Network Buzzword '怼' (duǐ) Goes Viral
 February 14, 2017Comments(0) Post Your Comment E-mail Print Save

The Chinese character “怼” recently went viral nationwide. []


The Chinese character “怼” recently went viral nationwide. According to a China Women's News interview with Professor Lu Xiaoqun, this network buzzword is likely to be adopted as a future Chinese standard.

During the 2017 Chinese Spring Festival Gala, comedians Cai Ming and Pan Changjiang starred in a short sketch called Spouse (Laoban). Relevant topics including "Amazing Sentences of Cai 怼 Pan" went viral across social networks. In addition, following this trend, the popularity of articles on how to 怼 forced marriage pushed the use of the character to its zenith.

To figure out the meaning and usage of 怼 and how it went viral, a journalist from China Women's News interviewed Lu Xiaoqun, a professor in Chinese philology at Minzu University of China and also post-doctoral researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Origin of the Character “怼”

The origin of “怼”, pronounced duì, can be traced to ancient works such as Shuowen Jiezi, one of the most important character dictionaries of ancient China and The Classic of Poetry (Shijing), the oldest existing collection of Chinese poetry, and means hatred or resentment

With time, the original use of duì remained popular among some northern Chinese dialects.

However, it became a network buzzword and was redefined in a more relaxing and informal way more recently, with the meaning to criticize, scold, blame, mock, ridicule or verbally rebut. When used in this way, its tone should be changed to duǐ.

Expert: The Newly-Emerging Network Word “怼” Likely to Be Adopted as a Future Chinese Standard

Regarding transition of the meaning of duì, Lu said that language, as a significant social bond and indispensable tool of communication, is constantly experiencing evolution in catering to social needs. The emergence of online buzzwords can be considered an innovation in both material and spiritual life.

"Therefore, the Chinese language needs 'nutrition', some newly-emergent words, to keep transferable from generation to generation," Lu noted.

Professor Lu implied that once the network buzzword becomes conventional, it is likely to be adopted by standard language.

(Source: China Women's News/Translated and edited by Women of China)

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