Modern day Chinese slang words and catchphrases mostly come from the Internet. They call this Chinese Internet language 网络词 (wǎngluò cí) or “Internet words”. Best time and place to use these words is in informal situations, and the best people to use these words with are your friends that you know quite well, in their twenties or thirties. Most Chinese people will be very surprised and also find it very funny if you speak to them using Chinese slang, it also helps a lot to relax any tension and close the culture gap.
1. 屌丝 (diǎosī) “Loser”
屌丝 (diǎosī) is often used to make fun of oneself, as a foreigner in China using it to describe yourself is basically guaranteed laughs. If used to describe other people it can be offensive.
屌丝 diǎosī (loser) is used to make fun of oneself, as a foreigner in China using it to describe yourself is guaranteed laughs [Tweet this]
Confusingly, though its literal translation sounds crude, its actual meaning is not the same as the literal one. Chinese people have a lot of interpretations for this word. Here are some typical characteristics of a 屌丝 (diǎosī):
- Normally a young man in his twenties or thirties (though it can be used to describe girls too).
- Not well off.
- Shy (especially of beautiful girls).
- Wants to be recognised by society.
- Often behaves inappropriately or says the wrong things.
According to Baidu (Chinese Google) 屌丝 (diǎosī) represents a new interpretation Chinese people have found to describe themselves and their privileges (or lack of them) and forms part of a new kind of culture. Here is a link to a joke definition of a 屌丝 (diǎosī).
How to use 屌丝 (diǎosī):
Chinese: 我是 (your nationality) 屌丝.
Pinyin: wǒ shì (your nationality) diǎosī.
English: I am a (your nationality) ” diǎosī”.
2. 高富帅 (gāofùshuài) “tall-rich-handsome”
A 高富帅 (gāofùshuài) is the opposite of a 屌丝 (diǎosī). A 高富帅 (gāofùshuài) is often used to describe a man who is successful; he gets all the girls as he has the aforementioned three most attractive qualities: tall, rich and handsome. If he has a car and house as well, something a lot of Chinese girls look for in a potential partner, it makes him irresistible!
How to use 高富帅 (gāofùshuài):
Pinyin: wǒ yào zhǎo ge gāofùshuài.
English: I want to find a “tall-rich-handsome”.
3.白富美 (báifùměi) “white-rich-beautiful”
The girl’s opposite to 屌丝 (diǎosī) is 白富美 (báifùměi). In contrast to the west where some people want to have a sun tan, in China many people want to have white skin. As you may have guessed, having money is also very important when looking for your spouse in China.
How to use 白富美 (báifùměi):
Pinyin: nǐ qù zhǎo gè báifùměi ba.
English: How about you go and find a “bai-fu-mei”.
4. 富二代 (fùèrdài) “Rich parents”
A 富二代 (fùèrdài) is a person with rich parents. For example someone who doesn’t need to work very hard as their parents have the connections or 关系 (guānxì) to make sure they pass every test and get into the best schools, universities and jobs. 官二代 (guānèrdài) is the same as 富二代 (fùèrdài) but for someone whose parents work for the government: government jobs are very highly sought after, therefore the children of people who work for the government are even better off than 富二代 (fùèrdài)s.
How to use 富二代 (fùèrdài):
Calling someone a 富二代 (fùèrdài) could cause offense, but it’s interesting to hear people’s opinion on 富二代 (fùèrdài) so try this:
Pinyin: Nǐ duì fùèrdài yǒu shén me kànfǎ?
English: What do you think of “fù-èr-dài”s?
5. 土豪 (tǔháo) “countryside/unsophisticated-rich”
土豪 (tǔháo) is a term describing a new kind of person in China, somebody who has become rich overnight on the back of China’s recent economic boom. A 土豪 (tǔháo) doesn’t know what to do with so much money and therefore just buys everything they possibly can: food, cars, gadgets, phones, clothes, toys, anything to show off how rich they are.
土豪 (tǔháo) describes a new kind of person in China, somebody who became rich overnight on the back of China’s economic boom [Tweet this]
How to use 土豪 (tǔháo):
Pinyin: wǒ qǐng! wǒ shì tǔháo.
English: I’ll pay (for dinner)! I am a “tǔ-háo”.
6. 屌爆了(diǎobàole) “Very very very cool”
屌爆了 (diǎobàole) for Chinese young people the meaning of 屌 (diǎo) is: “cool”, while 爆 (bào) means: “explode”. The literal translation of this word is also crude however it is also not considered offensive.
屌爆了 (diǎobàole) for Chinese young people means 屌 (diǎo): “cool”, while 爆 (bào) means: “explode”, and thus: very very very cool [Tweet this]
How to use 屌爆了 (diǎobàole):
When you want to say what somebody did was amazing or very very very cool. For example, someone says: “When I went to China last winter, I saw the great wall covered in snow” you can say:
Pinyin: wā, diǎobàole!
English: Wow, very very very cool!
Warning: be careful using these Chinese slang words in formal situations or with older people as they could be considered offensive. Try using these Chinese slang words with your Chinese friends and see what reactions you get!
If you want to impress your Chinese friends even more with some other words that are unique to Chinese, you might be interested in words that are difficult to translate into English.
by Maxwell Troy-O’Donovan