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A cute way to say ‘cute’ in Chinese

Chinese character, Chinese slang, learning Chinese

What is the meaning of 萌 (méng)? Does it mean 'cute'? In this article we'll talk about the Chinese character 萌.

"萌"是什么意思?是不是"可爱"的意思?本文我们就来聊一聊"萌"这个字。

The initial meaning of 萌 was 萌生 (méng shēng, produce). For example: 'This film produced in me the idea of going to Tibet to have a look.' There is also the word 萌芽 (méng yá, sprout), which means: the seed of a plant has broken the ground and sprouted, a seedling has sprouted.

"萌"在中文里最初的意思是"萌生",也就是"产生"。比如:这部电影让我萌生了去西藏看看的念头。还有一个词叫"萌芽",意思是:植物种子破土而出,长出来的幼苗。

In China, Japan and Korea, regardless of whether male or female, it is felt that women that look young and cute are the most attractive so women in these countries will do their make-up in a young style also representing sweetness and to look as cute as possible.

在中国、日本、韩国,无论男女,都觉得看起来年轻而可爱的女性更有魅力,所以这几个国家女性的妆容都会相对年轻化,相对更甜美、更可爱。

With this background, the modern meaning of to have 萌 is: 'cute'. The first occurrence of this was in Japanese mangas in which female characters were described as 萌. We can also say 'she is extremely 萌' ('she is 'cute' in the extreme). Later this was also used to describe animals, e.g. 'Giraffes are cute.' 'I find pandas cute as.' In these sentences it functions as an adjective. But 萌 can also be used as a verb in which case the meaning is 'to like': I really 萌 this manga (I really like this manga).

也就是在这样的背景下,有了"萌"这个词的现代意义:可爱。最初是在日本的漫画里出现,通常是形容女性的漫画人物很"萌"。我们还可以说:她萌得不得了(她可爱得不得了)。后来也用来形容动物,比如:长颈鹿好萌啊!我觉得熊猫萌萌哒!以上是作为形容词的用法。"萌"还可以作为动词,意思是"喜欢":我很萌这部漫画(我很喜欢这部漫画)。

When we describe female characters in manga as 萌, on the one hand we are saying that they are 'cute', but not only 'cute'. So, what sort of female characters are cosidered 萌? In general they have the following traits:

我们在说动漫中的女性人物很"萌"时,一方面是说她很"可爱",但是又不仅仅是"可爱"。那么,怎样的动漫女性被认为是很"萌"的呢?她们一般具有以下特征:

Young, especially in the face, like a twelve or thirteen year old girl.

年轻,特别是脸很年轻,看起来就像十二三岁的少女的脸。

Big eyes, preferably bright and intelligent.

大大的眼睛,看起来水汪汪的最好。

The head is proportionally large and the limbs proportianally small. They will look thin and weak. They are not those girls that with clearly defined muscles that like sport.

头的比例比较大,肢体比较细小,看起来有点瘦弱,不是那种肌肉线条明显、爱运动的少女。

The hair is often coloured and with bangs.

头发的颜色常常是多彩的、常常有刘海。

萌 initially became popular in manga circles and later became popularised in the wider world through the internet with expressions such as 萌妹子 (méng mèi zi)、萌萌哒 (méng méng dā) and 卖萌 (mài méng) becoming popular. 卖萌 means the same as 'to act cute'. Nowadays in the internet there are a lot of pictures of animals which are designed to be cute. You just need to do a search on 卖萌的动物 and you will see.

"萌"最初是流行于动漫爱好者的圈子里,后来在网络世界流传开来,所有就有了:萌妹子、萌萌哒、卖萌,这些说法。"卖萌"就是"装可爱"。网络上现在也有很多小动物"卖萌"的图片,只要你搜索"卖萌的动物",就能看到了。

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2016-06-21

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