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Chinese buzzwords that you can’t miss in 2014


"萌萌哒" (méng méng dā), 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.


Look at many of the catchwords in China and you may find them displaying a fairly good sense of humor, just like mengmengda. But if you think that they only serve to amuse, think again.

"也是醉了" (yě shì zuì le), which literally means "I'm kinda drunk", comes second after mengmengda, used over 50 million times.


It derives from the multiplayer online cooperative battle arena video game Defense of the Ancients (DOTA). A player uses this word to express disappointment towards a teammate who is more of a hindrance than a help.


Now people borrow this phrase when they find themselves helpless, or hopeless toward a person or a situation. It always seems easier to laugh it off than be harshly cynical.


"APEC Blue" is another new phrase, created by smog-beleaguered citizens. While it delights in embracing the ephemeral blue sky, it shows concern that such a blue sky is only a result of a face-saving project. Now it has become a word for a mirage.

"有钱,任性" (yǒu qián, rèn xìng), which literally means rich and willful, was used to describe someone who has careless spending habits and tends to be wasteful about money. The phrase "renxing" is more often used to say someone is headstrong and stubborn.


Buzzwords also help you understand the new trends taking place in Chinese society.


"小鲜肉", pronounced "xiǎo xiān ròu", for example, represents those young and handsome males who are inexperienced in relationships. Aged from 12 to 25, they are the newer and younger generation of the Prince Charming that Chinese women look up to.


Also well-received among Chinese women are "暖男" (nuǎn nán), referring to those men who are nice in character and good at taking care of others. They are the new ideal boyfriends or husbands as women are empowering themselves economically, and earning more equal rights with the men.


Buzzwords are a reflection of contemporary society, a society where netizens and citizens meet and meld. If you can wittily laugh off the frustrations that are seemingly inevitable in life and struggle to live your day just like the Chinese, don't you find yourself mengmengda?


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