The term fail is pretty popular on the internet these days, and one I'm quite fond of.

Looking in my Chinese dictionary I can't find a great equivalent - is there a good way to say this? What would be the best word to use?

  • 1
    "Win" also.. in an internet context (as an antonym to "fail") as in "Full of win" or "so much win"
    – jsj
    Commented Dec 15, 2011 at 3:04

3 Answers 3


Direct translation of fail would be 失败

However, in internet context, I think 糗(qiǔ) is more suitable.

糗 means embarrassing, usually as a result of you failed something...

When used as verb, you would say 出糗, means you did something embarrassing. For example:


  • +1, 糗 is a quite nice answer too.
    – Flake
    Commented Dec 15, 2011 at 3:40

囧(jiong3) to fail,or 囧大了,囧大发了 to epic fail

When fail use to describe some fails in movie/tv drama, we say 穿帮

  • +1 for 囧, hoho.
    – Flake
    Commented Dec 15, 2011 at 3:37
  • 1
    the character even looks like a failface. Commented Dec 15, 2011 at 23:08
  • 3
    囧 is the one which is usually used on the internet in a similar way to the "fail" meme. The character originally means light, or bright, but later adopted the meaning of fail because it looks like a fail face.
    – soraM31
    Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 21:54

I would suggest "悲剧" (mainland China).

"悲剧" literally means "tragedy". When you "fail" to do something it's really a tragedy (haha).

This usage gained popularity in recent years among mainland Chinese Internet users.

I think "悲剧" is a better translation of "fail" compared with "囧". I use "囧" when I'm embarrassed or frustrated, similar to "呃" and "无语". "囧" as a slang term has the same meaning as "窘" in "窘迫" (uneasy).

  • +1. I think this answer is more accurate than the others in the context of internet usage.
    – NS.X.
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 21:57
  • +1, I agree 悲剧 conveys the idea of failure better than the other suggestions. (such as I can say My exam result is an epic failure. But I can't say it's 囧 or 出糗). Or we can use the even more popular version of this. 杯具 (This is deliberately written wrong for a more humorous effect) Commented Jul 26, 2020 at 12:43

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