Chinese Resources

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Slang: Don't release my dove!


No matter what language your speaking, being stood up is never fun. But at least the Chinese slang for being stood up is easy to remember. For one reason or another "release my dove" or 放我鴿子/放我鸽子 (fàng wǒ gē zi) has taken on this meaning.

Here in Taiwan, I often hear the phrase 别放我鴿子 used as a joking phrase used among friends who are going to meet up later. However, if someone actually does stand you up it can be used as well.

Regardless of the origin this slang certainly beats saying 爽約/爽约 (shuǎng yuē ) the more literary term of breaking an appointment.

Some members of the Baidu also say the term describes someone who simply doesn't respect promises, but I still reckon that 90% of the time I've seen or heard it used among friends, in the media, or in books, it is talking about someone skipping out on a meeting/ date.

Next time you're making a date with a friend, be sure to remind them not to release your dove!

2 comments:

  1. I love this expression! In my own (very limited) research, the best explanation I could find is that expression comes from back during the times of carrier pigeons. The idea was that if you released a pigeon, it was likely because you were sending it back home to tell whoever (family, friends, etc) that you were going to be returning later than you had initially expected. Hard to say if that's really the origin of the expression, but it's interesting nonetheless.

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  2. I asked my friend about this one today. She said that on TV shows when somebody is embarrassed or in an awkward situation, a cartoon bird will often fly across the screen and squawk (I've seen this but had no idea what it was about), because when you're in that sort of awkward situation you suddenly notice the sounds around you like the air conditioning or the birds chirping that you didn't notice before. The bird represents that.

    I think it's somewhat equivalent to crickets chirping during awkward moments (in the US? In the West? I never know anymore). As an example I told her about on US shows, when someone tells a joke that nobody laughs at, crickets chirp in the background. She said a bird would definitely fly across (be released?) at that moment.

    So anyway, I guess 別放我鴿子 = don't put me in an awkward situation by standing me up.

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