I'm speaking about for example:


To mean: He's very pro/skilled.

I've seen this a lot, but I don't quite see what the origin of this comes from.

3 Answers 3


It's homophonic of 溜, which means proficient, smooth (in doing something) in Nothern dialects. Note it doesn't imply a top degree of mastery. It's more like nice instead of pwned.

The use of number 6 first appeared in online games, then spread to internet contents.

Some examples for the original word:

他爬树很溜(儿)。He's good at climbing trees.

他说的很溜(儿)。He gave a fluent speech.

One reference I can find: http://hs.tgbus.com/wenda/201410/20141002121649.shtml

  • Although I would imagine 666 (as referenced in the link) means something completely different...
    – Mou某
    Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 12:10
  • @user3306356 there are extended usages such as self-mockery or sarcasm which can be said to any word. I don't consider them 'completely different'. I didn't expand on those because the OP is asking for the origin.
    – NS.X.
    Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 19:05
  • Oh, sorry, I meant more like: 666, number of the devil, that sort of thing.
    – Mou某
    Commented Aug 22, 2015 at 9:07

I guess it comes from the dialectal pronunciation of 牛 which has the slang meaning "awesome".

  • What dialect would have that?
    – Ringil
    Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 15:38
  • @Ringil No idea about the source dialect of this expression, but the initial n ~ l shift exists in some regions, e.g. in Min, Yue or Xiang dialects.
    – imrek
    Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 15:45
  • 1
    I was also thinking it could be a variety of 牛. Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 16:55
  • I also found quite a few sources saying it has originated from 牛, but also from 溜. One source even claimed that it is the Chinese "LOL", but I could not find any more references to that. Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 15:48

In Chinese, there are many number combinations used as an abbreviation such as 666, 88 and 2333. Today I will introduce you 666. 666, in web terms, means 牛牛牛 or 溜溜溜 in Chinese. It is usually used to describe someone or something excellent or amazing.

  1. Origin of 666

Actually, 666 has been generated for a long time (the specific time is not clear). And it became popular and was used widely in a game named LOL (League of Legends). For example, if someone plays quite good in a game, you can say 666 to him.

  1. Other Common Abbreviations in China

Except for 666, there are also some other abbreviations that we use often in daily life or games.

1). 88: it means bye bye.

2). 5555: as the pronunciation of 5 is similar to the sound of crying, we usually use 555, 5555, 55555 to describe our sadness.

3). 520: it means “I love you”.

4). 5201314: it means “I love you for a whole life”.

5). 1314: it means “one’s whole life”.

6). 888: it can be used as a blessing, which shows your good wish of wealth.

7). 2333: this number combination is originated from a forum (www.mop.com). The No. 233 emoji from the MP forum is a picture of laughing, so many users like to add a “2333” when they post in the forum. Now “2333” is a popular web term used to express laughter. Resource from Sino5000

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