10 Chinese Internet Slang phrases - Numbers edition

Updated: May 18, 2020

So you want to sound like a Chinese native? Read on to learn 10 Chinese internet slang phrases that you can use with your friends and family. Watch the video to hear how each expression is pronounced.


The number '0' is pronounced as 零 (líng) and this sounds similar to the Chinese character 你 (nǐ) which means 'you'. One internet slang phrase using the number 0 is the '520'. The numbers 5,2 and 0 are pronounced as 五二零 (wǔ èr líng). The pronunciation of each number is very similar to the character that it represents. '520' therefore sounds like the expression '我爱你' (wǒ ài nǐ) which means I love you. So when you are sending a message to someone you love, you can similar send them the numbers '520'!


The number 1 has 2 pronunciations. The first way to pronounce 1 is yī and the second way to pronounce the number 1 is yāo. It is sometimes pronounced as yāo over the phone when you want to make the distinction between the number 1 (yī) and 7 (qī). In internet speech, yāo is similar to the word 要 (yào) which means 'to want' and 有(yǒu) which means 'to have'. One piece of text slang using the number 1 is is '918'. 9,1 and 8 is pronounced as 九一八 (jiǔ yāo bā). This sounds very similar to the phrase 加油吧 (jiā yóu ba) which means 'good luck'. Send someone '918' if you want to give them some encouragement.


The number 2 is pronounced as 二 (èr) which sounds similar to the word 饿 (è) which means 'hungry', it is also similar to the word 爱 (ài) which means 'love'. You can therefore use it in the phrase '2456' 二四五六 (Èrsìwǔliù) which sounds like the phrase '饿死我了' (È sǐ wǒle) which means 'I am starving to death'.


The number 3 is usually used for the word 生 (shēng) which means 'life'. A common phrase where this number is used is '1314'. This stands for 一生一世 (yī shēng yī shì). This means a 'lifetime / forever'. So you can combine this with the '520' phrase we learnt before and send someone '5201314'. This stands for '我爱你一生一世' (wǒ ài nǐ yīshēng yīshì) which means 'I love you forever'.


4 is an unlucky number in Chinese because it sounds like the word '死' (sǐ) which means “death.” It is often used to represent that. For example, the phrase '7456' is pronounced as 七四五六 (Qī sì wǔ liù) which sounds like the phrase '气死我了' (Qì sǐ wǒle) which means 'I am really angry'. Send this off to a friend when you are angry.


5 is pronounced as 五(wǔ) which sounds similar to the word 我 (wǒ) which means 'I'. It is also an onomatopoeia for a crying sound. You can express that you are sad by typing '555' (wǔwǔwǔ) which sounds like the crying sound 呜呜呜 (wūwūwū).


Six is pronounced as 六 (liù) which sounds similar to the particle了(le) or the word 溜 (Liū)which means smooth/skilled. So when you get a '666' message, the person isn’t trying to give you devil or satan vibes but they are trying to say that you are cool!


7 is pronounced as 七 (qī) and this sounds like the word '气 (qì)' which means 'air'. It is therefore similar to the 气 in the word 生气 (shēng qì) which means 'angry.' It can also sound similar to 去 (qù) which means 'to go'. '7 and 8' therefore sounds similar to '去吧' which means 'let’s go'.


8 is a lucky number in Chinese but if someone sends you '88', it doesn’t mean luck! 8 is pronounced as八 (bā) and sounds like 爸爸 (bà ba) 'dad' or 'bye-bye' 拜拜 (Bàibài).


九 (jiǔ) sounds lik 久 (jiǔ) which means long. So you say '99' to wish a couple a long and loving relationship.

Let's do a recap! What do these text slang phrases mean?

1. 2456

2. 520

3. 88

Watch the video lesson here to hear how these phrases are pronounced.

88, See you next time!

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