Essential Chinese Slang To Celebrate “Singles Day”

Learn a foreign language with videos

What is this “Singles Day” business?

Every year in November, single Chinese people celebrate their singleness together on “Singles Day” –  光棍节 (guāng gùn jié). November 11 (11/11) has been unofficially designated as Singles Day because it appears as four “1”s. 光棍 (guāng gùn) generally means bachelor but literally means “bare stick,” making the name 光棍节 (guāng gùn jié) all the more appropriate.


What is “Magical Singles Day”?

In 2011, Singles Day had six ones in the date: 11/11/11. Since that only happens once every hundred years (in Chinese you’d say “是百年一遇的” – shì bǎi nián yī yù de), Chinese netizens called it Magical Singles Day (神棍节 – shén gùn jié) or Giant Singles Day (巨型光棍节 – jù xíng guāng gùn jié).

How do I celebrate “Singles Day” the Chinese way?

Simple – here’s a quick lesson in Chinese slang. Either you 脱光 (tuō guāng) or 闪分 (shǎn fēn):

脱光 (tuō guāng) here is not to be mistaken with 脱光 (tuō guāng) 衣服 (yī fu), which means “to completely remove your clothing.” In this case, it means 摆脱光棍 (bǎi tuō guāng gùn), which means “to escape the status of being single.”

闪分 (shǎn fēn), on the other hand, means to quickly break up with your girlfriend or boyfriend, and enter the ranks of the those celebrating Singles Day (you could say “加入过光棍节的行列” – jiā rù ɡuò guāng gùn jié de háng liè).

Chinese netizens’ comments on “Magical Singles Day”

Although we probably won’t be around to celebrate the next “Magical Singles Day,” we can take a look at the most recent occurrence, in 2011, and learn from some related internet chats:

Netizen 1)


“jīnnián shuí yuànyì péi wǒ ɡuò shén gùn jié, wǒ ràng tā míngnián ɡuò fùqīn jié.”

“If someone is willing to help me celebrate Magical Singles Day this year, I’ll give them a Father’s Day to celebrate next year.”

Netizen 2)

“一百年才出现一次的巨型光棍节就要来了!… 心动不如行动! 赶紧拿起电话和你的对象分手吧!”

“yībǎinián cái chūxiàn yícì de jùxíng guāng gùn jié jiùyào lái le!…  xīndòng bùrú xíngdòng! gǎnjǐn náqǐ diànhuà hé nǐ de duìxiàng fēnshǒu ba!”

Giant Singles Day, which happens once every hundred years, is upon us!…  Better to act than just be be thinking about it! Quick, grab your telephone and break up with your SO!”

Netizen 3)


“dānshēn, zhìshǎo jīnnián děi bǎochí zhù, bìxū de! “

“Single – for at least this year, (I) absolutely have to stay that way!”

Netizen 4)


“xiǎng ɡuò jùxíng guāng gùn jié bù? gǎnkuài fēnshǒu ba, hái gǎndejí! “

“Do you want to celebrate Giant Singles Day? Then go ahead and break up, there’s still time!”

Slang related to “Singles Day”

光光 (guāng guāng) — Single guy (aka. 男光棍 – nán guāng gùn)

明明 (míng míng) — Single girl (aka. 女光棍 – nǚ guāng gùn)

脱光 (tuō guāng) — (For guys) To find a girlfriend and escape singleness

失明 (shī míng) — (For girls) To find a boyfriend and escape singleness

光复(guāng fù) — To return to single status

小鸟级 (xiǎo niǎo jí) — Describes someone who is looking, but hasn’t found the right person yet (小鸟 means “chick” and emphasizes that the person hasn’t yet taken flight; 级 means level, and 小鸟级 is the first level)

菜鸟级 (cài niǎo jí) — Describes someone who is in between relationships, and just resting (菜鸟 means novice or beginner)

肉鸟级 (ròu niǎo jí) — Describes someone who doesn’t feel like being in a relationship to any number of reasons, but is still waiting for their Mr. Right or Ms. Right (肉鸟 – ròu niǎo is not a real word but presumably indicates a bird that’s mature and plump)

骨灰级 (gǔ huī jí) — Describes someone who has a lot of experience in love, and has neared the point of being disillusioned (骨灰 – gǔ huī – means “ashes,” and we’ll leave it to you to connect the dots between the literal and actual meaning here)

看破红尘 (kàn pò hóng chén) — (not slang but relevant) to be disillusioned with the world

真命天子 (zhēn mìng tiān zǐ) — (not slang but relevant) Mr. Right; Prince Charming

Questions? Comments? Other slang or stories you’d like to share related to Singles Day? Hope you have a memorable one!

If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Chinese with real-world videos.

Experience Chinese immersion online!

5 Responses to Essential Chinese Slang To Celebrate “Singles Day”

  1. Allan Ngo November 13, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    Cool post Alan! Didn’t know much about this occasion in China. Thanks for the overview and the helpful terms and explanation.


  2. Alan November 14, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    Thanks for the kind words Allan!

    Hope all is well with Money In Mandarin!

  3. 舒婷 January 5, 2014 at 7:57 am #

    This is Pretty helpful, Thanks !! :) <3

    • Alan January 5, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

      Thank you for the kind words!


  1. Hao Hao Report - November 9, 2011

    Someone thinks this story is fantastic…

    This story was submitted to Hao Hao Report – a collection of China’s best stories and blog posts. If you like this story, be sure to go vote for it….