9 Chinese Slang Words from 2016 You May Have Missed

By That's, December 27, 2016

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201612/thats-year-review-logo-mini.pngFor many in the West, 2016 will be remembered for Trump, Brexit, terrorism in Europe and an absurd number of pop culture deaths, from Bowie to Muhammad Ali. By comparison, China had an unusually quiet year. Nonetheless, there were still a few goings-on in the world's most populous country. 

In our 2016 Year in Review series, we recap the best (and worst) of China's year in the worlds of technology, social media, sport, fashion, food, arts and more.

Each month, Mia Li introduces you to a trending phrase in our regular 'Chinese Urban Dictionary' series. Here's a look back at some notable Chinese slang words from 2016.

1. Goudai / Gǒudài /  狗带  

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Goudai

What it means: dog leash; a homonym of to ‘go die’


A: My handbag cost 10,000 kuai. How much did yours cost?
B: A hundred yuan. It’s from Taobao. I goudai

Read the full definition here.

2. Nanyou Li Max / Nányǒu Lì Max /  男友力Max  

Nanyou Li Max

What it means: having very high potential and the maximum number of the characteristics of a good boyfriend


A: When I got home from the work party last night, my boss sent me a message asking me if I got home okay.
B: Nanyouli max!
A: Yes but he is married.
B: Damn all the good ones are taken.

Read the full definition here.

3. Laonü / Lāonǚ /  捞女  

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Laonü

What it means: a woman who relies on her sexual allure to achieve upward mobility; a gold digger


A: Why does Lingling always go to the golf course? She doesn't even play.
B: She is playing a different game, if you catch my drift.
A: Oh. She’s trying to meet a rich guy?
B: Why else would she doll up just to sit there playing with her hair?
A: Does she really think being a laonü will work?
B: Well, it worked for all her other friends.

Read the full definition here.

4. Zhanan / Zhānán /渣男 

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Zhanan

What it means: a player, an unfaithful man, a cheater, scum


A: This guy I’m seeing shows up every other week to spend time with me, then just goes incommunicado. It’s been months. What is wrong with him?
B: Either he’s a spy or a zhanan

Read the full definition here.

5. Beitai / Bèitāi / 备胎 

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Beitai

What it means: a spare tire; a fallback guy/girl

A: Jia Jia asked me out again! Our last date was two months ago.
B: Two months? What has he been up to this whole time?
A: He said he was out of town.
B: Which town has no phones? You are such a beitai.

Read the full definition here.

6. Rensheng Yingjia / Rénshēng Yíngjiā / 人生赢家

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Rensheng Yingjia

What it means: winner at life, someone who wins at life


A: Check out this year’s '30 Under 30' list. These people are already so far ahead. They pretty much win life.
B: Yeah, they are the rensheng yingjia. You’re either born one or you’re not.

Read the full definition here.

7. Yanzhi / Yánzhí /   颜值

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Yanzhi

What it means: the prettiness index, a numerical value for how attractive someone is


A: The new guy single handedly raised the average yanzhi of the office by 45 percent.
B: I know. He is so good-looking that he'd raise the yanzhi of any office by 45 percent. 

Read the full definition here.

8. Gan’ga ai / gān’gà ái / 尴尬癌 

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Gan' ga ai

What it means: Awkwardness cancer; The feeling of being in an extremely embarrassing situation


A: I can’t watch the Spring Festival Gala anymore.
B: Why not?
A: Every year I have to sit and watch my parents laugh at Internet jokes from 2005. It’s so awkward that my entire body becomes paralyzed from gan’ga ai.

Read the full definition here.

9. Shenshou Dang / shēnshǒu dǎng /  伸手党

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Shenshou Dang

What it means: someone who, instead of looking things up for themselves, insists on bothering others by asking them for information (and is never grateful when helped).


A: What does ‘nomenclature’ mean?
B: Come on, it takes three seconds to look it up in a dictionary. It’s kind of hard to explain.
A: You look it up and tell me.
B: You are such a shenshou dang.

Read the full definition here.

For more 2016 Year in Review coverage, click here.

more news

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Kaigua

Kaigua refers to what we think those overachievers seem to have done to advance so much in so little time.

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Kejin

When you drop serious money in an online game, it's called kejin.

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Gangjing

What's a gangjing? Someone who argues for the sake of arguing.

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Pindie

​Literally meaning “to compete using father,” pindie is the exercise of using one’s father’s achievements to compete with others for upward mobility.

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Kenlao

Literally meaning “to gnaw off the elderly,” kenlao is the reluctant choice of millions of young people in China today.

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Zihei

We’re not sure if it's life that’s become harder or kids that have gotten weaker, but sarcasm alone is no longer a sufficient coping mechanism. Now we need zihei as well.

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Baokuan

Taobao is not just a company – it's a lifestyle. It has changed our way of life, our culture and our language. It has also made baokuan (ubiquity) possible.

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Foxi

People who have seen through the nihilistic nature of our material world, abandoned all desires and now live like buddhas.

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