Jun 20, 2019

Popular expressions among Chinese youth (I)

By Rachel Liang | A Super Chineasian

Ever wondered what catchphrases Chinese young people use to communicate with their peers, especially what they would use online or send in their text messages? Let’s learn the following popular ones first!

神 pinyin: shén; God; mysterious; unusual

This character originally depicted a lightning bolt. Ancient Chinese people couldn’t explain what caused lightning. They thought its power came from “God” or a “spiritual being.” As an adjective, 神 can mean “mysterious” or “unusual.”

好神 pinyin: hǎo shén; Very good

好 (Good) + 神 (God) = 好神 (Very good) [literally] (Good god)

This phrase is rarely used literally; instead, it is often meant to pay compliments to the person who just did something unbelievable or predict something very accurate. For example,

你好神!(You’re very good!)

女神 pinyin: nǚ shén; Goddess; ideal woman

女 (Woman/female) + 神 (God) = 女神 (Goddess)

Besides “goddess,” a modern take on 女神 refers to an ideal or good-looking woman. So, 她是我的女神 (she + is + my + goddess) means “she is my ideal woman.”

男神 pinyin: nán shén; Ideal man

Like 女神, 男神 (man/male + god) can be used to refer to “Prince Charming,” an “ideal” or a “good-looking” man.

他是我的男神 means “he is my ideal man.”

神馬/神马 pinyin: shén mǎ; Mythical horse; what (as an internet slang)

神 (God/mysterious) + 馬 (Horse)  = 神馬 (Mythical horse)

The simplified form = 神马. 神馬/神马 has become a popular internet slang meaning “what” because its pronunciation is similar to the standard Chinese word for “what” (什麼/什么; shén me).



By Rachel Liang | A Super Chineasian

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