At a Loss for Words: Top 6 “Aargghh” Words

Perplexing language mistakes.  Bewildering cultural chasms.  Head scratching conundrums. Learning Chinese, it can often feel as if you are simply jumping from mortifying moment to puzzling predicament.

As dedicated language learners, we all know the feeling of simply being at a loss for words.

Great news! You may be at a loss of words, but there is no shortage of ways in Chinese describing your mental state.

Today, lets look at 6 words in Chinese to describe moments when you are at a loss for any.

Find more words, phrases and even slang on FluentU that can rescue you if you ever need a moment. The program is video-based, and shows the language used naturally through native Chinese language clips and immersive learning tools.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

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6. 结巴 (jiē ba)- Stammer, not able to get words out coherently


tā yī shēng qì shuō huà jiù kāi shǐ jiē ba

He starts stammering when he gets angry

5. 咋舌 (zé shé)- Left speechless or breathless


ào yùn guàn jūn jù é jiǎng lì lìng rén zé shé

The huge sums awarded to Olympians leave people speechless

4. 无奈 (wú nài)- Helplessly frustrated


tā zhè yàng shuō dao, rán hòu tíng dùn le yī xià, wú nài de tàn le yī kǒu qì

After he said this, he paused and let out a helpless sigh

3.  无言以对 (wú yán yǐ duì)- Speechless, at a loss for words

“山寨厂商事先将iPhone 5的外观设计在苹果发布会以前就申请成专利,这实在让人无言以对”

shān zhài chǎng shāng shì xiān jiāng iPhone 5 de wài guān shè jì zài píng guǒ fā bù huì yǐ qián jiù shēn qǐng chéng zhuān lì, zhè shí zài ràng rén wú yán yǐ duì

“Shanzhai” factories applied for a patent on the iPhone 5 design even before Apple’s announcement, really leaving people at a loss for words

2. 无语 (wú yǔ)- No words, nothing to say


nà xiē ràng rén wú yǔ de “jīng sǒng” wén shēn

Tattoos which leave people speechless in horror


And the best way to express your futile frustration?


1. 没办法 (méi bàn fǎ)- What can you do?!? Oh well!


wǒ de ér zi shì gè dǎo dàn guǐ, wǒ zhēn ná tā méi bàn fǎ

My son is such a trouble maker, what can I do with him!?!

And One More Thing...

If you want to continue learning Chinese with interactive and authentic Chinese content, then you'll love FluentU.

FluentU naturally eases you into learning Chinese language. Native Chinese content comes within reach, and you'll learn Chinese as it's spoken in real life.

FluentU has a wide range of contemporary videos—like dramas, TV shows, commercials and music videos.

FluentU brings these native Chinese videos within reach via interactive captions. You can tap on any word to instantly look it up. All words have carefully written definitions and examples that will help you understand how a word is used. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.

FluentU's Learn Mode turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you're learning.

The best part is that FluentU always keeps track of your vocabulary. It customizes quizzes to focus on areas that need attention and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a 100% personalized experience.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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