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嘚瑟 [dè·se] (usually written 得瑟 in my limited observation) is apparently 东北方言. I've seen a couple dictionaries/explanations that say it means to "show off". I hear this word fairly frequently, but I haven't really grasped its full meaning yet. Is it just "show off" or is there a more subtle usage to it?

Doing a search in my WeChat 朋友圈 for 得瑟 gave me the following example. (Skip to the last line if the context is not important)

一男的微信上摇一摇,摇到一美女,聊天:“小姐,你真漂亮,请问你是做什么工作的?” 女说:“我是干服务工作的。” 那哥们欣喜地说:“啊,我多想成为你的顾客!请问你在哪里上班?” 女说:“我是在火葬场给尸体化妆的,你啥时候来?”…….. 献给那些一见到女的就得瑟的人。

As you can see, "show off" doesn't really seem to make sense here. Or does it?

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    It makes sense to me. 得瑟 means to be 'cocky', the guy was clearly trying to pick up the girl, so 'showing off' isn't an unfitting choice of word here. – Drunken Master Jun 16 '15 at 15:14
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I believe the core of the meaning is overly expressive with gallantry or proudness.

Although the most common usages are when guys showing off in front of girls, it can be used in other contexts as well. For example if someone keeps talking proudly about some small deed to his friends, they may react with '你今天怎么这么嘚瑟?', which could be a neutral question, or '你嘚瑟个什么劲儿?', which is a slightly negative critique.

  • Sounds like the meaning is closely related to 吹牛B,isn't it? @NS.X. – Yoav Vollansky Feb 22 '16 at 15:30
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    @YoavVollansky Yes they are related, but the difference is also clear. 吹牛B is boasting on exaggeration or lies; 嘚瑟 is boasting on facts and sometimes facts other people don't think worth bragging about. – NS.X. Feb 22 '16 at 18:36
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It used to be quite local in the northeast, but now gets used all over the places. It can mean showing off, attracting attention deliberately, and/or doing something without considering the impact. It's an informal but quite popular word now.

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Show off is one meaning. As far as I know, it can also mean being cocky/arrogant. Can also be used in a joking way.

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