The idiom 降维攻击 is quite popular in Chinese chatting rooms.

Interestingly, it's used almost in any context. What's the origin and meaning of it?

  • I've never heard of it. Doesn't sound like an idiom to me.
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 7:17
  • 降维dimensionality reduction, search web:baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%99%8D%E7%BB%B4%E6%94%BB%E5%87%BB/… 降维攻击 (科幻名词)
    – user6065
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 7:23
  • So, It is a term from a sci-fi fiction-- 如果说你降维攻击,就是在说你以一种低级,违背正常文明的方式打击别人
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 7:24
  • 1
    re answer: other users have already searched the Internet, comment #2's link already mentions 刘慈欣's novel 《三体Ⅲ·死神永生》Death's End (Wikipedia: the third novel in the trilogy titled Remembrance of Earth's Past, following the Hugo Award-winning novel The Three-Body Problem 三体) 降维攻击 refers to 从三维降至二维的攻击由二向箔触发( for 向箔触发 again see baidu)
    – user6065
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 10:11
  • @user6065 二向箔 is one word.
    – NS.X.
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 8:53

6 Answers 6


降维攻击 or 降维打击 is from 刘慈欣 (Liu Cixin)'s famous sci-fi novel 三体 (The Three-Body Problem).

It means that an advanced civilization uses a dimension reduction weapon 二向箔 to destroy a low-grade civilization by crushing their stellar system into a 2D plane.

If someone is not familiar with young netizen's culture or fashion, he won't know this idiom.

As you mentioned, this so called idiom can derive to any meaning and apply to any context, it doesn't need to express an exact meaning. Instead, it can express any relative meaning depending on its context. If we talk about this idiom, we should first talk about not only its context, but also its users.

  • It's not so versatile like that. Please consider an answer which explains the real meaning of this expression. Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 3:23
  • 1
    @AurusHuang I believe currently there's no "real" meaning, even the one explained in 百度百科 is far different from the original meaning. Especially for those who haven't read the novel, their use of the phrase is only based on their understanding of "降维", which often confuses the Three Body fans.
    – Stan
    Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 12:45

I've never heard anyone around me using this high-end idiom...
So I searched the Internet, and found the idiom coming from Liu Cixin's renowned sci-fi novel The Three Body Problem.
The original explanation is not easy to understand, so people just use its derived meaning: "attacking others in a 'vulgar/despicable' way".

  • People do use it like that. The Three Body fanboys are probably getting mad about it. Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 2:08
  • If you read a bit 知乎 you will probably see it. 知乎 users like 三体梗 a lot.
    – River
    Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 2:03
  • As it is widely used, whether vulgar/despicable or not seems not necessary.
    – wznmickey
    Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 17:06

降 - 下降 - lower v.

维 - 维度 - literally means dimension n. - more precisely means level n.

攻击 - attack v./n.

降维攻击 - lower-levelled attack

Please be aware that it's a highly informal expression, to some extent a man-made expression by contemporary people, to express sb is much more powerful than others.

For example, professional football team vs amateur football team

Honestly speaking, I don't think this kind of expression worth spending much time learning. They're sort of amusement making you sound interesting, however, unlikely to be used in an appropriate situation when the popularity cools down after a period of time.


it means an irresistible and indescribable attack,generally used when people fail with no surprise because there is a big difference between the two sides’ might.

for example:




In economics there is this term called "creative destruction" coined by Joseph Schumpeter. It describes a scenario where outdated past business practices are demolished and replaced with new innovative methods. The invention of the steam engine / smartphone is a creative destruction: by "destroying" the old, unproductive tools (human & animal power / pre-smartphone era phones) they brought about new means of production / communication and significant efficiency gains.

降维攻击/降维打击 has a similar meaning to creative destruction: employ more advanced techniques/measures/ideas and bring a devastating blow to the less advanced ones. It can be literally translated as "higher-level blow" or "strike from a higher level". The term is often used in marketing speak as a reference to a more advanced business concept.


Attack someone in a way that can not be imaged so that even you make great efforts, there is no results, like from smartphone to cellphone.

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