Talking a good game

Slow Chinese 每周漫闻


This week, let’s…

  • discuss EDG League of Legends win and reactions to it on social media

  • dig into netizen conversations about Wáng Jiànlín death rumours

  • pick up some good words to discuss innovation and competition

And, finally I dive into the archive to discover some Chinese gaming words that started life in League of Legends chat rooms and have gone mainstream.



- Discussing EDG win on social media

Unless you’ve been completely unplugged from the Chinese Internet, you probably noticed Chinese e-sports team, Edward Gaming (EDG), won the 2021 League of Legends World Championship held in Iceland last week.

There’s some entertaining stuff on social media with young fans celebrating the win in crazy ways (Sixth Tone).

One trending topic was:

如果EDG夺冠,我就…. (If EDG win, I’ll….)

This is a basic sentence structure that all readers of this newsletter should be able to deliver with ease. Try repeating these self-dares out loud to brush up on it:


  • 单身一辈子 dānshēn yībèizi

    Stay single for the rest of my life.

  • 给全宿舍洗一周袜子 gěi quán sùshè xǐ yīzhōu wàzi

    Wash the socks of everyone in my dorm for the whole week.

  • 连夜回京吃光朝阳区的每一片雪 liányè huí jīng chī guāng chāoyángqū de měi yīpiàn xuě

    Return to Beijing tonight and eat every single snowflake in Chaoyang District.

  • 把家里整瓶威士忌吹了 bǎ jiālǐ zhěng píng wēishìjì chuīle

    Neck that entire bottle of whisky I have at home.

A short article in Sina has some good words about battles that you need to know if you want to chat with a gamer in Chinese about EDG's win.

Useful gaming words

  • 打call - dǎ kou - give thumbs up to (same as 点赞)

    学生为EDG疯狂打call - Students went crazy in giving EDG the thumbs-up.

  • 卫冕 wèimiǎn - defending [champion]

    此役占据优势的还是卫冕冠军DK - In this battle, the defending champion DK held the advantage.

  • 蚕食 cánshí - cannibalise

    随后蚕食地图资源滚起雪球 - After that, [EDG] took all the resources on the map on what became a snowball effect [towards their win].

  • 完爆 wán bào - totally dominate

    在节奏上完爆dk - Totally outpaced DK.

Idioms about battles

  • 跌宕起伏 diēdàng qǐfú - ups and downs

    整个过程跌宕起伏 - There were lots of ups and downs through the process.

  • 危急关头 wéijí guāntóu - critical juncture

    危急关头,Jiejie抢下大龙魂,为EDG续命 - At the critical juncture, Jiejie grabbed a ‘Dragon Soul’ which enabled EDG to extend their lives.

  • 犬牙交错 quǎnyá jiāocuò - interlocking hound teeth; going at it

    整个比赛过程犬牙交错,EDG团灭DK - The two sides were fighting tooth and nail throughout. [In the end] Team EDG wiped out DK.

- Netizen reactions to Wang Jianlin death rumours

Earlier this week, rumours were circulating online that Dalian Wanda Group chairman Wáng Jiànlín (王健林) had died.

The company was quick to close the rumours down ( - Chinese).


Wanda denied the rumours that Wang had died.

Wang Jianlin: I’ve just lost a bit of weight, which bastard has started these rumours about me dying?

Two key words you should know:

  • 造谣 zàoyáo - making up rumours or spreading disinformation

  • 辟谣 pìyáo - deny or reject rumours

The social media commentary is simmering with on-trend words, internet slang and sayings that you can also drop into conversations in the real world.

Give these ones a go!

Useful words

  • 笋 sǔn - ‘bamboo shoots’ - meaning damaging, harsh (笋 sounds the same as 损 sǔn - to harm)

    这也太笋了 - This is going way too far!

  • 绝了 juéle - amazing, impressive

    网友的嘴真的绝了,这年头各种被去世 - Netizens have extremely sharp tongues! So many people have been died [by netizens] in recent years.

