Discover the Top 10 Chinese Buzzwords of 2023

by | Dec 14, 2023

Top ten buzzwords 2023 | That's Mandarin

Last week, the linguistics journal Yaowen Jiaozi, or《咬文嚼字》(Yǎo Wén Jiáo Zì), released the top ten Chinese buzzwords of 2023, highlighting significant linguistic trends and popular phrases of the year. Let’s see what they’ve discovered 🔍

The Top Ten Chinese Buzzwords of 2023

The term “buzzword” in Chinese can be translated as 流行词 (liúxíngcí) or 热词 (rècí). Both terms refer to popular words or phrases that gain widespread usage and attention within a certain period, often reflecting the current cultural, social, or technological trends.

Speech | That's Mandarin
liúxíng cí
buzzword; popular word

Èr líng èr sān nián shí dà liúxíng yǔ
Top 10 buzzwords of 2023

01. New Productive Forces

Leading the tech-related vocabulary is 新质生产力 (xīn zhì shēngchǎnlì) — a term that represents a leap in productivity, driven by technological innovation.

Robot | That's Mandarin Chinese School

xīn zhì shēngchǎnlì
new productive forces

02. Two-way Efforts

双向奔赴 (shuāng xiàng bēnfù) means both sides working together towards a shared goal, getting closer to each other.

Talking | 5 Small Talk Phrases in Chinese

shuāng xiàng bēnfù
two-way efforts

03. Large-scale AI Models

This word is related to a series of AI applications, including ChatGPT and Ernie Bot (AI chatbot service product of Baidu) which have had a significant impact on social production and daily life.

Internet | That's Mandarin Chinese School

réngōng zhìnéng dà móxíng
large-scale AI models
(lit. “AI -large-scale-model”)


文心一言 (Wénxīn Yìyán) is a Chinese name for Ernie Bot, an AI chatbot service product of Baidu.

04. Village Super League

In July 2023, all the eyes of soccer fans and tourists alike were drawn to the soccer fields in Rongjiang County, where the viral ‘Village Super League’, also known as ‘Cun Chao’, took center stage.

Teachers, policemen, farmers, students… all the players on the ground weren’t professional players, yet the final of the 村超 (Cūn Chāo) was just like last year’s World Cup final!

Football | 10 Types of Sports in Chinese

Cūn Chāo
Village Super League

05. Special Forces-style Tourism

This new way of traveling is about seeing a lot of places while spending as little money and time as possible. Travelers try to visit many sights and learn about history and culture quickly, almost like they’re on a special mission.

Travel | That's Mandarin Blog

tèzhǒngbīng shì lǚyóu
special forces-style tourism

06. Standing Out from the Crowd

Before being 显眼 (xiǎnyǎn, “to be impressive”, “to stand out from the crowd”) was seen as being too in-your-face, craving to get everyone’s attention. But today being 显眼 (xiǎnyǎn) is also about having an energetic and enjoyable personality that brings happiness and a positive vibe.


xiǎnyǎn bāo
standout individual
(lit. “prominent-package”)

standout; eye-catching

07. Dopamine Outfit

“Dopamine” is a vital substance in our bodies that affects our movements, thoughts and emotions. It’s also playing a crucial role in our well-being and happiness.

The trend of ‘dopamine outfits’ uses vibrant colors to make people feel happy. Beyond colors, ‘dopamine’ now mean more than just a vibrant color — it’s used for things that bring joy.

Dress | That's Mandarin

多巴胺 [穿搭]
duōbā’àn [chuān dā]
dopamine [outfit]


多巴胺老师 (Duōbā’àn Lǎoshī) ∙ Dopamine teacher

08. Dazi, or Mate

If you spend enjoyable time with someone due to shared interests or engage in activities together, you can call this person 搭子 (dāzi) — a buddy or a mate.

Through social platforms, young people can find various types of 搭子 (dāzi) such as “meal mates,” “travel buddies,” “exercise buddies,” and even “shopping companions,” or “weight loss buddies”.

Meetups | 20 Things to Do After the Lockdown

buddy; mate; companion


麻将搭子 (májiàng dāzi) ∙ mahjong buddy

By the way, if you want to learn how to play mahjong — here is the great opportunity to become a mahjong pro in just 4 weeks! Visit our Mahjong Bootcamp page to join: Mahjong Bootcamp by That’s Mandarin.

09. Emotional Values

Initially, “emotional values” or 情绪价值 (qíngxù jiàzhí) were a marketing term that measured customers’ perceived emotional benefits against costs.

Now, it shows how someone can affect others’ feelings. Bringing comfort, joy, and stability raises their emotional value, while the opposite reduces it.

To like | That's Mandarin

qíngxù jiàzhí
emotional values

10. Questioned, Understood, and Turned Into

In the show “iPartment”, one of the characters, Lin Wanyu, prioritized her career over marriage. At first, viewers criticized her, but over the years, they realized that love isn’t everything and started to relate to Lin Wanyu. A phrase, ‘Questioned Wanyu, understood Wanyu, and turned into Wanyu,’ trended on social media.


When parents were strict, kids didn’t get it and felt angry. As they grew up, they understood their parents’ perspective. When they became parents, they identified with their parents’ ways, saying, “question parents, understand parents, become parents.”

To think | That's Mandarin

zhìyí [Wǎn Yú], lǐjiě [Wǎn Yú], chéngwéi [Wǎn Yú]
questioned [Wanyu], understood [Wanyu], and became [Wanyu]


IPartment is a popular Chinese romantic sitcom that tells the story of the lives of seven young adults in their mid-to-late 20s who are neighbors in an apartment complex in Shanghai. The show is generally regarded as one of the most successful Chinese sitcoms of all time.

iPartment | That's Mandarin
“Àiqíng Gōngyù”

Which of these top ten Chinese buzzwords of 2023 have you already heard or used this year? Leave your ideas in the comments below or on our WeChat Public Account

Learn more useful and cool Chinese vocabulary with our blog post: Chinese Language.


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