Double 11 is the biggest online shopping festival in China. The event was initiated by Taobao in 2009 but has spread to all the major online retailers. It is now an unofficial holiday, like Cyber Monday, hosted each year on November 11.
Last year, its online sales hit a record of 268.4 billion RMB (about 40.6 billion USD). This year, as usual, many savvy Chinese people are waiting in front of their screens for the best deals. Because of Double 11’s vast popularity, there is a lot of trendy internet slang associated with it. Here are five words to help you get a taste of Chinese people’s obsession with Double 11.
1 吃土 (chī tǔ): Eating Dirt
The word “吃土” is often used self-deprecatingly. When people spend too much money during shopping festivals, they are then “too poor” to afford food besides dirt.
- (Mǎi tài duō dōngxī, wǒ xià gè yuè yòu yào chī tǔ le.)
- I bought too many things that I have to eat dirt again next month.
2 哦买噶，买它！(ò mǎi gā, mǎi tā) (OMG, Buy it!)
This catchphrase got viral because of its inventor, China’s No. 1 lives treamer and beauty influencer Li Jiaqi (李佳琦). The words “哦买噶”(ò mǎi gā) are simply a transcription of “Oh My God” in Chinese.
Li uses this catchphrase slogan during his livestreams when promoting products. Because he says it in such an infectious and catchy way, it has become his personal staple and a trendy internet slang. In fact, Li’s company is trying to register the phrase’s recording as a sound trademark.
Last month, Li further collaborated with Lexie Liu, a popular Chinese female singer and rapper, to make a parody of Lexie's hit song “Manta,” turning it into “Mai Ta” (“买它”). This song serves as the theme song for Li Jiaqi’s livestream. The song was released to build hype for Double 11.
3 剁手 (duò shǒu): Chop Off My Hand
This term can be used interchangeably with the word “shop.” It describes people who simply can’t help shopping and spending money. They need to chop off their hands to stop.
- 我又忍不住剁手了。（Wǒ yòu rěn bù zhù duò shǒu le.）
- I couldn’t help shopping again.
4 尾款人 (wěikuǎn rén) : Final Payment People
This year most online shopping platforms have continued their promotional payment plans. People can get a special discount by paying a deposit during the Double 11 pre-sale that started on October 21.
They then pay their final payment either during November 1-3 or on the day of Double 11. These promotional payment plans vastly increase people’s desire to shop. Those who have a massive final payment bill joke about themselves as “final payment people.” Memes about the final payment have gone viral on Weibo.
The website Beijing Youth Daily sees it as a positive sign indicating that people’s desire to shop is making a strong comeback after COVID-19.
- 白天是努力赚钱的打工人，晚上是熬夜花钱的尾款人。(Báitiān shì nǔlì zhuànqián de dǎgōng rén, wǎnshàng shì áoyè huā qián de wěikuǎn rén.)
- Be a hard-working money maker during the day and a night-owl money-spending final payment person at night.
5 种草 (zhǒng cǎo): Planting Grass
Years ago, “种草” only meant literally “planting grass.” But the rise of the online economy has changed the meaning of this phrase forever. Now it refers to sharing a product with others, making them want to buy it as well. It can also mean desiring a product after looking it up online. The core of “种草” is about sharing information and encouraging purchase behavior.
Similarly, there is the phrase “拔草” (bá cǎo, weeding), which means NOT wanting something anymore.
- 我种草这个化妆品了。（Wǒ zhǒng cǎo zhège huàzhuāngpǐn le.）
- I want this beauty product.
If you are in China or currently learning Chinese, try to learn these internet slangs and participate in Double 11! This will not only be a fun shopping experience but also a fun cultural one. Don’t forget to surprise your Chinese friends by using these phrases like a native.