  • 图啥 túshá - what are you trying to achieve?

    造这个谣图啥呢?想不明白 - What are you trying to acheive by starting this rumour? I really can’t think for the life of me.

Three-character words

  • 往死里 wǎng sǐ lǐ - ‘to death,’ to the extreme

    王思聪看到估计要把这人往死里整 - If Wang Sicong [Wang Jianlin’s son] saw this I reckon he’d make this person’s life a total misery.

  • 无下限 wú xiàxiàn - shameless, no bottom line

    报警吧。。。造谣无下限了 - Report them to the police, they have no shame.

  • 瞎操心 xiā cāoxīn - to worry pointlessly

    最起码也能活过90岁,有些人就别瞎操心了- [He] at the very least can live to 90, some people are worrying pointlessly [about his health].

Internet phrases

  • 熊猫点外卖,笋到家了 xióngmāo diǎn wàimài, sǔn dàojiāle - ‘a panda ordering take away, the bamboo shoots arrive home.’ Meaning: ‘ridiculous’ or ‘going way too far’

    真是熊猫点外卖——笋到家了 - This really is going way too far.

    • Background: This is a modern 歇后语 xiēhòuyǔ, which is a bit like a play on words or a pun in English. This xiēhòuyǔ can be used in situations like this where someone has gone way too far, or done something totally out of ‘order’ (pun intended ;)).

    • The play on words here is:

      • 笋 sǔn - ‘bamboo shoots,’ which sounds the same as 损 - meaning too harsh, or gone too far - see first word above.

      • 到家了 dàojiāle - ‘arrived home’ here means absolutely or totally.

  • 人不能吃的太饱 rén bùnéng chī de tài bǎo - people shouldn’t eat too much; meaning: ‘some people have too much time on their hands’ (same as: 吃饱了没事干 - eaten a fill and nothing to do).

    真特么吃太饱了吧,太过分了 - This person has f*cking way too much time on their hands, they’ve way too far.


    • 特么 tè me - clean Internet slang for ‘f*ck’ or 他妈的 TMD

    • 我尼玛 wǒ ní mǎ - clean internet slang for ‘MF’ as in 你妈的


Qualcomm and its lack of innovation

Qualcomm is losing ground to its Taiwanese competitor, Media Tech (联发科 - liánfākē), in China.

A short article in Sohu explains why: Qualcomm’s lack of innovation.

The article has some excellent words to add to your repertoire about innovation, value and competition.

Three-character words

  • 挤牙膏 jǐ yágāo - squeezing toothpaste; ‘too little too slow’

    高通挤牙膏连推四款芯片 - Qualcomm has forced itself to release four new chip products with only minor improvements.

  • 性价比 xìngjiàbǐ - good value or affordable

    在欧洲市场凶猛抢占市场,主要都是靠高性价比的手机 - Aggressively grabbing market share in Europe mainly through offering more affordable products.

  • 急红眼 jí hóngyǎn - ‘anxious red eye’ - anxious, panicking

    无疑显示出高通已急红眼 - Clearly, Qualcomm is nervous about its position.


  • 无路可逃 wúlù kětáo - no way to escape

    被联发科逼得无路可逃 - [Qualcomm] has been forced into an impossible position by Media Tech.

  • 攻城略地 gōngchéng lüèdì - attacking cities, and grabbing land; capturing enemy territory

    中国手机企业目前在海外市场攻城略地 - China’s mobile phone companies are aggressively taking overseas market share.

  • 黔驴技穷 qiánlǘ jìqióng - ‘the Guizhou Donkey has used all its skills’ - be at your wits end; used up everything you’ve got

    高通的这种方式显示出它已黔驴技穷,其实高通早在数年前就已显示出创新不足了 - It’s clear that Qualcomm has used everything it’s got. In fact, the company’s innovation had already started to slip years ago.

