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拉倒 is a word that can mean "forget about it". For example:

鲁迅 《华盖集续编·马上支日记》:“现在这书既然借不到,只好拉倒了。”

This seems strange though, because 拉倒 literally means "to pull over". What is the etymology of this word? What was being "pulled over" that signified forgetting about something?

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The image of this word in my mind is a middle-aged woman from northeastern China saying it with a contempt face. –  Stan Feb 18 at 15:02
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I think 拉倒 is used as a figure of speech to imply bringing down something that you have put up earlier. It is usually spoken when you want to conditionally rescind an offer. –  Question Overflow Feb 19 at 8:03

3 Answers 3

拉倒

In a mandarian Chinese, this really means "pull down". However the words are constructing a certain dialect's pronunciations, so you cannot split words from words to understand its meaning. In ShangHai dialect, this means "give up because of no choices or no other ways", "Have to do something narrowly":

【e.g】既然你不肯给我东西,那就*拉倒*了。(=那就算了) Since you won't lend me what I want, that's all for that.

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If it's from Shanghainese, can you help us figure out what the etymologically correct characters are? For example, in Shanghainese, "thing" is sometimes written as "么子" (to imitate the pronunciation). The etymologically correct characters are "物事". –  Stumpy Joe Pete Feb 19 at 1:43
    
I doubt 拉倒 is from Shanghainese. Check this link and this It seems people from Northern also use 拉倒. I would also say 算素(pronunciation) in Shanghainese for the same meaning, but I'm not sure I use which one more often. –  hrzhu Feb 19 at 11:41
    
Even if this isn't a ShangHai dialect, maybe this must be something dialect in my mind. We only use the word each by each to make the whole "pronunciations". –  CA55CE37 Feb 21 at 5:35
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@CA55CE37 why are you so sure that it originated from a dialect, that is, no relation to the meaning of its component characters? Do you have any sources or even anecdotal evidence? –  congusbongus Feb 21 at 6:08
    
@congusbongus: I guess according to my sense……Haha. But there are quite a lot of such senarios such as: 拉法莉(Referee), 昂三……These words don't have a real source or meaning, they may just come from English (fully or part of that or other foreign languages'pronunciations) to mean a specific thing. –  CA55CE37 Feb 23 at 1:20

I'm just guessing and have no idea if it's related but the verb for "building up" relationship is 「建立」, as in 「建立關係」, or 「建立信用」。 And it means exactly the opposite of 拉倒

So if it cannot be "built up", it might as well be "pulled down"

Maybe it was a nicely-done word play by 魯迅

my 2c.

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Someone said it comes from The Manchu language

“倒”(dǎo)形声。从人,到声。本义是“倒下”。具体来说是“竖立的东西躺下来”,如“摔倒”,“墙倒了”,“卧倒”;还有“对调,转移,更换,改换”,如“倒换”,“倒戈”,等。“倒”(dào)是“位置上下前后翻转”;“把容器反转或倾斜使里面的东西出来”;“反过来,相反地”;“向后,往后退”;“却”,等等。

or it comes from Mandarin dialect

“拉倒”最先是一个动补的组合,执行“拉倒”这一动作是人,“拉倒”的或者是人或者是物,总之都是看得见的东西,“拉倒”有着实实在在的意义。如明代的《金瓶梅崇祯本》的句子:“不由分说,教春梅拉倒,打了十下。”到了清代,“拉倒”的语义虚化,“拉倒”的对象不一定是实在的物体了。如清末小说《二十年目睹之怪现状》中的句子:“他们穷了,又是终年的闹饥荒,连我养老的几吊棺材本,只怕从此拉倒了,这才是城门失火,殃及池鱼呢!

But hi, 拉倒 can simply means pull down, so it means when all things fall apart you can forget about it.

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These are both interesting ideas, but which one is right? They are both unsourced. The former is especially suspicious in that it does not mention which Manchurian phrase it originated from; it shouldn't be hard to find if it really came from Manchurian. –  congusbongus Mar 13 at 3:52
    
@congusbongus Maybe the word comes from Qing Dynasty time, it has both Mandarin and Manchurian roots. –  Ave Maleficum Mar 13 at 3:54

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