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Chinese Idiom for Not Exactly Real Girlfriend

It’s not easy being a young single guy in China.

You live in the era of the 3 highs (三高时代 sān gāo shí dài).

And you have to go home for Spring Festival — where relatives look forward to meeting your nonexistent girlfriend!

Some Chinese online shopping sites have seen opportunity in this episode that’s replayed each year in homes across China. They let you rent someone who can pretend to be your boyfriend/girlfriend and save you from embarrassment.

That’s assuming that you can pull off it off — that you can successfully 以假乱真(yǐ jiǎ luàn zhēn).

以假乱真(yǐ jiǎ luàn zhēn) means to take something that’s fake and try to pass it off as real. It can also mean to take something that’s fake and mix it among real things.

Here’s a breakdown of the characters in 以假乱真(yǐ jiǎ luàn zhēn):

以(yǐ): formal way to say “to use”

假(jiǎ): fake (eg. 假币 – jiǎ bì – fake currency)

乱(luàn): to confuse or mix up (eg. 混乱 – hùn luàn – lacking order)

真(zhēn): genuine or real (eg. 真货 – zhēn huò – genuine goods)

And here are some examples of how 以假乱真 is used.

Usage 1): As a Verb.

Example 1 A)

私自勾兑的假酒真的能以假乱真吗? “

“sī zì gōu duì de jiǎ jiǔ zhēn de néng yǐ jiǎ luàn zhēn ma?”

“Is privately blended fake alcohol really able to pass itself off as real?

Example 1 B)

有时候真的不得不佩服这些山寨厂商,模仿也可以以假乱真,功力不浅 “

“yǒu shí hou zhēn de bù dé bù pèi fú zhè xiē shān zhài chǎng shāng, mó fǎng yě kě yǐ yǐ jiǎ luàn zhēn, gōng lì bù qiǎn “

“Sometimes you can’t help but respect these shanzhai manufacturers — they’re able to pass off fake things as real, and their skills are considerable”

Example 1 C)

不少温泉经营者为吸引游客,采用种种手法以假乱真 “

“bù shǎo wēn quán jīng yíng zhě wèi xī yǐn yóu kè, cǎi yòng zhǒng zhǒng shǒu fǎ yǐ jiǎ luàn zhēn “

“Many hot spring operators use pass off fake things as real in order to attract travelers”

Usage 2): 以假乱真 + 的 + Noun.

Example 2 A)

…尝试用鸭肉来做出以假乱真的羊肉 “

“àn zhào wǎng luò shàng tí gōng de zhì zuò fāng fǎ, cháng shì yòng yā ròu lái zuò chū yǐ jiǎ luàn zhēn de yáng ròu”

“…taste some meat that can pass itself off as lamb but is actually made from duck meat”

Example 2 B)

这里的配件和包装足以达到以假乱真的地步 “

“zhè lǐ de pèi jiàn hé bāo zhuāng zú yǐ dá dào yǐ jiǎ luàn zhēn de dì bù “

“The parts and packaging has already reached the level of being able to pass itself off as real

Example 2 C)

一个以假乱真的记者证,街头只要数百元就可以买到 “

“yí gè yǐ jiǎ luàn zhēn de jì zhě zhèng, jiē tóu zhǐ yào shù bǎi yuán jiù kě yǐ mǎi dào “

“A real looking journalist license and title can be bought for just a few hundred yuan”

What do you think of this phenomenon?

How much would you need to be paid to pretend to be someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend? 

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3 Responses to Chinese Idiom for Not Exactly Real Girlfriend

  1. yizichen February 4, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    I watched a tv series about this topic, it was a great practice!
    You can watch it online:

    http://www.iqiyi.com/dianshiju/zgnyhjgn.html

    • Alan February 4, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

      Thanks, that looks like a fun show!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Chinese Words for "Fake": 山寨 vs 盗版 vs 假冒 - February 17, 2012

    […] (dào bǎn): A complete imitation that tries to be identical to the real thing. They try to 以假乱真 in order to seek profits. This is illegal. This is common for products that use intellectual […]