Top 5 Chinese Buzzwords in the First Half of 2024

As a digital native, you might have come across intriguing phrases like “city不city,” “被硬控了三秒,” or “偷感很重” during your online adventures. What do they mean? Are you in the know? If these terms have piqued your curiosity or left you feeling like you’ve stumbled upon a secret code, join us on a journey to decode the top 5 trending Chinese buzzwords from the first half of 2024.

Top 5 Chinese Buzzwords in the First Half of 2024

1. City不city (city bù city)

The phrase “city不city (city bù city)” started with a foreign blogger who mixed Chinese and English while describing his travels in China. He would say things like “上海好city啊 (Shànghǎi hǎo city a), Shanghai is so city” or “长城一点都不city (Chángchéng yīdiǎn dōu bù city), The Great Wall is not city at all.” Here, “city” is used as an adjective meaning urbanized, fashionable, or exciting.

In online discussions, “city不city (city bù city)” is used to describe places, outfits, or experiences with a modern and stylish vibe. For example, when planning a trip, you might ask, “这个城市city不city? (Zhège chéngshì city bù city?), Is this city city or not?” to inquire if it has a cosmopolitan feel. Similarly, showing off a new outfit and asking, “这样穿搭city不city? (Zhèyàng chuān dā city bù city?), Is this outfit city or not?” is a way of asking if it looks trendy.

The term has also come to signify excitement and thrill. Saying “顶着大雨骑行,好city (Dǐngzhe dàyǔ qí xíng, hǎo city), Cycling in the heavy rain is so city” conveys a sense of exhilaration. The versatility of “city不city (city bù city)” has made it a favorite among young people looking to add a touch of flair to their descriptions.

2. 硬控 (Yìng kòng)

“硬控 (Yìng kòng), Hard Control” originally referred to actions in online games that forcibly prevent a player from controlling their character, such as being stunned, petrified, or frozen. However, its meaning has evolved. Now, it describes something incredibly captivating that you can’t stop watching or doing.

For instance, you might see someone saying, “被美食硬控30分钟 (Bèi měishí yìng kòng 30 fēnzhōng), I’ve been hard-controlled by delicious food for 30 minutes.” This indicates that the person found the food so enticing that they couldn’t stop eating it. Similarly, “被彩虹硬控5秒 (Bèi cǎihóng yìng kòng 5 miǎo), I’ve been hard-controlled by the rainbow for 5 seconds” suggests being mesmerized by the beauty of a rainbow.

This term has become a popular way to express deep fascination or an irresistible attraction to something, be it food, scenery, or even an engaging conversation.

3. 偷感 (Tōu gǎn)

“偷感 (Tōu gǎn), Stolen feeling” literally means the feeling of being stealthy like a thief, but it has taken on a new connotation among young people. It describes a mindset of wanting to stay low-key and avoid attention while quietly working towards one’s goals.

Unlike the negative connotations of “stealing,” “偷感 (tōu gǎn)” has a neutral to positive meaning. It highlights a preference for modesty and diligence over showiness. For instance, someone might say, “i人都有一种很重的偷感 (i rén dōu yǒuyī zhǒng hěn zhòng de tōu gǎn), Introverts have a strong sense of stolen feeling,” indicating that introverts prefer to work quietly without seeking the limelight.

This term resonates with those who value privacy and subtlety in their personal and professional lives. It emphasizes the importance of focusing on one’s own progress without the need for external validation.

4. 班味 (Bān wèi)

“班味 (Bān wèi), The smell of work” describes the unique lifestyle and state of mind that comes with being a working professional. It typically refers to signs of fatigue, casual dress, and a general sense of weariness that many office workers experience.

For instance, “她今天看起来特别有班味 (Tā jīntiān kàn qǐlái tèbié yǒu bān wèi), She looks particularly work-fatigued today” might be said about someone who appears especially tired and worn out from work. “你的班味越来越足了 (Nǐ de bān wèi yuè lái yuè zúle), Your smell of work is getting stronger” can describe someone who increasingly embodies the typical traits of a busy professional.

This term humorously captures the common experiences of working life, emphasizing the universal challenges of balancing professional responsibilities with personal well-being.

5. 上岸 (Shàng’àn)

“上岸 (Shàng’àn), Get ashore” is used to signify achieving a goal or reaching a significant milestone, akin to finally reaching the shore after a long journey. This phrase is commonly used to celebrate successes such as passing exams, acing interviews, or achieving personal goals.

For example, “恭喜你终于考试上岸了! (Gōngxǐ nǐ zhōngyú kǎoshì shàng’ànle!), Congratulations on finally passing your exams!” is a way to congratulate someone on their success. Similarly, “希望我能上岸 (Xīwàng wǒ néng shàng’àn), I hope I can succeed” expresses a desire to achieve a goal.

The term “上岸 (Shàng’àn)” conveys a sense of relief and accomplishment, marking the end of a challenging phase and the beginning of a new chapter. It’s a hopeful and encouraging phrase that motivates people to keep striving for their goals.

The first half of 2024 has introduced a slew of vibrant and expressive internet slang that reflects the evolving culture and attitudes of Chinese young people. By understanding and using these buzzwords, you can stay connected with current trends and enhance your Chinese online interactions. If you have any questions, please feel free to sign up for a free trial Chinese class to learn more.

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