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'Tuhao' may end up in English dictionaries

2013-11-14 13:11 CRIENGLISH.com Web Editor: Wang Fan

The Chinese hot word "tuhao" may be included in the next edition of Oxford English dictionaries, according to a report in Beijing Youth Daily.

"A lot of media has given attention to the word 'tuhao' which also triggered our interest. Its meaning is quite similar to a new word in English, 'bling', a slang term that refers to flashy, ostentatious or elaborate jewelry and ornamented accessories. If the influence of 'tuhao' keeps rising, we will consider including it in our dictionaries of the 2014 edition", said management authorities at Oxford University Press, the publishers of the dictionaries.

The word "tuhao" dates back to ancient times in China, when it referred to the wealthy or landholders who would bully those beneath them from 1920s to early 1950s. This new usage took off in September this year and is commonly used in the phrase: "Tuhao, let's be friends!"

It can be used to describe anything from China's new wealthy class to gold-coloured iPhones.

"Tuhao" was then introduced on a BBC program last month to refer to the "Chinese bling", which further stirred up discussions among netizens.

The BBC suggested that "its popularity seems to be down to the fact that it encapsulates China's changing society so well - many people sneer at those with wealth, but are secretly jealous".

The Oxford University Press says that a reason for including Chinese hot words, besides the increasing influence of the Chinese language, is that these words are often puns or carry mockery and humor in a way that would be lost in translation.

Words like "hukou" and "lianghui" are also said to convey complicated or specific meanings and loanwords are said to be easier for expression.

The online version of the Oxford English Dictionary is updated on a seasonal basis. The next update is set to take place this December.

New words which were added this September include 'twerking', 'selfie' and words that have been widely used in the media.

About 120 words in Oxford dictionaries have Chinese origins as quoted in the report, such as guanxi, dim sum and Chinglish.

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