What does 拍马屁 Pai Ma Pi mean in Chinese?

Posted by Rebecca Wu on July 05, 2017

What does 拍马屁 Pai Ma Pi mean in Chinese?

"Bite the Word" is a series of popular words as a support for skype Chinese classes. In this episode, we are going to learn a new word - 拍马屁. “拍” means “to pat”; 马” is horse and “屁” means “butt”. So, literally 拍马屁 means “to pat on one’s butt”. You may ask: Eew, Why do you say “patting a horse’s butt”?


Well. In Yuan Dynasty, herders took great pride in raising horse. When horse herders encountered one another, they would often pat the butts of the other’s horse and say, “What a good horse!” to fawn on the owner of the horse.


At first, people only praised truly good horse, but soon people began to do so to flatter others, regardless of whether the herder’s horse was good or bad, strong or weak. So now “拍马屁” is widely used as an analogy to ridicule blatant flattery that is meant to kiss up someone without regard for objective reality.


In Chinese, people say “拍马屁” directly; We also say “拍…的马屁”,which means “to kiss up to someone”. For example, “to kiss up to a teacher”, we say“拍老师的马屁”。


Example 1


tā shànyú pāimǎpì, suǒyǐ lǎobǎn hěn xǐhuɑn tā.


He is good at kissing up, so his boss likes him a lot.


Example 2


māmɑ, nǐ jīntiān zhēn piàoliɑnɡ!


Mom, you are so beautiful today!


bié pāi wǒde mǎpì, nǐ jīntiān bìxū zuò jiāwù!


Don’t kiss up to me. You must do housework today!



Ok, guys. That’s all for today. Can you use “拍马屁”correctly? If you have any questions please leave your questions in the comments section. If you like our video lessons, you can watch more at: https://www.youtube.com/c/MeetMandarinChinese

Category: Chinese

Tags: learn chinese online


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