In English, ghost mainly refers to the spirit of a dead person, or is used to describe a "ghostly" state. But in Chinese, besides the basic meaning, “鬼” is often used in everyday terms but refers to nothing about dead things.
1.You may use this word to describe your anxiety or something really scaring, for instance:
Jiàn guǐ le
It do not actually mean that a person sees a ghost or runs into a ghost, but rather is an exclamation over something out of the ordinary happening. For example,
Jiàn guǐ le！Wǒ de péng you zuó tiān gēn wǒ shuō，tā hé tā de nán péng yǒu zhèng zài guó wài dù jià, kě shì wǒ gāng cái míng míng zài shàng hǎi kàn dào tā de nán péng you lā！
It’s so weird! My friend told me that she was on vacation with her boyfriend yesterday, but I just saw her boyfriend walk by in Shanghai, China!
xiàng guǐ yí yàng
You just look like a ghost? Did you even see it once? Of course not! No one knows what a ghost looks like. It is really unknown. But what is the real reason why we feel scared about it? For example,
Nǐ zěn me xiàng guǐ yí yàng, zǒu lù méi yǒu shēng yīn，xià wǒ yí tiào！
Why you walk like a ghost in such silence?! You scared the hell out of me
2.鬼，may also mean “nothing”. I have to say it is sensible, ‘cause it’s absolute that no one has ever seen it! It’s nothing! Hurray!
Recently, young Chinese often say,
Guǐ zhī dào wǒ jīng lì le shén me！
英文：Only ghost knows what I’ve experienced.
Qí shí tā zhǐ shì xiǎng shuō：Méi rén zhī dào wǒ jīng lì le shén me … …
Actually, what she really means is, “No one knows what I’ve experience! It was so hard!”
Ghost, could also be used to describe something unfavored. For instance,
Nǐ shēn shàng chuān de shì shén me guǐ？！Nǐ zhè gè guǐ yàng zi shì méi yǒu rén xǐ huān de！
What the bloody hell are you wearing! No one would like you if you look so awful like this!
That means your outfit is just awful and does not suit you at all.
3."Ghost" can be used to refer to someone with an addiction in what others dislike, for example,
Eg1. 酒鬼 Alcoholic
James de bà ba shì gè jiǔ guǐ，měi tiān hē zuì le dōu yào dǎ tā！
James’ father is an ALCOHOLIC. He beats little James every time when he gets drunk.
Eg2. 烟鬼 Chainsmoker
Wǒ de lín jū shì gè lǎo yān guǐ，tā gēn běn méi yǒu bù chōu yān de shí hòu。
My neighbor is a chainsmoker. It’s like that he is smoking all the time!
Eg3. 赌鬼 Confirmed gambler
Wú lùn tā yǒu duō kě lián nǐ zuì hǎo dōu bié bǎ qián jiè gěi tā！Tā shì gè dǔ guǐ，bú huì bǎ qián huán gěi nǐ de！
You’d better not lend any money to her, no matter how poor she is! She is a real confirmed gambler.She’ll never pay it back to you!
Eg4. 懒鬼 lazy bone
Lǎn guǐ kuài qǐ chuáng，bié shuì le，yǐ jīng zhōng wǔ le ne！
Get up! You such a lazy bone! It’s 12 o’clock now!
xiǎo qì guǐ
Eg5. 小气鬼 penny pincher
Nǐ gāi qǐng dà jiā chī fàn le，bié dāng xiǎo qì guǐ！
You should treat us a dinner. Don’t be a penny pincher!
The article is translated and editted by Chinlingo. Please indicate the source for any use, reproduction or transfer.