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  • Oct 1, 2014
  • Updated: 3:24pm

Awesome times demand shocking new words

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 July, 2012, 12:00am

Thousands of new entries, including catchy and popular phrases from the internet age, appear in the sixth edition of a well-known Chinese-language dictionary that hit stores yesterday.

The woman behind the compilation said the additions reflected how the country had rapidly transformed in the information age.

Geili, meaning 'awesome' or 'well-done', and leiren, 'shocking', are two of the more than 3,000 entries added to the 65,000 that appeared in the last edition of the dictionary, published in 2005.

Compiler Jiang Lansheng said they reflected the social, economic and technological changes the country was undergoing.

Entries related to the nation's rapid economic expansion include diyitongjin, the first fortune made by an entrepreneur, and shoufu, the wealthiest man or woman. Yizu, translated as 'ant's tribe', has become a way of describing low-income workers, particularly college graduates who live in cramped conditions, while nerdy men or women with no social lives are known as zhainan and zhainu.

Jiang said the compilers also added new interpretations for some old entries, such as nu, which was traditionally defined as 'slave', but now also refers to those forced to work hard to pay their mortgages.

She said the team did not shy away from phrases that may vividly reflect dark aspects associated with living on the mainland, such as chihuikou - kickbacks.

Others included fengkoufei, or money paid to silence journalists, and pitui, referring to infidelity and the rising phenomenon of cheating on one's partner.

But Jiang she said they did draw the line at some potential entries that could have an adverse effect on social values or on the social acceptance of certain social groups. These snubbed words included shengnan and shengnu, those over 30 who are still single.

The team also recognised some English acronyms, such as CPI (consumer price index) and NBA (National Basketball Association), even though they and others were banned.

NBA, for instance, is referred to in broadcasts by the Chinese phrase meilanlian -literally translated as American Basketball Association.


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