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Chinese Character of the Year 2018; "Ugly, Poor and Dirty"

Chinese magazine 咬文嚼字 Yao Wen Jiao Zi (literally meaning “Biting Words”) recently released their ”Top Ten Popular Characters of the Year”. The winning word is Qiou which is a mashup of a few Chinese characters, 穷 qiong, meaning poor, and 丑 chou, meaning ugly. Some people also see the character 土 tu — dirt — in there. Many Chinese netizens have joked that that the character should actually be pronounced as “wo,” or the Chinese word for “me”, the implication being that the new character describes them perfectly.

While it may seem like a light joke, many social media users point out that the popularity of such a character could be indicative of the current situation faced by college students and young adults in China. College graduates find it increasingly difficult to find appropriate work after graduating, and the exponentially rising use of social media sets beauty standards at an all-time high, leading many Chinese netizens to comment that a seemingly frivolous character-creation is really a mirror into the current state of youth in Chinese society.


Two other popular characters in China 2018 are :


佛系 Fóxì - Buddha-like

The term “Buddha-like” actually doesn’t have much to do with Buddhism in earnest. The term was first used in 2014 by a Japanese magazine describe uncommitted, chill male millennials, content with the pursuit of their hobbies and their studies. The term was adopted my Chinese netizens, describing men who have a fairly lackadaisical attitude towards most everything. Instead of labelling these friends “lazy” or asserting that they “don’t care,” many have chosen to label their friends (or label themselves) “Buddha-like”. The Buddha-like friend in your life can be spotted as the person who always replies “OK, come over whenever,” “we can meet whenever,” or “anything’s cool with me.”


巨婴 Jùyīng - Big Baby

With the influx of crazy, entitled public transport passengers this year, it’s no wonder this term has picked up steam on the Chinese internet. This term is used to describe adults who exhibit child-like behavior.


Source Radii

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