Hot on Weibo: Top 10 Chinese Pet Phrases

Want to know the most used Chinese phrases?

It’s your lucky week – the hot topic on Weibo is “What’s your pet phrase?” (#你的口头禅是什么?#)

你(nǐ): you

口头禅(kǒu tóu chán): pet phrase

是(shì): to be

什么(shén me): what

The top 10 Chinese pet phrases in all their glory, based on official stats:

10. 没意思(méi yì si): boring.

Eg.: “how was that movie?” “没意思(méi yì si).”

9. 挺好的(tǐng hǎo de): “pretty good”

Can use in almost any situation, like your job, health, the taste of food, etc.

Eg.: “what do you think of that guy?” “挺好的(tǐng hǎo de).”

8. “不是吧(bú shì ba)” or “真的假的?(zhēn de jiǎ de?)”: “that’s not true is it?” or “really?”

Use when you’re surprised or find something hard to believe.

You can even use them together for maximum impact!

7. 无聊(wú liáo): “boring”

Eg.: “What’s up?” “干嘛呢?” (gàn má ne?)

“Being bored” “无聊着呢。” (wú liáo zhe ne?)

6. 我晕(wǒ yūn): “I’m dizzy”

Use this in a wide range of situations, like if:

    • you can’t stand something
    • are at your wit’s end
    • don’t know what you need to do or feel overwhelmed.

5. 郁闷(yù mèn): “depressed”

Doesn’t refer to serious depression, but instead “feeling down.” Applies most when you’ve had a rough day and you have some pent up frustrations.

Eg.: a student has a bad grade and is criticized by their teacher. The student feels angry but can’t take it out on their teacher so he/she just says: “真郁闷!”

4. Some Profanity (一些脏话 – yì xiē zāng huà)

Maybe we’ll get into this in a future post. :)

3. 不知道(bù zhī dào): “I don’t know”

2. “神经病(shén jīng bìng) “or “有病啊(yǒu bìng a) “: “crazy” or “you’re crazy”

Like in English, it doesn’t refer to people who are actually insane.

But unlike the English, where “crazy” can be used quite positively, in Chinese this always sounds negative. It implies that something’s “messed up” about the person. Eg. If someone does something strange in a public place then they might hear this word.

1. 随便(suí biàn): “whatever” or “anything’s fine”

Usually use this when hanging out with people and making a decision.

Eg. “What do you want to eat?” “随便(suí biàn)”

Eg. “What do you want to do?” “随便(suí biàn)”

Do you have any 口头禅(kǒu tóu chán) that you’re surprised to not see here?

If you want to see some of these in action, FluentU is the thing you seek!

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