Colloquialisms and phrases

  • 亷颇老矣,尚能饭否 liánpō lǎo yǐ, shàngnéng fànfǒu - Lianpo is old, can he still eat? Meaning: ‘is he/she/it a thing of the past?’

    亚洲地区的芯片产业高度繁荣,正一步步赶超,不禁问一声美国芯片行业廉颇老矣尚能饭否 - The chip industry in Asia is highly developed and is slowly overtaking America. I can’t help but ask: are American chip companies a thing of the past?

    • 亷颇 liánpō was a military general of the Zhao state in the Warring States period. This is a line from a poem written by Song Dynasty poet, Xīn Qìjí 辛弃疾, about him. Read more here (Sogu - in Chinese).

  • 新瓶装旧酒 xīnpíng zhuāng jiùjiǔ - old wine put in a new bottle

    通过这种新瓶装旧酒的方式来希望获得消费者的关注 - [Qualcomm] is hoping to attract customer attention by simply re-packaging its old products.


This week, following the gaming theme of EDG’s win, let’s dig into the archive to learn some gaming words.

The impact of League of Legends LoL (英雄联盟 yīngxióng liánméng) in China goes way beyond students and gaming.

Over the last year of writing this newsletter I’ve discovered words that started life in LoL chat rooms which have gone mainstream.

Some words have even become part of political or social media discourse in China. Here are four from the archive which you really should know how to use:

  • 冲塔 chōng tǎ - challenge those in authority with words and actions (protest)

    通过在公司内网“冲塔”的方式声援该名员工 - Other employees showed solidarity with her through protesting on the company’s internal web.

    • Originally used by LoL gamers to describe attacking the opponent’s territory.

    • Now used in protest against authority - for example against big companies like Alibaba.

  • 带节奏 dài jiézòu - set the tempo, mislead public opinion

    不能由个别国家的单边主义给整个世界“带节奏” We must not allow unilateralism pursued by certain countries to become the norm for the whole world.

    • 带节奏 dài jiézòu was originally used by LoL gamers to praise experienced players with good leadership skills able to organise, and set the pace, to lead their teammates to victory: 带起一波节奏 (dài qǐ yī bō jiézòu) - “bringing up a wave of momentum.”

    • ‘Set the pace’ is now used by Chinese diplomats to mean ‘mislead public opinion [against the interests of China]’. Netizens also use this phrase to rant about companies that lie to the public.

  • 爷青结 yé qīng jié - I’m done with this

    爷青结。而且大姐,大家是因为你资本家嘴脸才讨厌你,你不会以为我们关心你熬夜不熬夜吧? - I’ve had enough. Also, people hate because you are a selfish capitalist. You don’t really think we care about you pulling an all-nighter, do you?

    • Originally used by gamers to tell their opponents that they were finished. It is short for 的青春结束了 yé de qīngchūn jiéshùle - my youth is over.

    • It’s now used online to describe celebrities who have had a reputation car crash or scandal - “they are done!” or “they are ridiculous!”

  • 爷青回 yé qīng huí - I feel young again

    再次见到那些青春时代经历过的人,不少网友都会感叹一句:"爷青回”!On seeing people they knew when they were young, many netizens said: “I feel like I’m young again!”

    • This is the opposite to yé qīng jié above. The full meaning being: 爷的青春回来了 (yé de qīngchūn huíláile) - ‘I have my youth back.’

You can find gaming words such as these in the 24 April issue of Slow Chinese 每周漫闻:

Slow Chinese 每周漫闻
"I'm done with this", "setting the pace" - Chinese gaming words used in social media and politics
Here’s the latest edition of my Slow Chinese 每周漫闻 newsletter, a collection of Chinese words, phrases, idioms and slang to help you maintain and improve your Chinese language skills, and keep on top of the latest language trends in China. If you like what you read you can sign up for Slow Chinese 每周漫闻 to land in your inbox every Saturday. Just hit this bu…
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