Did you know that the biggest retail day in a year is on “singles day” in China, something that was created by the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba! ShaoLan and Jesse from Transition talk about how to describe being single in Chinese. This is something that young people don’t tend to ask directly, but may whisper in a party to find out if a particular person is single or “available.” Elders, however, tend to be more direct, so if a Chinese elder asks you if you are single, it might be because they have an idea to set you up with a niece or nephew! This word can also be broken down to describe other single things, such as a single train ticket or a single bed!
In Chinese, the way to say “single” is 單身/单身. The first character 單/单 means single, alone or individual, while the second character 身 means “body,” so when you are a “single body” then it means you are not a couple, you are just you, “single” 單身/单身.