Someone was asking about this in a German Chinese forum. Now I too would really like to know what 水 is here! The author is from 重庆, maybe it is dialect.


Source: 《饥饿的女儿》,作者:虹影,出版年1997,第九章(3)。

The situation is: the main character of the book is meeting her history teacher for the first time outside a hospital, he doesn't show.

So maybe 没有水过我 is 放鸽子 but how does 水 come to mean that??

In German it was translated as cheat = verschaukeln. The original questioner also mentioned 过水 www.zdic.net/c/7/1d/44699.htm 2, which I would loosely translate as 'he never fucked me about before'.

English from Howard Goldblatt: Always a man of his word, he'd never said one thing to me when he meant the other, at least not till now. He must have been ashamed of what he'd done - giving a virgin a dirty book like that - and knew that I'd seen through his little game.

  • i don't know, it might be a good reminder for people thinking they know how to swear "appropriately" in Chinese when they don't.;) Interesting how hard it is to swear "correctly" in a foreign language. Jan 5, 2015 at 23:40

4 Answers 4


It is dialect:



  • no problem - thank you for asking a question that led me to learn something new :) Jan 5, 2015 at 23:24

From context, we can guess the meaning of 水,他一向说话算话,(He always speak count)没有水过我(did not cheat me).So, 水 here means cheat or let someone down.

水 also has a meaning of did not doing something well, such as 这把游戏太水了(I did not play the game well).

  • cheat is not 'let someone down' It is hard to grasp how 水 can mean 骗, even in 重庆!
    – Pedroski
    Jan 6, 2015 at 0:18
  • I didn't know that 水 in 重庆.Thanks!
    – lqhcpsgbl
    Jan 6, 2015 at 0:20

It is not only a dialect. 水分 means moisture first, later extends to mendacious or exaggerate things. This comes from that people buy sand, woods, vegetables, even meat, etc, if the moisture ratio is higher, people think that they may pay for the worthless water in them meanwhile. Now this word describes someone's words is exaggerate or mendacious, there are also some words with this meaning in the Chinese Internet circle, like 水帖 (literally: water-post) means meaningless thread or post in forum, 灌水 (literally: irrigate-water) means post many more meaningless content, you can also say that someone or something is 水 (adj).


没有水过我 : wrong chinese word used, it should be "没有睡过我" meaning: we have never go to bed together... ha ha maybe to fff uuu ccc kkk

  • Well, in colloquial Cantonese, (as used by South-East Asian Cantonese), 过水, means to pass over some cash. Apr 4, 2020 at 5:40

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