I'm looking for the right word to use in the situation where you are looking after a child and they wander off. In English I would say "I lost my child!"

Is 丢 the proper word? Google wants to say "我失去了我的孩子", but my dictionary indicates that 失去 means more like bereavement. Zhongwen.com has "迷路" for 'to be lost' but I think that is what the child would say.

  • 1
    "失去 means more like bereavement" True. "'迷路' for 'to be lost' but I think that is what the child would say" True. "Can 丢 refer to people?" Yes.
    – Stan
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 1:51
  • 1
    Note that while 丢 can be used for people the way you describe, 丢人 is a fixed negative expression that means "to make a spectacle of oneself".
    – KWeiss
    Commented Mar 12, 2016 at 10:04

3 Answers 3



6 {colloquial} (of a person, child, etc. that went missing) have disappeared, gotten lost


  • 我们的孩子丢了

  • 发现孩子丢了,第一时间并不是去报警

  • 公安刑侦局打拐办主任:孩子丢了要立刻报警

  • 梦见孩子丢了,是什么意思?


Yes, you can use 丢. And sometimes 找不到/不见/不在 is also used (similar to lost vs. can't find in English), the following all convey the same meaning:

  • 孩子丢了
  • 孩子找不到了
  • 孩子不见了
  • 孩子不在了 (不在 is also sometimes a euphemism of dead, and so is lost in English)

As for

  • 失去 - it is way too formal and serious and it feels more like my child is dead, or my child has gone missing (5 years ago), as if something (child being lost) is done, there's nothing else you can do, it's all set in stone. You would not use this word unless you've given up all hope.
  • 迷路 - it means strictly lost his way. As a parent, you cannot tell if the child not coming back due to him simply losing his way, he knows the way but didn't go back for some reason, or something more sinister, e.g. human traffickers forcefully taking the child away, happened. Also, as the parent, you're more likely to be anxious and actively searching, and less likely to care about why the child is lost, if he's been missing long enough to worry. So it's less likely that you use 迷路 if the cause of child missing cannot be reasonably deduced to lost his way. If however, the cause indeed being the child lost his way, or presumed to be, then 迷路 is fine. For example, 他可能迷路了 - he's probably lost, or as the child himself, 我迷路了 - I can't find the way, as a narrator of a story, 他迷路了 - he lost his way.

you can use 丢 for money ,books, key,clothes,animals and so on,use 失去for chance,good future,sb's love,dream,and other abstract things

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