I heard this phrase from some Chinese-speaking stranger. I assume it's related to farewell since the stranger was waving hand to someone else, but what does it mean exactly? Is there a certain context in which this phrase is used?

Also, is this a dialect? It looks different from the Chinese I have learnt.

  • 拜了个拜 variant of 拜拜 bye-bye formed according to Chinese grammar
    – user6065
    Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 5:21
  • What would the grammar be though? I thought 拜 is to display obedience, as stated on wikipedia. Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 5:33
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    analogous to 行了(一)个~礼/鞠了(一)个躬 with 行/鞠 and 礼/躬 both respectively replaced by 拜
    – user6065
    Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 6:24
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    Its just a word play by cute girl.I think if said by a boy then he must be a gay.
    – sfy
    Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 15:48
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    @ThomasHsieh "拜了个拜" is incorrect in Chinese grammar. It is a just joking way of speaking "拜拜". "了个" doesn't mean anything.
    – RnMss
    Commented May 4, 2015 at 9:49

5 Answers 5


拜了个拜 derives from 拜拜 by treating the first 拜 as a verb and the second 拜 as the object of the first 拜 and then adopting the verb+(quantity)个+object pattern.

拜拜 is just a loan word from English bye-bye and mean the same thing.

拜了个拜 is just a novel usage of the word.

  • why repeat comments?
    – user6065
    Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 7:44
  • 1
    This is a good answer. It's not unknown to see a two-character verb that was not originally derived from a verb+object compound be treated as if it were. Another example I can think of is 小了个便. This kind of usage can connote a bit of playfulness in the tone of the sentence.
    – Claw
    Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 8:10
  • This is a good answer that also explains other similar expression like 喵了个咪. But in that case it reminds me of a daily abuse word. My bad.
    – River
    Commented Jun 25, 2020 at 14:14

"拜拜" comes from the English word "bye-bye".

"拜了个拜" is actually a joking form of "拜拜", which actually isn't "correct" in Chinese grammar.

This expression got popular from a Chinese translation for a sentence in Japanese comeday animiation (日和动漫).

The guy tried translating a sentence into "不是吧!" (This must be kidding me!). But he found it doesn't fit the lips movement in the animation, so he added 2 syllables, and makes "不了个是吧!". "了个" here doesn't have any meaning.

What is interesting, there is a English phrase "bye-and-bye" that fits it perfectly.

  • Interesting! I have seen 日和动漫 but perhaps there are more episodes than what I have watched. Thanks for the comprehensive explanation! Commented May 4, 2015 at 12:00

Well, it can simply translated into "Had a goodbye".

Some other examples: "冲/洗了个藻" -> "Had a shower/bath" "洗了洗手" -> "Had a hand washing", "睡了个觉" -> "Had a sleep", "吃了个饭" "Had a meal".

Nah, I don't think it's a dialect, more like to be an oral expression, very uncommon in written language, this kind of expression usually come with an attitude of not a big deal, and most likely he/she is in a good mood or at least not bad.

  • Ah so it's a common pattern then. Thank you! Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 8:16
  • @ThomasHsieh Yeah, you can say that.
    – Albert
    Commented Apr 12, 2015 at 8:20
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    No, these examples are not the same with "拜了个拜". "了个" in "拜了个拜" doesn't mean anything, it's more like a word play.
    – RnMss
    Commented May 4, 2015 at 9:51
  • @RnMss Not exact the same since "拜了个拜" have a same word for both v. anf n., but, I still think they all have identical pattern.
    – Albert
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 23:03

"拜了个拜" has the almost same meaning with "拜拜"(bye-bye), and the word "了个" in it is just to make it sounds funny, not "had a", though in normal cases it's indeed translated into "had a".

...This pattern is now popular in Chinese slang.

  • Reminds me of Ned "diddly" Flanders Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 1:36

Some times my dad would say so and I thought it was created by him. 拜了个拜 means byebye but more informalitly and smart. (I actually thought only my family would say this word)

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