September 13, 2009

Chinese Culture Specific Terminology


  • Concerned Department (department in charge) (Chinese:有关部门 Pinyin: yǒu​ guān​ bù ​mén​​)
Current Meaning: This is one of the most mysterious departments to ever exist in Chinese politics. To avoid pointing fingers, many Chinese news reports will replace the specific ministry/bureaus name with "yǒu​ guān​ bù ​mén​​." So when citizens do have complaints, they never know which government agency to contact.

  • gunmen (Chinese: 枪手; Pinyin: qiāng shǒu​)
Current Meaning: The term has many meanings.
1. Someone who is hired secretly to write under the name of a more famous author.

2. Netizens who praise or denigrate another out of some ulterior move--such as money--while pretending they don't have any special interest at all
  • JP (pinyin abbreviation for ji pin Chinese: 极品)
"Ji pin" literally means "highest grade or quality." However, nowadays it is mostly used to describe people or deeds that are base/low/sordid/bad to an extreme.
  • lei (Chinese: 雷)
Literally means being struck by thunder or accidentally stepping on a mine. People use it to express their shock and [typically] disapproval.
  • MM (abbr for 1美眉 and sometimes 2妹妹; Pinyin: 1 měi méi, 2 mèi mèi )
Current Meaning: 1. Beautiful young girl; 2. sister (as in girlfriend)

  • SB or 傻逼 or 傻屄 (Pinyin: shǎ bī)
Current Meaning: It means stupid person but the manner of expression is dirtier and more crude, i.e. it literally means "stupid cunt"

  • tofu-dreg project (Chinese: 豆腐渣; Pinyin: Dòu Fu Zhā)
Origin: Dreg leftover after making tofu. High in fiber content.
Current Meaning: Used in mainland to refer to poorly constructed buildings, especially cases in which the contractors skimp on construction materials in order to pocket the saved money.

  • 小三 or 小3 (Pinyin: xiǎo sān)
Current Meaning: It literally means "little 3" and is derived from the word "third party," i.e. someone who intrudes on and often breaks up a marriage. The term has come to signify in China an ever expanding group of women, typically young, who latch onto older married men that already have money and status in the society.

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