25 Common Abbreviations in Mandarin

I’ve had a number of readers ask me when I’ll be updating Parts 3 and 4 of the Top 100 Chinese Words feature. They’re currently  a work in progress; I hope this list of common Mandarin abbreviations can tie you over in the meantime. If you can think of any good ones to add let me know in the comments!


25 Common Abbreviations in Mandarin

  1. 3P (“sān-pi”): threesome
  2. APP (“aye-pee-pee”): app (usually for smart phones)
  3. BBS (“bee-bee-es”): message board; online forum
  4. BL (“bee-ell”): Boys’ Love; Yaoi; Japanese homoerotic fiction
  5. BS (“bee-es”): hate; despise; look down upon (from 鄙视 bǐshì)
  6. BT (“bee-tee”): 1. BitTorrent (protocol); torrent file 2. perverted (from 变态 biàntài)
  7. CCTV (“see-see-tee-wee”): 1. China Central Television, i.e. 中国中央电视台Zhōngguó Zhōngyāng diànshìtái 2. CCTV surveillance camera (same as English)
  8. DINK (dīngkè): couples who choose not to have children (from Double Income No Kids)
  9. HSK (“aiche-es-kay”): Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi, i.e. 汉语水平考试 Hànyǔ shuǐpíng kǎoshì (the Chinese proficiency test used in the PRC)
  10. KO (“kay-oh”): to knock sb out (probably from English “knock out”)
  11. LV (“ell-wee”): Louis Vuitton
  12. LZ (“ell-zee”): the person who makes the first in an online forum (from 楼主 lóuzhǔ)
  13. MV (“em-wee”): music video
  14. NB (“en-bee”): fucking awesome; kick-ass (from 牛逼 niúbī)
  15. PO (“poh”): post (v.) (probably from English “post”)
  16. PK (“pee-kay”): “Player Killing” (player-versus-player conflict in MMORPGs and MUDs); to fight sb
  17. PPT (“pee-pee-tee”): PowerPoint presentation
  18. PSB (“pee-es-bee”): Public Security Bureau, i.e. 公安局 gōng’ānjú
  19. Q (“kewoh”): 1. chewy 2. cute
  20. SB (“es-bee”): stupid cunt (from 傻逼 shǎbī)
  21. SM (“es-em”): sadomasochism (probably from English “S&M”)
  22. UGG (“yu-ji-ji”): ugg (boot)
  23. VCR (“wee-see-ar”): short clip (probably corrupted from English “VCR”)
  24. YD (“why-dee”): dirty; perverted (from 淫荡 yíndàng)
  25. YY (“yee-yee”): to fantasise; to get pleasure from imagining a sexual act; to think pervertedly (from意淫 yìyín)

6 Comments to "25 Common Abbreviations in Mandarin"

  1. 16/11/2012 - 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Remind me to use NB whenever I want to add a comment (‘nota bene’) at the end of a body of text.

  2. Charles's Gravatar Charles
    21/12/2012 - 4:44 pm | Permalink

    In American English we also say (or, said) “kay-oh” when referring to a knock-out during boxing.

  3. youngLEE's Gravatar youngLEE
    13/12/2013 - 2:14 pm | Permalink


  4. youngLEE's Gravatar youngLEE
    13/12/2013 - 2:15 pm | Permalink

    你对我们的网络语言很精通!! 写的很逗!^_^

  5. Chris's Gravatar Chris
    17/12/2013 - 4:06 pm | Permalink

    3C – consumer electronics
    QQ – chewy, a rubbery texture with a give to it, like biting into gristle
    3Q – thank you
    No Q – you’re welcome
    EQ – “emotional intelligence”
    NG – no good (from filmmaking, originally referring to a bad take)

    Curious pronunciations of letters:
    C – xi 西
    F – effu
    G -ju 居
    H – aitchey
    J – Pinyin zei
    L – ello
    M – em or emmu
    N – Pinyin en (as in 恩), like English un
    R – ah 阿
    S – es-z
    V -bwee
    W – da bu U
    X – ekusu
    Z – zhee, with the zh like the “g” in rouge

    Most letters in the first tone, with L and R being notable exceptions.

  6. Joyce Parker's Gravatar Joyce Parker
    06/06/2019 - 3:38 am | Permalink

    I am searching for the Mandarin used for @. One of my language programs seems to say “qe-er a” with the “a” pronounced as the first letter of the English alphabet is pronounced. The @ is used in giving e-mail addresses in my language course book.
    Google translate gives me a sound like “di ji”.
    I can find nothing in my print English-Chinese dictionaries.

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