Catch Phrase | 恩格尔系数 (ēngéěr xìshù)

Writer: Li Dan  |  Editor: Zhang Chanwen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2023-04-20


“恩格尔系数,” translated from the English term “Engel’s coefficient,” refers to the percentage of income allocated for food purchases. “拉满” means “to increase to the maximum.” German statistician Ernst Engel put forth in 1857 an economic theory, which states that the food coefficient decreases as a household’s income rises, because they can have more money for other things such as education and recreation. This Chinese term coined by netizens is a jokingly exaggerated way to say that one spends almost all of their income on food. Those young people with heavy workloads and fierce competition at the workplace tend to reward themselves with good food, sometimes at fancy restaurants, which can be quite expensive.


A: 你昨天下班去哪儿了?

Nǐ zuótiān xiàbān qù nǎr le?

Where did you go after work yesterday?

B: 市中心开了一家西餐厅,我去吃大餐了。这个月恩格尔系数拉满。

Shìzhōngxīn kāi le yījiā xīcāntīng,wǒ qù chī dàcān le。Zhè ge yuè ēngéěr xìshù lāmǎn。

A new Western restaurant opened in downtown and I had a big meal there. I burned a hole in my pocket this month treating myself to good food.