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Learn Chinese Slang--电灯泡

2015-07-07 19:31 ChineseTime

Learn Chinese Slang--电灯泡

电灯泡 [diàn dēng pào]:bulb --> third wheel

bié dāng diàn dēng pào!
别当电灯泡!
Don’t be a "bulb"!

Of course you are not a BULB!” However, you will realize that this bulb is not the real bulb; actually it refers to the third wheel.

diàn dēng pào ( third wheel ), lái yuán yú yuè yǔ sú yǔ diàn dēng dǎn ,
电灯泡(third wheel),来源于粤语俗语电灯胆,
zhǔ yào zhǐ nán nǚ tán liàn ài shí ài shǒu ài jiǎo yòu bù zhī qù de dì sān zhě 。
主要指男女谈恋爱时碍手碍脚又不知趣的第三者。


Why does 电灯泡 mean the third wheel? Many people think that it is because the bulb is always too bright for the couple to maintain their romantic atmosphere. Nevertheless, the original and accurate explanation of 电灯泡 is from Cantonese. As a popular Cantonese saying goes,  “电灯胆(泡),唔(不)通气”. It can be roughly translated as "the bulb is not ventilated (because of its vacuum inside)".

The Chinese word for “not ventilated” (不通气)can also describe people who are unschooled in the way of dealing with other people. Therefore, the derivative meaning of 电灯泡in this situation is the third wheel, someone who doesn’t know how to behave properly when  dealing  with couples.

E.g.

wǒ bù xǐ huān hé wǒ de qíng lǚ péng yǒu chū qù wán 。zuò diàn dēng pào zuì tǎo yàn le !
我不喜欢和我的情侣朋友出去玩。做电灯泡最讨厌了!
I do not like going out with my couple friends. Being the third wheel sucks!

 

dài fū hé mǐ xiē ěr yāo qǐng wǒ gēn tā men yì qǐ chū qu , bú guò wǒ kě bù xiǎng zhěng gè wǎn shang dōu dāng diàn dēng pào 。
戴夫和米歇尔邀请我跟他们一起出去,不过我可不想整个晚上都当电灯泡。
Dave and Michelle invited me to go out with them but I don't want to play gooseberry all evening.
 

(CRI.CN)

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