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晒: a hot Chinese word used as “share”

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Hang your secrets out to dry this summer. One of the more popular fads to hit the streets and Internet is the character 晒 (shài) meaning "to dry in the sun." Pronounced shai, it sounds like the English word "share," and is used by netizens keen to share their woes and views on life. They hang their juicy stories out to dry—for the rest of the world to see. Titles read along the lines of "Dry out the story of the first time you felt fat. (晒一晒第一次自己觉得胖的故事。shài yī shài dìyī cì zìjǐ juéde pàng de gùshi.)"

Long before the Internet, Chinese scholars would regularly dry out their books in the sun, saving the books from the damp and mold caused by a humid climate. This was known as 晒书 (shài shū). Similarly, to hang clothes on the line is 晒衣服 (shài yīfu) and to sunbathe is 晒太阳 (shài tàiyáng). Now that the character also means to "share something," or "show it off to the world," it's possible to shai just about anything. Hipsters go around "drying out cell phones" 晒手机 (shài shǒujī), "drying out salaries" 晒工资 (shài gōngzī), "drying out moods" 晒心情 (shài xīnqíng) and even "drying out love" 晒爱情 (shài àiqíng).

2016-06-21

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