Catch Phrase | 下课(xiàkè)

Writer: Debra Li  |  Editor: Stephanie Yang  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2020-06-30


Frequently heard on campus, this term, translated as “end of class,” is often used by teachers to announce the end of a class session. When used on other occasions, it’s a metaphor for “being suspended or sacked from a job or official position.” The usage was said to have started among a group of Chinese chess players in Chongqing in Southwest China in the early 1980s, who would tell the loser of a game “end of class” and let another person play against them instead.


A: 听说你们学校篮球队的主教练下课了。为什么?

Tīngshuō nǐmen xuéxiào lánqiúduì de zhǔjiàoliàn xiàkè le。Wèishénme?

I’ve heard that the head coach of your school basketball team was sacked. Why?

B: 因为他很少给新手上场比赛的机会,过去一年球队没有进步。

Yīnwèi tā hěnshǎo gěi xīnshǒu shàngchǎng bǐsài de jīhuì,guòqù yīnián qiúduì méiyǒu jìnbù。

Because he seldom gave rookies the opportunity to play in matches, and the team didn’t make much progress in the past year.