It’s that time of year – time to bring out the Chinese wedding slang. How do we know? Because the air is warm, the flowers are blooming, and the birds are chirping, signaling that wedding season has arrived. By now, your social media pages are more than likely overflowing with content like dresses, flower arrangements, and photography ideas, all captioned with the help of the newest wedding lingo. Keeping up with the latest bridal language trends is hard enough in your native language, let alone in a language as complex as Chinese. Luckily for you, we’ve taken the liberty of creating a mini glossary of Chinese wedding slang, allowing you to be an expert in the next jargon filled conversation.
“Naked Marriage” 裸 婚 (luǒhūn)
Literally translating into “naked marriage,” this latest Chinese wedding slang trend actually means “a no-frills civil wedding.” In a country where wedding plans come with a mountain of expectations ranging from house and car to diamond ring and lavish all-expense-paid honeymoon, many of the post- 1980 generation in China are opting for a “naked marriage.” Getting married without a house, a car, and at times, even without a wedding ring is still considered unconventional in China, however the soaring cost of marriage and real estate prices have made this the new reality for many. For others, this growing new trend is the perfect way to throw off the nuptial pressures of family and society and pursue a simple path to married life.
“Flash Marriage” 闪 婚 (shǎnhūn)
A widely accepted concept in the 21st century, this Chinese wedding slang term is used to describe marriage between partners who have known each other for less than seven months. These marriages, also often referred to as “blitz marriages,” are a phenomenon stemming from China’s first tier cities, where the financial burdens of maintaining a long-term relationship before wedding have proven too expensive for innumerous couples. In recent years, flash marriages have accounted for over 30% of court divorces in Beijing, with newlyweds left unable to cope with each other due to personal habits.
“Leftover Woman” 剩女 (shèngnǚ)
A slang word that emerged to prominence in recent years, it is used to describe urban women over 27 who enjoy a high level of education, income, and intelligence in par with high demands, leaving them unable to settle down. This popularly used slang term has raised concerns worldwide, with some believing it to be demeaning to single women. However, many modern Chinese women see it as a compliment, stating that there is nothing wrong with being a young, financially independent and professionally successful woman.
Although we’ve yet to come up with a remedy for bridal nervous breakdowns, hopefully these commonly used Chinese wedding slang terms will help you avoid a marriage lingo vocabulary breakdown and give you a kick-start the next time a conversation on tying the knot comes up.