In what contexts can 老乡 used? How do they translate to English?

  • 4
    I guess you are not satisfied with "fellow townsman; fellow villager; sb from the same hometown"? mdbg.net/chindict/…
    – BertR
    Commented Jun 3, 2012 at 15:26
  • yeah, expecting some authentic expression; maybe there isn't one
    – sma
    Commented Jun 3, 2012 at 15:31
  • 1
    I guess "fellow townsman" and "fellow villager" will be the best what you can get
    – BertR
    Commented Jun 3, 2012 at 15:33
  • Can we improve the question body? @pegausbupt please write more context and add detail.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Jun 3, 2012 at 15:47
  • Thanks for the edit, but it's still insufficient. The question is too open-ended. @pegausbupt In what situation you'd use this translation? We don't want answers to list every single possible situation.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Jun 3, 2012 at 23:36

7 Answers 7


An appropriate word would be countryman

noun, plural countrymen.

 1. a native or inhabitant of one's own country.
 2. a native or inhabitant of a particular region.
 3. person who lives in the country.
 4. an unsophisticated person, as one who lives in or comes from a rural
    area; rustic.

Meaning from Baidu:


Translated to English:

  1. The usage of this word is flexible. For example, it can be applied to those living within the same district of a city, the same city within a province, or the same province within the country.
  2. The PLA used to address the commoners this way.

Usage example:

  • Unfortunately, the meaning "1" for countryman is dominant, so this doesn't work 100% as a translation for 老乡.
    – Colin
    Commented May 12, 2017 at 5:38

It shouldn't be using technical translation. Because 老乡 the word itself is very informal and make people feel warm and relax.

I would use pals from hometown if I need to explain this word to foreigner

  • But 老乡 may not be pals, just people from the same hometown. Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 9:02

老乡 is a bit narrower than, but related to the Yiddish לאַנדסמאַן - landsman (with "a"s like the "o" in bottle and a true "s" like pass, not a /z/ like pans). That word, according to Wikipedia, has made it into English as landsman, though I don't think it's widespread (I haven't heard anyone but my mom use it - and then only when describing the Yiddish word).

If you don't like that, maybe an even broader term like compatriot, perhaps? or homey?


The English term that is closest to 老乡 is "country folk" or "countryman"


  1. plural : a certain kind, class, or group of people : old folks | |just plain folk | country folk

Folk is always plural.

  • You can describe or address a group of 老乡 as "folks"

  • to describe one 老乡 , you can say "that countryman"

  • to address one of your own 老乡, you can say " Hey, fellow countryman!"

In Guangdong, especially in Guangzhou the term 老鄉 is used ironically as a derogatory term for someone from a different province or by Cantonese speakers for someone who don't speak the language.

  • good explanation Commented May 5, 2017 at 9:28

I can't help but think of "homeboys"/"homies"

  • This does not mean what you think it means - 老乡 means someone who was from the same region that the person was born/raised in, and "homeboy" definitely doesn't mean that.
    – Qwerp-Derp
    Commented May 22, 2017 at 8:50

Probably best to use "someone/people from the same/my hometown".

There are some other options which would work in specific contexts, though:


which is an Italian loanword to American English. It can mean someone from the same hometown or region.

You could even use:

laoxiang or lao-hsiang

as long as you explain it to anyone who might not be familiar. It has become used in English since the 1990s.

And perhaps, lightheartedly:

hometown mafia, analogous to phrases such as PayPal mafia

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