A Social Media Dictionary:

The Hottest Buzzwords Dominating Chinese Social Networks

By Colin Yang

The Hoffman Agency, Shanghai

Dicitionary_Chinese social networks

Friendship 101 states that meaningful relationships develop between people who share things in common. Or – to borrow the maxim – birds of a feather flock together.

 Now, this doesn’t mean that if you’re an Indiana Jones fan you can only be friends with other Indiana Jones fans. But it does mean that if you want to be friends with someone, you’ve got to “speak the same language.” You have to understand each other’s jokes, share a similar sense of humor and hold at least a few key interests in common so that you can enjoy a conversation.

Forming a friendship online isn’t all that different.

Some Hoffmanites (and maybe some of you reading this post) have wanted to get accounts on Chinese social networks such as Weibo, but have been concerned about the language barrier. Even if you know Chinese already, you may not be up to speed on the latest buzzwords dominating social media.

 So today, I’d like to acquaint you with some key terms and catchphrases abounding on Chinese microblogs. Remember them and use them – they will be your secret weapons to being popular on Weibo and gaining five-digit followers. Who knows? They might even help you score a few friendships as well.


Character 1 - Chinese social networks

What does it mean: A tall, rich and handsome guy & a fair-faced, rich and gorgeous lady

How to pronounce: Gay Fool Shy & Bad Fool Maid

What does it mean: Loser

How to pronounce: Diors

Character 3 - Chinese social networks

What does it mean: Dear

How to pronounce: Chin

Character 4 - Chinese social networks

 What does it mean: To be embarrassed

How to pronounce: John

Character 5 - Chinese social networks

 What does it mean: To be thick, insane

How to pronounce: Er

Character 6 - Chinese social networks

What does it mean: Dominating, thrashing

How to pronounce: Ball True Shawn

Character 7 - Chinese social networks

 What does it mean: To be a bystander

How to pronounce: Dar(k) John You De

Approved usage / comments:

I have no idea. I am just an innocent Dar(k) John You De.

Character 8 - Chinese social networks

 What does it mean: To calm down

How to pronounce: Damn Dean

Approved usage / comments:

Damn dean, buddy. It’s no big deal.

Character 9 - Chinese social networks

 What does it mean: To struggle

How to pronounce: Joe Jay

Approved usage / comments:

I am debating between a Maserati and a Ferrari. Each car has its own merits – this is such a Joe Jay.

Character 10 - Chinese social networks

 What does it mean: Moral integrity

How to pronounce: Jay Chao / Jay Chao swee(t) yi D

Approved usage / comments:

How could you do something like that? Where is your Jay Chao

 Character 11 - Chinese social networks

What does it mean: Hold on / Hang in there

How to pronounce: Hold Ju(de)

Character 12 - Chinese social networks

What does it mean: Awesome

How to pronounce: Gay Lee

Character 13 - Chinese social networks

What does it mean: Cheating

How to pronounce: Kenn Dear

Character 14 - Chinese social networks

(This phrase will be your trump!!!)

What does it mean: How do you view this?

How to pronounce: Yuan Fang, Knee Zen Merk Ann?

You May Also Like

New leadership signals new — but unpredictable — opportunity for Indonesia’s tech sector 

Maureen Tseng and Niko Radityo offer tips for tech companies looking to build their brand in Indonesia and explore how policy and regulation changes impact the communications landscape.

Photo of bright Indonesian skyline at night

Why should diversity and inclusion be at the heart of every organization?

Constance Falourd discusses the crucial importance of embracing diversity and the plethora of benefits it offers to organizations.

Hands of diverse skin tones forming a heart