The Chinese Internet Slang You Need to Know in 2021

It’s 2021, and the high-tech era is well underway. These days, speakers of almost every language on earth have developed their own systems of Internet shorthand that help them express thoughts and feelings efficiently. The world of Chinese Internet slang, of course, is no exception.

In order to keep your Mandarin skills fresh, it’s important to familiarize yourself with Chinese Internet slang. In this article, we’ll dive into some of 2021’s most commonly used Mandarin cyberspeak.

Why learn Chinese Internet slang?

Even the most advanced language students may find themselves mystified by the quickly evolving world of Chinese Internet slang.

While you may have heard of common online terms like 666 (liùliùliù; awesome) or 88 (bābā; bye-bye), modern Chinese Internet slang also includes an extensive list of commonly used alphabetic acronyms. These acronyms are simply abbreviations based on how certain groups of Chinese characters are written in pinyin.

Although these Internet acronyms are frequently used by Chinese netizens, they aren’t well known among language students. In order to communicate effectively with Chinese people on social media, comprehend Chinese language digital media and keep your Mandarin skills up-to-date, it’s important to understand common online phrases as coined by the mainland’s Internet-savvy population.

Learning the newest Chinese Internet slang will help keep your Mandarin language skills up-to-date.

Six popular online acronyms to learn today

Ready to give your Chinese skills a modern makeover? Stay hip to the culture by mastering these six popular Chinese Internet slang acronyms today.

1. yyds (永远的神)

永远的神 (yǒngyuǎn de shén; yyds) means “eternal God” and describes an outstanding person or thing. It's similar to the saying GOAT (Greatest of All Time) in English. The phrase is often used by fans to praise their idols or simply to describe something they are fond of.

For example:

  • 桂林米粉太好吃了,桂林米粉就是yyds!
  • Guìlín mǐfěn tài hàochī le, Guìlín mǐfěn jiùshì yyds.
  • Guilin rice noodles are delicious, they’re just yyds!

Here's another example:

  • 李小龙的中国功夫太厉害了,他就是yyds!
  • Lǐxiǎolóng de Zhōngguó gōngfū tài lìhài le, tā jiùshì yyds
  • Bruce Li’s kung fu skills are so good, he’s such a yyds!

Yyds is the perfect phrase to describe the delicious taste of Guilin’s most famous dish: Guilin rice noodles!

2. nsdd (你说得对)

你说得对 (nǐ shuō dé duì; nsdd) means “what you said is right” and is generally used to endorse or approve of what someone has said. For example:

  • Nsdd!这样的做法是正确的。
  • Nsdd! Zhèyàng de zuòfǎ shì zhèngquè de.
  • Nsdd! That’s the right way to do it.

However, it can also be used to brush someone off by hastily agreeing with them if the speaker doesn’t wish to continue the conversation. For example:

  • Nsdd, 都听你的。
  • Nsdd, dōu tīng nǐ de.
  • Nsdd, whatever you say.
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Nsdd can have a positive or negative meaning depending on the context in which it is used.

3. zqsg (真情实感)

真情实感 (zhēnqíng shígǎn; zqsg), which translates as “true feelings,” describes an emotionally touching or heartfelt situation and is generally used to comment on movies or TV dramas. For example:

  • 《你好,李焕英》这部电影太zqsg了!
  • “Nǐhǎo, Lǐ Huànyīng” zhè bù diànyǐng tài zqsg le!
  • The movie “Hello, Li Huanying” is so zqsg!

Another example:

  • 很久没有看到这么zqsg的军旅剧了。
  • Hěn jiǔ méiyǒu kàndào zhème zqsg de jūnlǚjù le.
  • I haven’t seen such a zqsg war movie in a long time.

Zqsg is a great phrase to use when discussing a TV show or movie you found moving.

