Chinese Internet buzzwords: part II

Updated: Dec 25, 2018 China Daily Print
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Set tricks(套路)

Set tricks originally refer to a series of skills and tricks in Kung Fu. But this year the phrase has gradually been appropriated and become synonymous to a fixed trap employed by someone with evil intentions.

Set tricks are usually routine strategy, almost equal to some formula for success.

For example, cheaters have their set tricks to always make people believe their story. Playboys use set tricks to flirt with girls and make them fall in love.

A derivative phrase, "fewer set tricks, more sincerity" has emerged on social media as well.


The Chinese term "tuhao" has been included in the latest version of the standard Chinese dictionary, which explains it as "people who are rich but lack in education or taste" - stirring hot discussion online.

Internet users use tuhao to refer to people with great wealth who spend money freely, in a way that does not go along with the wealth.

The third edition of the Dictionary of Contemporary Standard Chinese has added more than 100 new "hot" words, among which are tuhao and explains it as "people who are rich but short of education and correct values".

zhèng néngliàng(正能量)

Literally "positive energy", 正能量 is used to describe anything that gives off a positive influence, promotes positive attitudes or makes others feel better. Used as both an adjective and a verb, this word embodies hopes and wishes to make life happier. In a way, choosing "positive energy" as the Word of the Year broadcasts "positive energy" as well.


"萌萌哒" (mengmengda), meaning adorably cute, appeared 52.98 million times on Sina Weibo, making it the most widely used catchphrase in the Chinese Twitter equivalent.

"萌" (Méng) literally means "cute", and "哒"(da) is a modal particle, which expresses the mood of a word, that adds an innocent and sweet feeling to the word.

Originating on a Chinese social networking website called "douban", and primarily being used to refer to someone who is acting a bit strange and muddled and "is supposed to take some medicine", the word is now being acknowledged in a broader sense.

You could use it to describe your selfie, your new haircut or a scarf that your friend is wearing. Just tag it if you think something is cute, or, not really.

In fact, it is a phrase that serves to express affection or fondness toward a certain object, people or event, only in an amusing way. You could even say you feel mengmengda when you get a day off from work.

chī huò(吃货)

Foodies. Love them or hate them, these specimens exist in our world to inform us that their love of nourishment is something to be admired and envied.

But, similar to some of the words previously introduced, foodies have become an overabundant resource in China. Somewhere along its timeline, the concept of food appreciation became a tool for people to ingratiate themselves to society.

I mean, who doesn't like foodies?

And so, what you see now are "foodies" who do not appreciate the taste, but only the price.

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