Top 5 Chinese Internet Buzzwords In 2019

This is the last month of 2019, which means there are “best of” and “top” lists everywhere you turn.
Today how about we take a look at the “Top 5 Buzzwords of 2019”.


硬核(Ying He)


硬核, which means ‘hardcore’ in English, was originally used to describe rap music and the difficulty of something such as a game. But this year, 硬核 has emerged as a popular internet buzzword to describe something or someone that is tough and cool. For example, she is a “ying he mom”, he is a “ying he gamer” and that’s a “ying he” life.





996 means working from 9am to 9pm, 6 days a week. It’s similar to the term “9-5” in English, but a lot more intense, of course! 996 was coined to describe the work hours many Chinese internet and high-tech companies have adopted. It stirred up a lot of heated online debate with some netizens saying it grossly violated labor laws and others understanding the long hours meant a very high salary.





“Sour lemon”, or “ning meng jing”, which is similar to the English term “sour grapes”, describes people who criticize something simply because they don’t have it or pretend not to be envious when in fact they are. It can also be used for self-deprecation. For example, if you say “I’m a sour lemon”, it’s another way of saying “I’m envious”. Lemon emojis have been widely used since “ning meng jing” became a buzzword.





Blockchain, a word that is more commonly associated with the tech world, has become the most popular word this year. It means shared database. Since Chinese President Xi Jinping has underscored the important role of blockchain technology in the new round of technological innovation and industrial transformation, blockchain has gone mainstream and is now a buzzword on everyone’s lips.





“Wo tai nan le“ means “it’s too hard for me” in English. The phrase first appeared in a video on a popular Chinese video platform. In the video, a man is seen uttering the now popular term and then saying “I’ve been under a lot of pressure lately” with an animated expression. The video went viral and the term became very popular as it resonated with many people. Later, for amusement, the “nan” (难) in the phrase was replaced with another same-sounding “nan” (南), meaning “south” in English, as the character featured on a mahjong piece emoji, making it convenient to use as a replacement.



Editor: Victoria Xu
Source From: Shanghai Observer