“He is eating soft rice,” which means that he is living off of his wife’s money and not a man.We have all heard crazy chinglish phrases used around China at least once if you have lived here for any length of time. Since I am a teacher, I hear more chinglish than the usual foreigner. I am particularly impressed with China’s younger generation’s chinglish slang. As with American youth, there are common slang words that are used in everyday life. So, I decided to compose a useful list of chinglish slang words and phrases that will keep you up-to-date and in the know.
Oh My Lady Gaga – I think this expression has come to be one of the most common phrases used in China to date. Obviously referencing Gaga herself, this is used as a replacement for the American phrase OMG (Oh my god). It is so overused that I start to cringe whenever I hear one of my students or colleagues using it.
Outman – When I first heard this word, I was a little confused. I wasn’t sure if they were saying outman or automan. But after clarifying with my younger students, I was quickly informed that it was indeed pronounced outman and that it meant you were “out” or old-fashioned. Sadly, I find myself using this phrase when someone seems to be in another world when I am talking to them.
Smilence – Move over Tyra Banks with your smizing, China has created another term smilence. Smilence is the term used when someone is smiling in silence. Similar to smizing, smiling is seen in your eyes and face without actually smiling with your mouth.
Give you some color to see see – This idiom made me laugh when I first heard a high school student use it when speaking to another student. They were having a disagreement about something and I saw one boy raise his fist and shout “I will give you some color to see see.” The phrase obviously was a threat of some kind and when I questioned the student on the meaning he informed me that it mean they would hit them so hard that they would see colors. It actually made sense in a cartoon kind of way. This expression might even catch on in America.
Oh My Smurf – Since the release of the smurf movie in China many people have coined a phrase from the movie. Oh my smurf is quickly replacing Oh my Lady Gaga in the fashionable thing to say these days. I guess the smurfs have stolen the hearts of the Chinese and Gaga has been sent back to the states with the rest of her little monsters.
Vegeteal– A word that was created in the height of the QQ farm craze. Vegeteal is a word used to describe stealing ones vegetables from their QQ farm. It is a combination of Vegetable + Steal. Although, the farming game has lost its popularity these days, the word is still used to those diehard farming fans.
Gelivible/Ungelivible – This is the newest slang word traveling around China. It is a play on the word unbelievable. It is used when someone is upset or frustrated about a situation or with someone. I have begun to hear this word more and more often in the workplace and everyday conversation. To be considered cool you should try to add this new word to your chinglish vocabulary.
You are too two – I think the most comical phrase I have heard since I have been in China is when one of my students told the other that he was too two. At first I thought he was just making an English language mistake or stuttering, but in fact he explained later that he was calling the other student in the class stupid.
Hold Sister – This term is used when you see a girl who grabs all the attention of around her. I guess in our American slang this would be equivalent to saying she is the popular girl or a prep. It seems adding the word “hold” to another word give it that extra emphasis to the meaning. This is also becoming more popular.
This is just a small list of common chinglish slang words used today by the youth of China. I am sure you have heard of many more that make you laugh and even confused at times. However, if you want to be on top of the China-lingo then I suggest you add a few of these interesting terms to your vocabulary, because you just don’t want to be “outman.”
- ‘Sexting,’ ‘Retweet,’ and Other Tech Slang Added to Oxford English Dictionary (adweek.com)
- Life At Random: Slang Words #66 (unknowntheartist.com)
- Chinese internet slang’s gonna make you 囧 (businessinsider.com)