拍马屁

Learn Chinese Word 拍马屁 – Kissing Up

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In this episode of “Bite the word”, 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: Why do you say “patting a horse’s butt”?

horse

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.

他善于拍马屁,所以老板很喜欢他。

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

 

Example 2

māmɑ, nǐ jīntiān zhēn piàoliɑnɡ!

儿子:妈妈,你今天真漂亮!

Mom, you are so beautiful today!

 

bié pāi wǒde mǎpì, nǐ jīntiān bìxū zuò jiāwù!

妈妈:别拍我的马屁,你今天必须做家务!

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

 

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. Besides our video lessons, if you want more systematic online mandarin tutoring, you can join our 1 on 1 skype Chinese lessons.

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