What does “打气 (dǎ qì) beat air” mean? – (Beginner)

encourage 打气

Have you heard of the expression “打 气 (dǎ qì)?” The word “打 (dǎ)” means “hit/strike,” and “气 (qì)” means “air/gas.” As you might guess, this is the literal way of saying “pump up, inflate with air.” You might use it when speaking about inflating a bicycle tire.


Nǐ gěi zìxíngchētāi dǎ qì le ma?
你 给    自行车胎  打 气 了 吗?
Have you pumped up the bicycle?

However, what is this word’s non-literal meaning? You probably already are familiar with the term “加油 (jiāyóu),” literally meaning “add oil,” but Chinese people also use it to mean “come on” as a common way to cheer someone on. The word “打气 (dǎ qì)” is quite similar. And friends can use this word to encourage each other during competitions or during some meaningful or importantactivities.
You might think that this seems like a funny way to express encouragement to someone. But have you considered the English phrases “Pump them up!” or “Get pumped up.” It seems that there is an equivalent that is quite similar in English!
Chinese people also use this word to express “to bolster up morale/to encourage.” For example, if my friends or students will take the HSK exam, I will say:
Wǒ gěi nǐ dǎ qì, nǐ huì kǎo guò de!
我   给  你 打 气,你 会 考 过  的!
I will cheer for you. You will pass the exam.


Quánduì de rén dōu wèi tā dǎ qì hècǎi.
全队        的 人   都   为 他 打 气  喝彩。
The whole group will be rooting for him.

HSK 3 quiz

1. Which is not a meaning of “打气 (dǎ qì)?”
A. to encourage
B. to add oil
C. to inflate
D. to bolster up morale

Learn More:

Chinese Words with Multiple Meanings

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