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When learning any language, it's important to go beyond the textbook words and understand what's going on in reality with the locals. Learning Mandarin slang and buzzwords will greatly improve your day-to-day communication in China. From texting your Chinese friends and talking about the girl or guy you met the other night to understanding that someone isn’t actually talking about a cat or a dog, learning the basics of Mandarin slang can save you plenty of embarrassment. 

Below are 14 Mandarin slang and buzzwords that beginners will surely find useful. They range from words that have ancient stories behind them to recently-developed phrases you may want to save for texting or Internet use.


1. 小仙女(xiǎo xiān nǚ)

小仙女 means little fairies. Fairies used to be beautiful women in fairy tales. In the Internet world, 小仙女 can simply mean "pretty girl" or " young girl".

这位小仙女的名字叫Suzy。

zhè wèi xiǎo xiān nǚ de míng zì jiào Suzy.

This pretty girl's name is Suzy.

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2. 小鲜肉 (xiǎo xiān ròu)

小鲜肉 usually refers to a young handsome ma, usually between 14 and 25 years old, pure, good, kind, and who does not have too much affection experience.

1、xiǎo(小): Young, energetic.

2、xiān(鲜): Fresh, less emotional experience.

3、ròu(肉):Strong muscles; gives very pleasant feelings.

这位小鲜肉好可爱。

zhè wèi xiǎo xiān ròu hǎo kě ài.

This handsome young man is so cute.

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3. 确认过眼神,我遇见对的人(què rèn guò yǎn shén, wǒ yù jiàn duì de rén)

The literal translation of this phrase is “I have confirmed your eyes. ” The right translation is  "From what I can see in your eyes, I know you are my Mr./Miss Right."

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4.智障 (zhì zhàng)

The term for this means "idiot", "retarded" or “moron", but it can also mean"250".

他真的是个智障!

tā zhēn de shì gè zhì zhàng.

He’s such an idiot!

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5. 算了 (suàn le)

This phrase means to "forget it." It can be used in many situations, from meaning a casual "whatever" in everyday scenarios to a firm or more serious "Let it go."

A: 你明天晚上还想出去跳舞吗? (nǐ míng tiān wǎn shàng hái xiǎng chū qù tiào wǔ ma?)

A: Do you still want to go dancing tomorrow night?

B: 算了吧。 (suàn le ba.)

B: Forget it.

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6. 去你的! (qù nǐ de!)

Depending on the situation, the meaning of this phrase can range anywhere from "Go away!" or "Off with you!" to something more offending like "Back off!"Jokingly or in the right situation, it can be appropriate to use. However, you will want to be careful using it if you're not trying to offend your new (or old) friends.

A: 下次不应该那样表现。(xià cì bù yìng gāi nà yàng biǎo xiàn.)

A: Next time you shouldn't act that way.

B: 去你的! (qù nǐ de!)

B: Off with you!

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7. 大猪蹄子 (dà zhū tí zǐ)

The literal translation of this phrase is "Big pig hoof". 

Girls use it to describe boys who change their minds and break their word. It can also be used to make fun of boys who are not romantic or who enjoys playing the field.

你这个大猪蹄子!

nǐ zhè gè dà zhū tí zǐ ! 

You are totally a playboy/ unromantic!


8. 不咋的 (bù zǎ de)

不咋的 (bù zǎ de) means "not great," or similar to saying in English "not so hot." It can be used to describe a situation or a person.

我认识他, 他不咋的。

wǒ rèn shí tā, tā bù zǎ de.

I know him, he's not that great.


9. 爱谁谁 (ài shéi shéi)

The meaning of this phrase is "Do what you want" or "Whatever." It has a nonchalant attitude, similar to the English phrase "Who cares?" It stems from the local Beijing dialect and is most popular there.

这事就这样了, 不能再改变了!爱谁谁!

zhè shì jiù zhè yàng le, bù néng zài gǎi biàn le! ài shéi shéi!

I'm done talking about this issue, it cannot be changed. Whatever, I don't care anymore!

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10. 才不呢 (cái bù ne)

才不呢 (cái bù ne) is an idiom similar to "no way" or "not at all." It's commonly used like the English phrase "Of course not!"

A: 她是你的女朋友吗? (tā shì nǐ de nǚ péng yǒu ma?)

A: Is she your girlfriend?

B: 才不呢! (cái bù ne!)

B: Of course not!

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11. 眼皮底下 (yǎn pí dǐ xià)

The literal translation is "under the eyelids," and means something along the lines of "under one's nose."

我手机从我眼皮底下被小偷偷走了。

Wǒ shǒu jī cóng wǒ yǎn pí dǐ xià bèi xiǎo tōu tōu zǒu le. 

My phone was stolen by a thief right under my eyes.

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12. 萌萌哒(méng  méng dā)

The meaning here is "cute, cute".

我感觉自己萌萌哒。

Wǒ gǎn jué zì jǐ méng méng dā. 

I think I am so cute. 

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13.  我也是醉了 ( wǒ yě shì zuì le)

It is a light expression of helplessness, frustration and speechless emotions.

"I'm dizzy, too," is a humorous phrase.

我也是醉了,今天被领导批评。

Wǒ yě shì zuì le,  jīn tiān bèi lǐng dǎo pī píng.

I was criticized by the leader today. 

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14. 没门儿 (méi mén er)

The literal translation of 没门儿 (méi mén er) is "No door," but really means "No way!" or "Not a chance!”

想从我这里拿一点消息, 没门儿!

xiǎng cóng wǒ zhè lǐ ná yī diǎn xiāo xī, méi mén er! 

You think you can get information from me? Not a chance!

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