I found there is no exact word to translate this phrase. Is there a way to describe this status?

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is asking for translation from other language
    – Maulik V
    Dec 2, 2015 at 6:27
  • Oh.. @MaulikV then where should I post these kind of question? Most of the translation doesn't seems to be close enough to me.
    – haudoing
    Dec 2, 2015 at 6:32
  • see iciba,dict。cn,dict。all,bkrs,etc,jukuu has over 100 example sentences
    – user6065
    Dec 2, 2015 at 7:48

4 Answers 4


As many others have said, 暧昧 can be used in different occasions, which calls for different word to express the precise meaning in each occasion.

there's the romantic 暧昧 when you describe a relationship, which I would translate to something to the effect of "there's a thing between them".

when you talk about someone's attitude is 暧昧, you mean they are being indirect, noncommittal, giving mixed signals, hesitating to express their opinions. You would choose the one that fits the situation.

I think in general when you have a word that doesn't have a direct, 100% corresponding word, it most likely falls to your subjective judgement. And sometimes you simply don't have sufficient information or context to translate it, 暧昧 can be one of such word, for those occasions you would try your best and note what word is being used originally or ask for clarification.


曖昧 = ambiguous romantic relationship

This phrase is in reference to a romantic relationship. Its usually from outsiders commenting on the relationship between a guy and a girl who are friends but may be more than that.

You can kind of thinks about it as the sort of weird stage before you've had the DTR (determine-the-relationship) conversation. If you don't have that convo, then you may be perpetually 曖昧.


Google translate gives it as the following adjectives:

ambiguous 暧昧, 含糊, 含混, 双关
dubious 可疑, 暧昧, 不三不四, 怀疑的
equivocal 暧昧, 双关
doubtful 疑, 儗, 暧昧, 踯, 怀疑的
shady 阴凉, 荫, 背阴, 不三不四, 暧昧, 荟
indefinite 不定, 活络, 暧昧, 暗昧, 不明确, 非决定性的
uncertain 不确定, 飘忽, 渺茫, 疑, 易变, 暧昧
indistinct 模糊, 缈, 恍, 惚, 苍莽, 朦

Given the translated terms, I'd add "vague" to the list.

Given the commentary below, perhaps the best fit might be the phrase and usage popularised by Facebook: "It's complicated"

  • Well.. in Chinese it's mean especially about the relationship between male and female. Usually it's the state before they become couples. Are those phrase close enough? It'll be good if there's a easy sentence to describe too.
    – haudoing
    Dec 2, 2015 at 6:26
  • Sorry for the gays. That state can also apply to gays too.
    – haudoing
    Dec 2, 2015 at 6:28
  • When you say " it's mean especially about the relationship between male and female" do you intend to say "that the user is insulting about the relationship", or did you intend to type "It is especially meant to to apply to the relationship between..."?
    – Euan M
    Dec 2, 2015 at 6:36
  • although often gender-related, today's headline from rfa shows this is not necessarily so: 新疆纪委书记徐海荣:新疆有些干部反分裂态度暧昧
    – user6065
    Dec 3, 2015 at 21:36


形 (态度、用意)不明朗; (行为)不光明正大

态度暧昧 |关系暧昧。

In English I think we would call this flirtatious.

Like: 跟别人暧昧 would just simply mean to flirt with somebody.

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