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In the context of:

你能向他撒娇。

How would 撒娇 be translated?

If 撒娇 is translated as flighty in the context of the sentence, it sounds a bit unnatural:

You can get flighty with him.
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To understand 撒娇, you need to understand 撒尿。撒尿 means peeing or urinating。note, 撒 is the ing part of peeing. the word, 尿, is pee part of peeing. so the word 撒 simply means giving out something very comfortably and naturally, just like what you feel when you pee. for example,.仙女撒花,means goddess giving out flowers.

娇 means loveliness, or cuteness. so 撒娇 means giving out your cuteness to someone very comfortably and naturally. in short, it can be translated to English with a single word, flirting. but there is a twist. a little girl can 撒娇 her daddy. In that case, flirting is not correct. you should just use showing cuteness instead.

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MDBG:撒娇

the first two definitions:

to act like a spoiled child

to throw a tantrum

are the usual meanings of this word.

Think of a kid who has got a boo-boo, it doesn't really, super, hurt, but the child would love the attention of his mom and dad. So the kid puts on a show, cries and wails a little - the parents come running over to coax their kid. This is 撒娇.

perhaps something like: act a sourpuss / whine

你能向他撒娇。

  • You can whine to him.

  • You can be pettish with him.

or

  • You can garner his attention.

  • You can be attention-seeking with him.

Something like this.


edit: sulkily

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  • why the down-vote?
    – Mou某
    May 24 '17 at 7:46
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I discussed this with a native speaker. In the context of a girl 撒嬌 with her father, it can be described as showing cuteness, often in order to get something. There does not appear to be a direct translation to English.

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In my Chinese-English dictionary, it says 撒娇 means "coquetry", a kind of play cute, flirting, or toying around to arouse and gain the attention/interest of the other person.

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