What do Rich Men and Gold Turtles Have in Common?

In Chinese, a rich son-in-law, or a rich husband, is often referred to as a “Gold Turtle Husband”, or 金龟婿 (jīnguīxù)” . Are you looking for your golden turtle? Does this phrase make any sense to you? Probably not. There is, however, an interesting story as to how this phrase began. Let’s learn more:

During ancient China’s Tang Dynasty (618-907AD) an official whose titles were equal to, or above, three ranks would adorn themselves with a fish emblem. Officials with five or more rankings would receive a turtle emblem instead of a fish. Princes, or those officials with a very high ranking, would wear golden tallies of their rankings and ordinary officials would wear copper tallies for theirs. Hence, a gold turtle would be the highest-ranking, and most likely wealthiest, men available. Women who are considering a husband might dream of one day finding their man with the golden turtle to marry and living a life of luxury. Therefore, they would be looking for her “金龟婿 (jīnguīxù)” Gold Turtle Husband”.

Although we don’t necessarily limit “金龟婿 (jīnguīxù)” Gold Turtle Husband” to princes and high-ranking officials, today we carry on this tradition of referring to a wealthy husband or son-in-law as a “Gold Turtle”.

Let’s break down “金龟婿 (jīnguīxù)”:

金 (jīn) means “gold.”
龟 (guī) represents “turtle.”
婿 (xù) is “husband” or “son-in-law.”
It’s as simple as that!
When using the word “金龟婿” in daily communication, Chinese speakers generally choose this structure: 钓 (diào) / 找 (zhǎo) + 金龟婿 (jīnguīxù).


Tā xiǎng diào yí gè jīnguīxù.
她   想    钓   一 个 金龟婿。
She wants to catch a wealthy husband.

Nǐ diào dào jīnguīxù le ma?
你 钓   到   金龟婿  了 吗?
Did you find a wealthy husband?

Wǒ de bàmā bù xiǎng ràng wǒ zhǎo yí gè jīnguīxù.
我  的  爸妈   不  想      让  我    找 一   个 金龟婿。
My parents don’t want me to marry a rich man.

When we combine being a 金龟婿 (jīnguīxù) with also having good looks, we get a 高富帅 (gāofùshuài). Read more about it in the full lesson here .
So, go out there and find the right one for you. Maybe this lesson will come in handy!
HSK 3 quiz
1. Your family may be excited if you meet and marry a:
A. 房奴 (fángnú)
B. 金龟婿 (jīnguīxù)
C. 铁公鸡 (tiěgōngjī)

4 thoughts on “What do Rich Men and Gold Turtles Have in Common?”

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  2. Chamomile Essential Oil

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    1. jennifer.zhu

      Hi Chamomile,

      Thank you for the comment. We will try to post more useful articles. I’m glad you like it.

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