Chinese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Chinese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Here's the context. I am guessing it means stumble.


Other contestants stumble on delicate phrasing

But according to this it means quiet/silenced?

Q: 步枪卡了壳是什么意思? A: 步枪卡了壳 - 不响 咯咯

share|improve this question
It means a cartridge got jammed inside the rifle, unable to fire off. Metaphorically, it is used by the author to describe words getting stuck in the mouth. – 杨以轩 Dec 18 '13 at 14:37
up vote 7 down vote accepted

It's a kind of analogy. Originally, 卡壳 (qiǎ ké) meant "a cartridge got jammed inside the gun."

When people are talking very fast and fluently, they are like a gun continuing shooting without any interruption. Words are "shot" (spoken) fast and continuously. There is also an expression "说话像机关枪一样," the literal meaning of which is that someone "speaks like firing a machine gun."

So when someone gets stuck while speaking, we say that he or she "卡壳".

share|improve this answer

卡壳 means "getting a stuck cassette" literally. cassette most probably refer to the one holding bullets in a shotgun. But it's also commonly used to say someone getting stuck in the middle of a speech.

share|improve this answer
FYI, we would say "cartridge" rather than "cassette". – Stumpy Joe Pete Dec 18 '13 at 18:43

I think this word 卡壳了 can also be used in a situation like the following. (not only referring to speech):

However, for performing the piece, memorizing it HS (=Hand-Separated) will be useful for recovering from blackouts,

(“卡壳了”, or its noun form 卡壳 is a pretty good translation of "blackouts" here)

(From Fundamentals of Piano Practice PDF Page 107, link)

share|improve this answer

it means the round is stuck in the barrel or sometimes it means your thought is stuck and can't come up with a solution

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.