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6 Common Chinese Slang Words

Like all languages, Chinese has an informal set of slang words which can be quite useful to know and can help one communicate better.

Chinese slang usually can’t be learned from formal courses, but you’ll hear it all around you all the time when conversing with native speakers. It’s a crucial element of daily communication, without which you may struggle to understand what those native speakers are talking about. In this article, we will provide you with some of the most common slang words you may come across during daily conversations. Below are 6 of the most popular Chinese slang words.


1.抱大腿(Bào dàtuǐ)

Literally, it means to “to cling to someone’s lap”

Colloquially,it means to ask a favor or get someone’s influence or power.

E.G.  你好厉害,我能抱大腿吗? (ni hao li hai, wo neng bao da tui ma?)

Literally, it means to “you are amazing, can I cling to your lap?”

Actually, it means to “you are amazing, can you help me?”


2. 颜值(Yánzhí)

The level of one’s appearance

E.G. 她颜值很高(ta yan zhi hen gao)

Her level of appearance is high, or she is pretty


3. 三观(Sān ɡuān)

The fundamental views for the view of life, the view of value and the view of the world.

E.G. 我们三观不合,分手吧。(wo men san guan bu he, fen shou ba.)

We have different fundamental views, we should break up.


我不想和三观不正的人交朋友。(wo bu xiang he san guan bu zheng de ren jiao peng you)

I don’t want to make friends who are with wrong fundamental views.


4.小鲜肉/老腊肉 (Xiǎo xiānròu/Lǎo làròu.)

小鲜肉 (Xiǎo xiānròu)

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Literally, it refers to “small fresh meat”.

Colloquially, it means a young and handsome boy.


小鲜肉演员(xiao xian rou yan yuan)

Young handsome actor.


老腊肉 (Lǎo làròu)

Opposite to “小鲜肉”, literally refers to “tough cured meat”.

Colloquially, it means old and experienced man.


老腊肉演员(lao larou yan yuan)

Experienced old actor.


5.放鸽子 (fàng gē zǐ)

Literally, it means to “set the pigeon free”

Colloquially, it means to stand somebody up or not to keep one’s promise.


他又放我鸽子(ta you fang wo ge zi)

Literally means “he set my pigeons free again”

Actually means “he stood me up again”


6.大姨妈(dà yí mā)

Literally, it means to “big aunt”

Colloquially, it means to the women’s period


她大姨妈来了(ta da yi ma lai le)

Literally means “ her big aunt has come”

Actually means “she is having her period”


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