Before your stay, Cultural, How-to Guides, Languages, Mandarin Guide

Max’s Take on Chinese Slang: Essential Phrases You Need to Know

If you ever find you have a hard time understanding people chatting around you, it is time you start to learn some “real” Chinese.

囧 (jiong) can be dated back to an ancient Chinese word, which meant light. However, because it looks like a sad and silly face, the meaning of jiong’s that is most familiar to the public is sad, embarrassed, and helpless.

牛逼 (niu bi), also known as NB,  is used to comment on a person’s behavior when they did something  sensational or shocking. Usually it’s considered sarcasm.  For example, if someone is boasting that he could do something difficult easily, you could say “You are NB”.

我去 (wo qu), also know as 我了个去 (wo le ge qu), literally means “I am going”. However, it has nothing to do with going somewhere; people say it only to show that they are shocked by some unexpected things, usually negative.  For example, when you found you lost your wallet, you can say 我去.

给跪了 (gei gui le) literally means “to kneel down for”. Kneeling down in Chinese culture means succumbing. If you kneel down for somebody, you show that you yield to that one. But now, as people say 给跪了, they are showing that they cannot help.

打酱油 (da jiang you), traditionally means “to get some soy oil”. In the past, people used to take their own bottles to grocery stores to get soy oil. So that’s where 打酱油 comes from.  But today 打酱油 is used to describe people when they take part in something but do not put any efforts or make any results.

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