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How to understand “坑” (kēng)


In Chinese, we have an expression that is gaining popularity online and is generally used in a joking manner. The expression is "你 (you) + 坑 (bury) + 我 (me)," or "你坑我 (nǐ kēng wǒ) you screwed me over / buried me". It's become a popular expression on the Internet to express dismay and annoyance at someone, especially while playing online video games remotely. "你坑我 (nǐ kēng wǒ)" could be used in a number of scenarios such as betrayal, being "set up" or having your plan foiled.

Of course, with friends it's popular slang and is not taken so seriously.

So, how did "你坑我 (nǐ kēng wǒ)" come about?

The root is "坑 (kēng)" which is a noun meaning anything related to a "hole, pit or hollow" and generally has an unpleasant meaning.

Zhè tiáo lù shàng yǒu hěn duō níkēng.

这条路上有很多泥坑。

There are too many potholes in this road.


"坑 (kēng)" can also be used as a verb, meaning "to bury, entrap or cheat" someone.

Recently, especially online, people like to use the verb "坑 (kēng)" with the phrase "你坑我 (nǐ kēng wǒ) which means "to ruin or screw up one's plan", "to cause someone trouble" or "to betray". Of course, depending on the context and the tone, it could be used jokingly or seriously.

"你 (nǐ) you" + "坑 (kēng) pit" + "我 (wǒ) I / me" = "你坑我 (nǐ kēng wǒ) you buried me."

Examples:

1. Búyào qù kēngrén!

不要去坑人!

Do not try to entrap others!


2. Nǐ kě bǎ wǒ kēng huài le!

你可把我坑坏了!

You have really got me into a fix!

So, whenever you are using "你坑我 (nǐ kēng wǒ)" online or face-to-face, be sure your listener understands that you're using it playfully!

Source: echineselearning

2017-01-16

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