Both are widely used among the Chinese people, which one is the correct one?

  • bkrs has an entry for 发大财 сильно разбогатеть make a killing but for 大发财 it says такого слова нет, добавить such a word does not exist, add, entering 大发财 into jukuu yields 6 examples none of which however has the unbroken sequence 大发财, entering 发大财 yields 33 examples all of which have this unbroken sequence, users can draw their own conclusions as to which is more common if not solely accurate – user6065 Oct 5 '16 at 13:19
  • made up of an adverbial 闷声/in silence and predicate 发大财 (离合词: 发财 with attributively used adjective 大 in between) respectively 大 functioning as adverb, thus 闷声 and 发大财/大发财 can be used independently, therefore it may be a question of which of 发大财,大发财 is correct (see comment #1) – user6065 Oct 5 '16 at 17:38
  • 当然 "大发财" 听起来对多个用户来说好像也是正确的,请见"汉语800虚词用法词典"大[副]表示程度深。主要用法有:1。大+动词/形容词(1)对外汉语教学事业是一项大有前途的事业。2。你要想大有作为,现在就应该好好儿学习,努力掌握一门专业知识。3。婚礼我不想大办,就请几个朋友聚聚就行了。4。听说奶奶去世了,我大哭了一场了。5。他女朋友要来,他今天一大早就去机场了。6。今年中国北方大旱,南方有大涝。7。今早睡过头儿了,起来时,天一经大亮了。 – user6065 Oct 5 '16 at 20:19
  • note jukuu's examples with 大发: 大发脾气(most often)/牢骚(2nd most)/宏论/议论/善心/利市/怜悯/其怒/(对远方家乡的)幽思/雷庭/伟论/一通火 and with fronted object: 横财大发,利市大发,兽性大发,醋意大发 and 发财 with attributive/定语: 大发战争财,大发不义之财,大发其财 – user6065 Oct 5 '16 at 23:54

Here is the summary of google hits on each term, including both Simplified and Traditional Chinese. Blue is for 发大财, and red is for 大发财:

enter image description here

So apparently 闷声发大财 is more ubiquitous, both in Simp. and Trad. Chinese.

But it is not a problem of correctness. Nothing is grammatically wrong in either form. There might be something slightly off for 大发财 because it doesn't conform to similar phrases like 吃大亏, 撞大运, etc., but it's not that important. The thing is, even if 大发财 was indeed the original form, 发大财 has already become an internet meme, and there is no way to stop that.

After careful listening, I think there is not doubt that the Chairman did say 闷声大发财. The pronunciation of 发 is hard to dismiss if you know how 入声 works.

However, there are like 1 billion native 官话(Mandarin in the broader sense) speakers who can't distinguish 入声. Also verb + 大 + object has always been a prevalent form. These could be why the 闷声发大财 version gained it's popularity.

  • 1
    But on 翡翠台 the subtitle wrote 闷声大发财. Actually, you could hear both while the sound quality was very low. – skygate Oct 5 '16 at 13:45
  • @TangHo or, at least, rewritten to make it less stupid. Right? – Wang Dingwei Oct 8 '16 at 11:27
  • It is not about smart or stupid. It is about misinformed. Sometimes languages change - by popular opinion. I still don't like 質素 (quality) became 素質 in Mainland China, but it is useless to argue with one billion people. I still insist it is 質素, not 素質. – Tang Ho Oct 8 '16 at 12:30
  • This is a very useful tool. How did you get the hits statistics? – River Oct 14 '20 at 2:14

The original phrase should be 「悶聲大發財」, I read it in the most famous martial art novel 『鹿鼎記』


第二十八回 未免情多絲宛轉 為誰辛苦竅玲瓏


In Chinese myth, there are two Hell officers 黑無常 and 白無常,people refer the pair as 黑白無常 or 無常鬼,they wear tall hats and the phrase 「一見發財」is written on the white one's hat. Since 無常鬼 do not speak, 「悶聲大發財 」actually has double meaning of " stay silent and get rich" and " silent like a ghost"



The reason for so many Google results for 悶聲發大財 was because 江澤民 said it that way on T.V. Consider 「質素」( quality) is written as 「素質」in Mainland China, it seems like they have a habit of phrasing things differently from the traditional Chinese.


发大财means make a lot of money. You can say 大here means a lot. Usually we don't use 大发财,because 大 is usually an adj. to describe the noun.



  • 2
    似董非董,不民白你泽个江得是什么意思。 – skygate Dec 5 '18 at 8:46
  • 1
    @skygate 惊现膜法师! – Toosky Hierot Dec 5 '18 at 10:00

enter image description here

Since 江泽民 said 闷声发大财 on TV, it is more popular in Chinese

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.