1 躺平 (Tǎng píng)
躺 (Tǎng) means to “lie down” and 平 (píng) means “flat” or “leveled.” The two characters together in slang mean, “I’m tired, I give up.”
In the context of life, the nuance means, “Why try hard when you can skate by?”
For example, someone might say “躺平了” to say they are giving up.
2 XSL - 笑死了 (Xiào sǐle)
笑 (Xiào) means “laughing” and 死 (sǐ) means “to die.” The literal meaning is “dying from laughter.”
Typed in English, the acronym stands for Xiào Sǐ Le, which means “lol.”
This acronym can be used for two phrases.
The first is 永远的神 (Yǒngyuǎn de shén), which is the Chinese equivalent of “GOAT” or “Greatest Of All Time.”
永远 (Yǒngyuǎn) means “forever” and 神 (shén) means “god.” The literal meaning is “eternal god.”
The second meaning is 永远单身 (Yǒngyuǎn dānshēn), which means “forever single.”
4 绝绝子 (Jué jué zi)
绝 (jué) means “absolutely.”
For instance, 太绝了 (Tài juéle) is the original phrase to describe someone as “insane” or “awesome.”
But 绝绝子 started from the Chinese show “Produce Camp 2021” (创造营2021, Chuàngzào yíng).
At first, it meant “so good” – the same as 太绝了. But after netizens started using the term sarcastically, the meaning became both ironically “really good” and “really bad.”
5 伤害性不高，侮辱性极强 (Shānghài xìng bù gāo, wǔrǔ xìng jí qiáng)
伤害性不高 (Shānghài xìng bù gāo) means “there is not much harm,” and 侮辱性极强 (wǔrǔ xìng jí qiáng) means “very insulting” or “extremely embarrassing.”
Together, the phrase refers to a situation that is relatively benign at first but is, in reality, embarrassing.
For example, the meme above can be translated like this:
Top line: 要不...您试试看童装最大号吧
(Yào bù…nín shì shìkàn tóngzhuāng zuìdà hào ba)
"Why don’t you try the largest size in the youth section?"
Bottom line: 成年人的世界没有我的尺码
(Chéngnián rén de shìjiè méiyǒu wǒ de chǐmǎ)
"They don’t have my size in the adult section…"
This situation is what Chinese people would call, “伤害性不高，侮辱性极强 (Shānghài xìng bù gāo, wǔrǔ xìng jí qiáng).”
The girl feels slightly embarrassed that the salesperson told her the store does not have an adult size for her.
Which phrases are you most likely to try out with your Chinese friends?