How do you write "hacker" in Chinese?...

For purposes of this question, here is the definition in English:

Hacker /ˈhækər/ (noun)

  1. One who likes to program.
  2. One who utilizes technology to go beyond the limits inherent to the design of an application.

I'm not talking about only black-hat hackers (which is unfortunately the public perversion of the word "hacker" and has an evil connotation, in addition to usually referring incorrectly to mostly script kiddies and not true Black Hats anyways).

Instead I'm referring to the definition above, which may include the entire gambit Black-Grey-White, but is not limited to those subsets.


  • “Hacker” has not had a neutral or positive connotation in English since decades ago in academia or industry, let alone the general public. Call it a “perversion“ if you want, but your pasted definition does not match any kind of common usage, and has fallen out of fashion after about the 1980s. 黑客 is a very apt translation.
    – dROOOze
    Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 23:08

6 Answers 6


黑客 is the Chinese word for Hacker.

can work as a verb meaning to hack.

is a suffix that means person here.

It does also include the different definitions you're looking for, almost practically the same as English.

黑客 on Wikipedia says:

  • “黑客”一词最早是用来称呼研究如何盗用电话系统的人,这一类人士也被称作“飞客”(Phreak)。[3]

  • 在计算机软件方面,“黑客”是对于计算机及计算机网络内部系统运作特别感兴趣并且有深入理解能力的一种人。[4]

  • 在业余计算机DIY方面,“黑客”是指研究如何修改计算机相关产品的业余爱好者。从1970年代起,有很多这一类社区聚焦于硬件研究。

  • 在信息安全里,“黑客”指研究如何智取计算机安全系统的人员。他们利用公共通讯网路,如电话系统和互联网,在非正规的情况下登录对方系统,掌握操控系统之权力。

The wikipedia page also has translations of the different types of hats aswell:

白帽黑客(White Hat)

灰帽黑客(Grey Hat)

黑帽黑客(Black Hat)

You might as well check out the entire page, I'm sure you'll find more information that would be helpful/useful for you.

‘Hack’ in words like lifehack often get translated more like 妙招 or 小技巧 or 小窍门.

  • user3306356 do you have a comment about @iBug 's suggestion that 骇客 is the word currently used to have no evil connotation? Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 12:20
  • 1
    [1] The wiki page says 黑客(大陆和香港:黑客,台湾:骇客,英语:Hacker)- so basically 黑客 is a Mainland word whereas 骇客 is a Taiwanese word. [2] Baidu Baike (Encylopedia) says 黑帽黑客(black hat hacker)就是人们常说的“黑客”或“骇客”了. - so “黑客” or “骇客” - both are fine. [3] zhihu.com/question/19724972 this zhihu (Chinese quora) question says Cracker(骇客)和 Hacker(黑客)有什么不同?- so it seems that 骇客 is more synonymous with 'Cracker' than 'Haker' here. ---- These are just regular peoples understandings - and are not to be taken as exact 'jargon' but it should give you an idea of how people understand these words.
    – Mou某
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 12:53
  • @George2.0Hope I'd say 黑客 has only as much "evil connotation" as "hacker" does in English. Non-technical folks might think of someone in a hoodie and mask stealing state secrets while hunched over a screen full of green text. However, technical folks usually think of the word as neutral, and it can also be used in positive contexts, such as 黑客松 "hackathon", which is to do with building stuff rather than exploiting security flaws (the word is formed in a parallel way to the English version, cf. 马拉松 "marathon"). Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 21:07

About the word 黑客/骇客

For people who knows the hacker culture, they tend to just use the word 黑客 or 骇客 without any evil connotation. This is because these people knows the original meaning of the English word "hacker" and consider 黑客/骇客 as merely the transliteration of "hacker". However, this is not the case for ordinary people, who does not know the original English word.

For most of the people that does not know much of the hacker culture, 黑客 are the ones participate in harmful activities by internet technologies, such as creating malware or attacking/spying other's devices through internet. Actually 黑 is often related to harmful things such as 幕后黑手 and 黑帮. In other regions 黑客 is written as 骇客. 骇 means to scare, so 骇客 is also a negative expression.

Other variations mentioned on Wikipedia such as 白帽 are not wildly used outside the circle. When mentioning anyone as X帽黑客 or X客, it is usually related to cracking something whether or not a harmful result is caused by the action. However, this is different from the your description:

Hacker /ˈhækər/ (noun)

  1. One who likes to program.
  2. One who utilizes technology to go beyond the limits inherent to the design of an application.

where the focus is not cracking but making use of technology. As a result, I don't think 黑客/骇客 is the word you are looking for.

My answer

There is a loanword from Japanese: 技术宅.

  • 技术:technology
  • 宅:spend lots of time at home

So this word is used to describe people who spend a lot time at home to explore some kind of technology, and enjoy doing so.

The good point of this word is, usually the technology that is explored at home is IT related. So usually 技术宅s are good at programming.

This translation is not perfect, because 1, it is not limited to programming; 2, sometimes people focus on the 宅 part of the word to mention these people are not good at social. But I think these problem are solved if you put it into a context.


This answer is based on my experience on PRC forums and video platforms. It might not be true for other regions


In China, we call "hackers" with a word with negative meaning, 黑客.

Actually it's not the original word, which is now used specifically for hackers without an evil connotation, 骇客.

Alternatively you can call 骇客s as "白帽黑客".

  • iBug your answer seems to directly contradict @Jacob 's answer, which states "骇客 (black-hat hacker)" which would seem to imply a negative meaning. Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 12:18
  • I'm not sure why, but what I meant was "黑客 is negative" and "骇客 is neutral".
    – iBug
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 13:16

In my understanding of this, many people don't see/ don't care the difference of these two types of 'hacker'. They just use them (黑客, 骇客) arbitrarily or prefer '黑客' for universal purposes.


黑客 is the Chinese word for Hacker.


Hacker: 黑客 (universal word), 骇客 (black-hat hacker)

Geek: 极客

Script kiddie: 脚本小孩 or 脚本小子

  • Jacob your answer seems to directly contradict @iBug 's answer, which states "骇客 <is> the original word, which is now used specifically for hackers without an evil connotation" which would seem to imply not a Black Hat. Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 12:18
  • @George2.0Hope Paul Graham's "hackers and painters" is translated to 黑客与画家. And you can not find any positive meanings from 骇 in dictionaries.
    – sfy
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 15:34

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