idiom: Misfortune may actually be a blessing

Why you should wear red on the year of your zodiac

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