Can someone explain why 们 is used in the word 哥们 to mean buddy/dude, even if it's referred to a single person? Would it be possible to add 们 to any other family name, like 妈们,姐们,爸爸们 etc.? And if possible, is it just a plural form or does it carry a different meaning like 哥们? Thanks!

  • 1
    (It would not be possible, however) similarly: (bkrs) 爷们儿 ② 男人之间的互称<含亲昵意>。 铁哥们 大陆地区指关系密切的年轻伙伴。 如:「这是自己的铁哥们,多照顾!」coll. very close male friend 娘们儿 :(web)方言,汉语词汇,对成年女人的称谓。 注释 娘们儿,俚语,方言 野娘们儿 (bkrs: развратница; шлюха)"whore"
    – user6065
    Jan 23, 2018 at 20:41
  • By the way, I don't liked to be called 哥们(儿) or /咱们 if he/she is not very closed to me. That makes me feel awkward. is used in Beijing dialect, it makes me feels like a stranger come to me and say "Yoooo, what's up", so no /咱们, just you and me. Jan 24, 2018 at 5:59
  • for the sake of clarity "not possible" in comment #1, means to say that the number of expressions similar to 哥们儿 is limited(see examples in comment #1)
    – user6065
    Jan 24, 2018 at 10:43

4 Answers 4


Yes, 哥们 means "men" or "buddies" But you can still call a single person '你们哥们' (you men). Which refers him as "one of the men/ men like you". You are not technically addressing him, but addressing his group

For example, saying to a person: "You men are useless" suggest "you being one of them is also useless"

"你也是我的哥们儿了" means "you too are (one of) my buddies now"

If you have more than one older sister, you can refer them as 我家的姐们 (my older sisters).

Or you can refer a single female as 姐们 (one of the women/ women like her) similar to 哥们

You cannot say 我家的妈们 or 爸们 because you only have one mother and one father.

爷们 (males/men) can be used the same way as 哥们. As in "你们爷们" (you men)


Tang is right~

爷(爺)is complex than grandfather, it also meanings a man who has a higher opinion on himself or a lord. So 爷们 could be “lords” or “men” or even “a man with manliness”.

In ancient Chinese 爷 is also father, the lord of family.


们,is just not only plural, but also is related to relationship or relatives, like 姊妹们,姐妹们,妯娌们,兄弟们。

interpreting 们 as plural,is just what linguists or book of Chinese language regard as true, in fact, it is not natural and not true, both from view of historic Chinese and Mandarin.

  • most users (linguists, Chinese grammar books) know that 们 can function as plural suffix for human nouns only with certain restrictions see e.g. chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/27922/… esp. comments #1,2
    – user6065
    Jan 24, 2018 at 2:56
  • @user6065 you may judge who is right just by hearing familiar speech, the usage is borrowed from european languages or simulates them, it distorted Mandarin. you may check们 in Hong Lou Meng or Shui Hong Zhuan or more works for right anser Jan 24, 2018 at 3:02
  • 们 is originally 每,卫,etc, in works after or about Song dynasty. Plurality is a meaning evolved from them. Jan 24, 2018 at 3:09
  • there does not seem to be any contradiction
    – user6065
    Jan 24, 2018 at 3:28
  • @user6065 actually, the extended usage bought from European languages has made Mandarin distorted, and is not necessary. It is a pity so many ones have not found that. Jan 24, 2018 at 3:33

们 adds sociality to these people,same for 姐们, blood relationship is not necessary。

妈们 would be an interesting word, if someone use this word, I would think he calls many women mom, these women give him money for some unhealthy exchanges, an horrible relation, same for 爸们。

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