Perhaps this is not a Chinese thing (and if not, Chinese people are probably best off without it). However, a vital part of a pick-up artist's (把妹达人) skill set is negging (not nagging, but negging):

Negging is an act of emotional manipulation whereby a person makes a deliberate backhanded compliment ... to undermine their confidence and increase their need of the manipulator's approval.

A typical instance of negging is where a man deliberately insults a woman in a preconceived subtle way. Why do this? To lower her self-esteem and make her susceptible to him. For example:

You look like you're on a diet. That's great!
XKCD comic 1027: Pickup Artist

Question: How do I say "negging" in Chinese?

The only thing I've found so far is:

Also a popular phenomenon known as negging or offering a "back-handed" compliment which was meant to make a man look confident and self assured, was more likely to cause her to "run for the hills".
YouDao, attributed to bbs.51ielts.com but is no longer available

But it more accurately says:

In addition, there is one kind of popular trend, it is criticizing or mocking, it can appear more self-confident, but more possibly scares away the woman next to you.

So it's not much help.

(PS. Don't read too much into this question. I'm writing fiction.)


2 Answers 2


Not exactly the same, just some options: 否定, 打压, 贬低. Need to be used depending on the context.

See how it's used in a real article talking about PUA:


source: http://news.cctv.com/2020/08/06/ARTIV7DbKZJ0irPAftW0hXbO200806.shtml

The direct translation is normally "否定" ("否定" can be a verb in Chinese):


source: https://www.sohu.com/a/367516628_260616

"欲擒故纵" mentioned in another answer is a little different than "negging". "欲擒故纵" is more like "play hard to get".


'Negging' is a specifically coined term by the author of a specific book about methods of picking up girls. I presume the end game is either acquiring a life partner or building a casual romantic relationship with a woman.

Negging is in effect, a code name for a technique, and this technique is using subtle and mild insult to manipulate the target to 1. be curious 2.feels challenged 3. be willing to engage.

The true goal is not to repel but attract her. It is opposite of another technique pozzing: (whereby one pays a person a compliment in order to gain their affection)

Since it is not a general English term, I think I would treat the translation with more liberty

There's an idiom in Chinese called: 欲擒故縱 (When you try to capture a target, intentionally distance yourself instead of approach closely)

If pozzing (奉丞手法) shows a 欲擒態度, then negging (挑衅手法) would show a 故縱態度 (displaying dismissive sign to attract the girl's attention and get her to engage)

I would translate "to neg" as "挑衅" and "negging" as "挑衅手法"

  • 1
    欲擒故縱 is not negative, but negging sounds very negative to me according to the descriptions in the question and your answer
    – sylvia
    Dec 21, 2019 at 23:26
  • I suspect "neg" came from the word "negative", meaning "using clever negative remark as your tool. When pozzing (pay compliment) doesn't work, try it the other way. It is just one way among others to attract a girl,
    – Tang Ho
    Dec 22, 2019 at 3:20
  • neg: abbr. 负面的;负极的(=negative)verb - Express or imply a negative value judgement (esp. of someone while dating)
    – r13
    Sep 13, 2021 at 14:02

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.