43 Single Dog – 单身狗 (dānshēn gǒu)


simplified Chinese: 单身狗; pinyin: dānshēn gǒu 

Single Dog

单身狗 (dānshēn gǒu) translates to “single dog.” The term in Chinese internet slang to describe someone who is single. The term compares someone who is single to a puppy or dog. Dogs are animals that typically desire companionship, and when they are alone they are sad and lonely. The term 单身狗 is similar to 光棍儿 (guānggùn er), meaning “single bachelor,” but 单身狗 is more of a derogatory term that is used for self-mockery. Typically, others will not refer to someone else as 单身狗, but people will say it about themselves. Referring to someone else as a dog is very insulting, which is this term is only used for self-depricating humor rather than as an insult.

In English, there are phrases that involving dogs that are more positive, such as “lucky dog.” However, in China, phrases including dog were typically insults because the view of dogs are different. For example, in countries such as the U.S., dogs are seen as loyal and loving companions and many people keep dogs for this reason. In Chinese culture, dogs can represent lowliness rather than complete happiness. In recent years, people use phrases including the word for dog in self-depricating humor. The change is interesting to see because, while 狗 (dog) is still used as a more negative description, there is a loving and enderaing tone behind it. The recent change in the way 狗 is used in the Chinese language can be attributed to the increase of people keeping dogs as pets. The view changed drastically after people began to view dogs in a more affectionate way.

Situations in which 单身狗 are usually on social media or among friends. If someone sees a cute couple post pictures of their relationship, someone may comment, “我 是 单身狗!” meaning “I’m a single dog!” Someone who would comment this is typically a friend or someone familiar with the couple. The humor is shared with the friend and can indicate lighthearted jealousy and self-pity in a humorous way. A situation with a friend could be with someone you may not have seen for a very long time. If the friend ask, “你 有 男/女朋友 了吗?” or “Do you have a boy/girlfirend?” the response may be “我 还是 单身狗.” or “I am still a single dog.” The phrase is good to use in both situations and allows those who are single to poke fun at themeselves without making others feel uncomfortable.



“Popular Chinese Word: 单身狗 Single Dogs – Echineselearning.” www.echineselearning.com/blog/single-in-china-its-a-dogs-life.

“#132 A Single Dog – 只 单身狗.” https://maomichinese.com/podcast132/.


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