2,366 Chinese buzzwords with English explanations

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茶杯一代 cha
3
 bei
1
 yi
2
 dai
4
 

teacup generation

Chabei is Chinese for teacup. As teacups are usually made from delicate materials that can easily break or chip, such a character has been borrowed to describe the generation born in the 90s. These kids who grow up in the digital age are considered fragile. They have difficulty handling criticism or rejection. When they get to difficulties in jobs or in life, they tend to breakdown.

242 Buzzes


城会玩 cheng
2
 hui
4
 wan
2
 

City people can really play

The phrase is abbreviated form of “nimen (you) chengliren (city people) zhenhui (really can) wan (play),” often used in gentle teasing between friends for doing something quirky and unconventional. The phrase is said to have been coined to describe actress Zhang Xinyu when she wore a flamboyant red and green cotton dress in a traditional household goods pattern to the 68th Cannes Film Festival. Many netizens joked that she must have “stolen grandma’s floral quilt cover.”

216 Buzzes


情绪污染 qing
2
 xu
4
 wu
1
 ran
3
 

Emotional pollution

When people spend too long watching the terrible scenes of an accident, such as the recent Tianjin blasts, they may come to feel scared or depressed. Like air pollution that travels from one area to another, long and persistent negative emotions can spread between individuals, causing anxiety or depression that weighs everyone down.

259 Buzzes


歪果仁 wai
1
 guo
3
 ren
2
 

foreigner

The term meaning a “tilted nut” is often used by modern Chinese to refer to their foreign friends in a humorous way while chatting online. It is a phonetic similarity of what the Chinese call foreigners wai guo ren, only with different characters. The wai in “tilted nut” is pronounced in the first tone, while the wai in “foreigners” is pronounced with the high falling tone. The result is a slight mocking of foreigners who often cannot identify the tones of different Chinese characters.

239 Buzzes


独角兽 du
2
 jiao
3
 shou
4
 

Unicorn

Traditionally, unicorn is a legendary horse with a large, pointed, spiraling horn projecting from its forehead. But in the business world, a unicorn (or unicorn company) has in recent times become the accepted description for a billion-dollar Internet start-up, usually no more than 10 years old. Of all the so-called Unicorns, Uber stands out above the rest.

251 Buzzes


舔屏 tian
3
 ping
2
 

to lick the screen

Tian is to lick, and ping is the screen. Inspired by the various “licking screen” GIF characters who are drawn to appear as if they’re licking the viewer’s face, the phrase is often used as a display of adoration and unrestrained affection for an Internet hit when it appears on the screen.

249 Buzzes


粉眼航班/紫眼航班 fen
3
 yan
3
/zi
3
 yan
3
 hang
2
 ban
1
 

pink-eye flight/purple-eye flight

Fenyan is pink-eye, and ziyan is purpleeye. If a red-eye flight is a long overnight flight, a pink-eye is any flight just short of that, while a flight that is taken or arrives at midnight could be defined as a purple-eye.

277 Buzzes


轻宵夜 qing
1
 xiao
1
 ye
4
 

brinner

Brinner is a fusion of breakfast and dinner. It’s the idea of eating breakfast foods when you finish a day’s work in the wee hours of night. Since it’s too late to enjoy a full meal before bed, night munchies are served. This usually consists of foods traditionally eaten at breakfast such as eggs, pancakes, waffles and cereal.

241 Buzzes


僵尸肉 jiang
1
 shi
1
 rou
4
 

zombie meat

In horror stories, a jiangshi or zombie, is a dead person who has been brought back to life. Zombie meat refers to decadesold frozen meat that is served after being soaked in hydrogen peroxide to make it look fresh and edible. Police have recently intercepted more than 100,000 tons of frozen chicken, beef and pork smuggled into China.

255 Buzzes


网警 wang
3
 jing
3
 

Internet police

Police in 50 Chinese cities went online starting June 1 in an effort to crack down on the spread of illegal and “harmful” information via Weibo, WeChat and online messaging boards. Internet users can report illegal online activities to police officials’ social network accounts 24 hours a day.

228 Buzzes


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