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Chinese Slang Series-Lesson 8:粉丝

August 22, 2011

Today’s Word: 粉丝

Mostly everyone on the planet has a role model they admire. Sometimes, in looking up to a role model, you can also be that person’s fan. For example, in the music industry, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift have millions of fans that admire them. 粉丝  (fěnsī) literally means “vermicelli,” a very thin type of pasta. So how did “vermicelli” come to mean “fan”???

This Chinese word evolved from the English word for “fan,” itself short for “fanatic.” Being someone’s or something’s粉丝means that you like or look up to that person or thing, and so 粉丝 is a positive word. Here are two examples of 粉丝 that show its different uses:

1. Wǒ xiǎng chī fěn sī.


I want to eat vermicelli.


2. Wǒ shì Lady Gaga hé Taylor Swift de fěnsī.

我是 Lady Gaga 和 Taylor Swift 的粉丝。

I am a fan of Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift.

However, using the word 粉丝 doesn’t have to refer to a celebrity or a specific person. You can also use 粉丝 when referring to a company, product or program that you admire. For example, if you prefer Macs to PCs or vice versa you can say you’re a 粉丝 of either company.

Many people around the world have can be said to be someone or something’s 粉丝. Some fans can be so into their interests that they create fan clubs devoted to them. Through these clubs and other efforts, they represent their genuine and positive enthusiasm to other fans around the world. Fans of a product or TV show, for example, can even sponsor conventions so that they can gather together and celebrate or discuss their shared interest.

 Fans exist because they like something special about that certain something or someone, and they want to share their enthusiasm with others. In our technological world, Facebook and Twitter both allow you to either “like” or “follow” your favorite companies or idols. 粉丝 is becoming increasingly prevalent in such online sites, and through the click of a “like” button, I can now officially say:

 我是 Cheng & Tsui 的 Chinese Slang Series 最大的粉丝之一!

 Watch our weekly Chinese Slang Series video for 粉丝: