Chinese “Losers” (Article #1)


This article talks about a Chinese slang term, “diaosi” which originated online in Chinese social media websites and has recently become widely used by young Chinese people.

This term (literally meaning “pubic hair”) can be loosely compared to English “loser”. At first, it was an insult, referring to a person who is underprivileged, uneducated, unmotivated, unattractive, and so on – the opposite of another common term, 高富帅 (gaofushui, “tall, rich, and handsome”) for men or 白富美 (baifumei, “pale, rich, and beautiful) for women.

However, much like many English slang insults like “loser” or “geek”, “diaosi” has been embraced by the people it was meant to insult, and young people will apply the term to themselves almost like a badge of honor. There are even specific characteristics that define a diaosi – according to this article, linked to in the original – including never having more than 1,000 yuan in your pocket, or only taking long-distance vacations every three to five years.

This article shows an example of the effect that the internet has had on the Chinese language. With the ease of communication and spread of ideas the internet offers, new words like “diaosi” can arise and spread easily among Chinese youth.