4. xswl (笑死我了)

“笑死我了” (xiào sǐ wǒ le; xswl) literally means “laughing to death” and is used by speakers to respond to something funny, comparable to LOL in English. For example:

  • 这张图片好搞笑, xswl!
  • Zhè zhāng túpiàn hǎo gǎoxiào, xswl!
  • This photo is so funny, xswl!

For another example:

  • Xswl,怎么会有这么搞笑的视频?
  • Xswl, zěnme huì yǒu zhème gǎoxiào de shìpín?
  • Xswl, why is this video so hilarious?

Xswl is the Chinese equivalent of LOL.

5. plgg (漂亮哥哥), pljj (漂亮姐姐)

漂亮哥哥 (piàoliang gēgē; plgg; used for men) and 漂亮姐姐 (piàoliang jiějiě; pljj; used for women) can be translated as “pretty brother” and “pretty sister,” respectively. Chinese netizens generally use these phrases to compliment someone’s good looks. Keep in mind, however, that “plgg” is typically used to describe stereotypically feminine men. For example:

  • 哇!这真是个 plgg / pljj 。
  • Wa! Zhè zhēnshi gè plgg/ pljj.
  • Wow, this plgg/pljj is really attractive.

These terms can also be used as a polite form of address for someone the speaker doesn’t know well. For example:

  • Plgg / pljj,请问这个是什么?
  • Plgg / pljj, qǐngwèn, zhège shì shénme?
  • Plgg / pljj, may I ask what this is?

Plgg or pljj can be used as a polite, if informal, form of address.

6. bdjw (不懂就问)

不懂就问 (bù dǒng jiù wèn, bdjw) is a helpful transition phrase used to introduce a question. It is similar to “just wondering” or “let me ask” in English. For example:

  • Bdjw,什么是阿基米德定律?
  • Bdjw, shénme shì Ājīmǐdé dìnglǜ?
  • Bdjw, what is Archimedes' law?

Here's another example:

  • Bdjw,这是什么奇怪的东西?
  • Bdjw, zhè shì shénme qíguài de dōngxī?
  • Bdjw, what’s this weird thing?

Chinese netizens use the acronym bdjw to introduce a question they’re about to ask.

Keepin’ it fresh

Congrats! You’re officially up to speed on some of 2021’s hottest Chinese Internet slang.

To utilize your new net-friendly vocabulary, try engaging with Chinese people online by dropping a comment on a Chinese video or typing out one of these phrases during a WeChat conversation — native speakers will be amazed by your authenticity and cultural awareness.

Remember, if you’re looking for more opportunities to test out your language skills, studying in China is the premier path to fluency. If you can’t travel to China right now, CLI’s online lessons provide an ideal way to build and refine your Mandarin abilities from the comfort of your own home.

Whatever you do, make sure to keep incorporating some fun and fresh lingo into your study routine—you’ll become a Chinese language “yyds” before you know it!

Learning Chinese Internet slang is a great way to connect with members of China’s younger generation on their own terms.

Internet slang vocabulary

HànzìPīnyīnDefinition
永远的神yǒngyuǎn de shényyds; eternal god
你说得对nǐ shuō dé duìnsdd; you're right
真情实感zhēnqíng shígǎnzqsg; heartfelt and emotional
笑死我了xiào sǐ wǒ lexswl; hilarious
漂亮哥哥piàoliang gēgēplgg; a pretty boy
漂亮姐姐piàoliang jiějiěpljj; a pretty girl
不懂就问bù dǒng jiù wènbdjw; just asking
网络wǎngluòinternet
俚语lǐyǔslang
网络用语wǎngluò yòngyǔInternet slang
流行词liúxíng cípopular phrases
上网shàngwǎngto surf the web
直播zhíbōlive broadcast
网友wǎngyǒuinternet user
热搜rèsōupopular search term
评论pínglùnto comment on a post
点赞diǎnzànto "like" a post
网红wǎnghónginternet celebrity
热帖rètiēpopular discussion thread
网传wǎngchuánto circulate online

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