• No products in the cart.

Chinese “感冒” not necessarily “a cold”


"感冒 (gǎnmào)" literally means "catch a cold." But it can also mean "have an interest for something or somebody."

感冒的本意是指一种疾病,英文意思为catch a cold. 但它也有“对某人或某事感兴趣”的意思。

The famous Chinese singer, Jay Chou, is throwing a concert in Jack's hometown. Jack wants to invite his girlfriend Lily, but will she go? Let's take a look.


Conversation 1:


zánmen míngtiān qù kàn Zhōu Jiélún de yǎnchànghuì ba!


Let's go to Jay Chou's concert tomorrow!

Wǒ gǎnmào le, bù xiǎng qù.


Conversation 2:


zánmen míngtiān qù kàn Zhōu Jiélún de yǎnchànghuì ba!


Let's go to Jay Chou's concert tomorrow!

Wǒ duì tā de gēqǔ bù gǎnmào.


I am not interested in his songs.

Lily uses the term "感冒 (gǎnmào)" in both conversations when answering Jack's invitation. We know the meaning of 感冒 (gǎnmào) is "a common cold," but what does "不感冒 (bù gǎnmào)" mean?

在两段对话中,莉莉都用了“感冒(gǎnmào)”一词。我们知道,感冒的英文意思为“a common cold”。那么“不感冒”是什么意思呢?

In the first conversation, the sentence "我感冒了,不想去。(Wǒ gǎnmào le, bù xiǎng qù.)" means, "I would like to go to the concert, but I have a cold." In this conversation, the term "感冒 (gǎnmào)" is being used literally: catch a cold.

在第一段对话中,“我感冒了,不想去。(Wǒ gǎnmào le, bù xiǎng qù.)”的意思是说“I would like to go to the concert, but I have a cold.” 在这里,“感冒”的意思就是catch a cold。

"感冒 (gǎnmào)" also has a slang meaning. This is what Lily uses in the second conversation. She says, "我对他的歌曲不感冒。(Wǒ duì tā de gēqǔ bù gǎnmào.)." What she says has nothing to do with illness, but instead means "I'm not interested in Jay Chou's songs." In this case, the term "不感冒 (bù gǎnmào)" means "be not interested in …"

感冒也可以作为俚语,即莉莉在第二段对话中的用法。她说“我对他的歌曲不感冒(Wǒ duì tā de gēqǔ bù gǎnmào)”。这句话并不是说她生病了,而是说“我对周杰伦的歌不感兴趣”。在这种情况下,“不感冒(bù gǎnmào)”指的是“对……不感兴趣(to not be interested)”。

You can't find "感冒 (gǎnmào)" at all in TCM books even though it is a kind of illnesses. Instead, the first appearance of this word is in officialdom and has an interesting story connected to it. In ancient China, when officials in a certain department wanted to ask for leave, they chose a less than imaginative excuse: illness. They would write "感风 (gǎnfēng)," which means "to catch a cold," in the register book. In the word 感风 (gǎnfēng), 感 (gǎn) means "to be affected by" and 风 (fēng) means "wind chill." When the Qing Dynasty came around, an official wrote the word "感冒 (gǎnmào)" as the excuse to ask for leave. 冒 (mào) means "to come out." What he wanted to express was that he continued to work after "感风 (gǎnfēng)," but now the symptoms of a cold have come out or appeared and had to ask for leave. Since that time, people have continued to say "感冒 (gǎnmào)" instead of "感风 (gǎnfēng)."

虽然“感冒”是指一种疾病,但是在中医书上却查不到该词。实际上,该词源于官场。关于该词,有一个有趣的典故。在古代中国,如果某个部门的官员需要请假,他们都会以生病作为借口。在登记簿上,他们会写上“感风(to catch a cold)”二字。感风中的“感”的意思是“受…影响”,“风”则是指风寒。到了清朝之后,有一位官员请假时写的是感冒,冒的意思为“出来(to come out)”。他想表达的意思是:虽然他感风了,但是还坚持工作,但是,现在他有感风症状了,因此必须请假。从那以后,人们就开始用“感冒”代替“感风”。

Now you know the history of the word, but keep in mind that 感冒 (gǎnmào) can be used as a noun, a verb as well as an adjective. Let's take a look at some examples.



1. 感冒 (gǎnmào) as a noun:


Gǎnmào shì yìzhǒng jíbìng.


The flu is a disease.

2. 感冒 (gǎnmào) as a verb:


Nǐ zěnme le?


What's wrong with you?

Wǒ gǎnmào le.


I caught a cold.

3. 感冒(gǎnmào) as an adjective, often seen in negative sentences



Nǐ yuànyì zuò Jack de nǚpéngyou ma?


Did you agree to be Jack's girlfriend?

Bú yuànyì.



Wèishénme? Tā zhǎng de nàme shuài!


Why not? He's so handsome!

Wǒ duì shuàigē bù gǎnmào.


I'm not interested in handsome guys.


Tā duì bīngjīlín bù gǎnmào.


He is not interested in ice-cream.

Translated from: tcfl.tingroom.com


0 responses on "Chinese "感冒" not necessarily "a cold""

    Leave a Message

    Copyright ©right 2017 Chinlingo Inc. All rights reserved.  闽ICP备15003609号-2