In a light conversation over Christmas dinner, a question was brought to me as "Is there a word in English to describe 忽悠 in Chinese"?

  • 忽悠 bkrs:〈方〉晃动:大旗叫风吹得直忽悠 | [flicker][方]∶晃悠 不怕秋千忽悠你就玩吧 to rock to sway to flicker (e.g. of lights reflected on water) to flutter (e.g. of a flag) to trick sb into doing sth to dupe to con hū you (方) (晃动) flicker: 渔船上的灯火忽悠忽悠的。 Lights flickered on the fishing boats. web:忽悠 是北方特別是東北方言,意爲 trick sb into doing sth,即用蒙的办法来让某人去做某事,从而达到自己的目的。
    – user6065
    Dec 26, 2017 at 19:32
  • 2
    The context or a sentence would help. Romantic 'toujour l'amour'? Playing poker? Making a joke? Power failure??
    – Pedroski
    Dec 26, 2017 at 23:28
  • The only meaning of 忽悠, in Mandarin, also in our Xi'an dialect, is shake, likes 晃悠, 摇晃, etc, for example: 刚才好像地震了, 房子在忽悠. It seems that an earthquake happened just now, for the house is shaking. It means entice sb to do sth by telling lies in northeastern China, maybe some of the proper words are inveigle, cajole, trick.
    – xenophōn
    Dec 28, 2017 at 2:27
  • it meams like “are you killing me”
    – Cynnie Jia
    Dec 28, 2017 at 15:05

4 Answers 4


Some advanced words: bamboozle, hoodwink.


I think the English word 'fool' or 'deceive' has the closest meaning to 忽悠.

Fool can be used as verb, meaning to trick someone into believing something that is not true.

For example, don't fool/deceive me! // 别忽悠我!don't be fooled // 不要被忽悠了!


忽悠 was from north-east dialect in China, and became well known since 赵本山's series of displays.

赵本山 figured himself as a fraudster, playing tricks to kite or tease someone. However, simply translate it as deceive / fool is in some degree inaccurate. Perhaps Convincing with Confusing is more accurate, because it is not always lying, it can be windbaggary, nonsense, flubdub, etc.

  • I think fool connotes nonsense as well.
    – dan
    Dec 27, 2017 at 5:00

Misguide / misguiding / misguided, is probably a proper word.

If the original sentence you want to translate use the word 忽悠 in the context of 打哈哈, then it would probably match to say you (or the subject) waived/shrugged it (or the object) off.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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