Catch Phrase | 阴阳师(yīnyángshī)

Writer: Debra Li  |  Editor: Stephanie Yang  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2021-02-22


“老” means “old,” and “阴阳师” (literal meaning: yin-yang master) refers to fengshui masters who tell fortunes and help people conduct ceremonies to pray for blessings or avert misfortunes. However, Chinese netizens use the term to refer to those who like to produce pertinent, sometimes mean and harsh comments on people or things. The usage could have derived from the phrase “阴阳怪气” (yīnyáng guàiqì; meaning “[speaking]in an odd irritating manner”).


A: 我新买的这件衣服很难看吗?丽丽说像老巫婆的袍子。

Wǒ xīnmǎi de zhèjiàn yīfú hěn nánkàn ma?Lìlì shuō xiàng lǎowūpó de páozi。

Is this outfit I just bought really ugly? Li Li said it resembled a robe an old witch would wear.

B: 别理她,她是个老阴阳师。

Bié lǐ tā,tā shì gè lǎoyīnyángshī。

Just ignore her. She is always saying mean things about others.