Asian Language School

7 March 2017

2017 Chinese Internet Buzzwords

Chinese language is enriched with many new internet words and phrases each year. These new words are usually sourced from popular culture and current affairs which then become viral among the online community. Some of the Chinese internet buzzwords are recycled from existing words that now convey new meanings. These internet buzzwords are very popular among the younger generation and are frequently cited in popular media. Thus, it is very important to be familiar with what they are. However, these buzzwords are usually not introduced in your Chinese classes nor Chinese textbooks. Hence, we compile a short list of popular Chinese internet buzzwords for you to learn:

Chinese Internet Buzzwords


Originally, 老司机 means industry veterans. The meaning is then used to refer to experts within online forums and games. Today, the use of the word has been extended further to include people who are in general knowledgeable and resourceful.


In 2015, Netizens used this word to refer to the online shopaholic phenomenon spurred by the Double Eleven Shopping Carnival, the largest online shopping day in China to celebrate the Chinese Valentine. Today, 吃土means penniless.


This phrase is used to express admiration to something or someone.


碗得服 is adapted from the English word ‘wonderful’ and carries a similar meaning. The word was popularised by a Chinese actor Deng Chao who used this word repeatedly on his Weibo’s comments.


黑凤梨 is adapted from Cantonese and means ‘I like you’. The word came from the lyrics of Beyond’s song 喜欢你 (a Cantonese song) that was displayed as 黑凤梨 in Mandarin during a popular television singing show.


白莲花 has two opposite meanings. One, it can be used to refer to people who are kind and pure. Second, it can be used sarcastically to refer to people who look like nice people on the outside but rotten on the inside.


撒狼黑油 is adapted from the Korean word saranghaeyo and means ‘I love you’.


孔雀女 literally means ‘peacock females’. The term is used to refer to city girls who live pampered lives; they do not see the value of money and believe in true love.


凤凰男 literally means ‘phoenix males’. The term is used to refer to men who come from humble beginnings, move to the city, and achieve success based on their own talent and hard work.


明明病 is a phrase that is used to describe a bad habit, not a physical illness. It is derived from the  phrase 明明知道 (knowing full well one is not supposed to do something, and yet doing the opposite as a result of not being able to resist a temptation). For instance, knowing full well one is not supposed to eat rich food when trying to lose weight, yet one is not able to resist the temptation of unhealthy diet.


This expression in general can be used to describe that one is speechless toward someone or something because one cannot understand it. It can also be used to express contempt.


呵呵originally is used to express laughter or happiness. It now can be used for a range of other expressions, such as to express agreement, sympathy, mockery, or helplessness.


土豪 has been used to describe the new rich who are uncultured. It is also used to describe wealthy people who like to flaunt their wealth. It is now used to describe people who are willing to spend their money generously (who are not necessarily be rich).


This phrase is adapted from the English expression ‘too young, too simple’ and means exactly that.


Abbreviated as 注孤生, the phrase means ‘forever alone’. It is derived from a popular comic of the same name “Forever Alone’.


宅男 refers to people who mostly stay at home and rarely go out.


我擦 can be used to replace a swear word that at the same time expresses surprise, dissatisfaction, or anger. It is mostly used by young people. 我 can be omitted from the expression.

银 is the equivalent of 人. It is derived from a dialect of Qingdao.


卖萌 means to deliberately display one’s cuteness or to act cute.


In short, 吐槽 means ‘to ridicule’. It is to describe a deliberate act of exposing the truth in front of colleagues or friends to ridicule someone, causing the other party to lose face.


么么哒 is like ‘mwah mwah’; means ‘kiss kiss’.

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