The primary meaning of 打卡 is to swipe a card, clock in, punch a card, etc.

But I see it used in another context which I can't quite put my finger on and when I ask Chinese people about it they don't know what I'm talking about. They just give me the primary meaning.

So I started collecting examples that I seen online for comparison.

  1. A girl posts a picture of your day out at Pikes Peak. She comments: 打卡 Pikes Peak.

  2. A girl posts a few selfies of herself in the mirror. She comments: 你好今天运动了吗?来打卡吧:P

  3. A girls talks about her exercise routine. She comments: 一节腿昨天忘记打卡了 补上 哈哈

Now my understanding is that it means something along the lines of ''do something'', ''let's get to work'', ''time for action'', etc

Any insight and examples are welcome.

  • Please don't use the tag [vocabulary] for this kind of questions. There is an ongoing effort to retag it. More info about how to use vocabulary. If you disagree, please feel free to post in the linked meta thread. Discussion is more than welcome!
    – blackgreen
    Commented Aug 9, 2020 at 15:32

5 Answers 5


originally, one need to “punch in” (打卡/咭) for recording the time of one's arrival or beginning work. such “punch in” are supposed to be done by oneself, not by others.

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打卡 Pikes Peak

the girl went to pikes peak, and took a selfies. which implied she actually was there, no cheating by photoshop.

then, it derives to “record it by photo”, “in person”, etc

have fun :)


I believe that the CC-CEDICT definitions may help:


(Tw) (on Facebook) to check in to a location

Wiktionary also has a helpful entry:

(chiefly Taiwan, Internet slang) to check in (to a location) on social media

Facebook has a “check-in” function, where people can add their location to a post to tell people they're at a specific place. For instance, Pikes Peak - America's Mountain has:

142,081 check-ins

right now.

It seems like 打卡 can just be adding your location to a post to “check-in” and say where you are, it can also be used figuratively.


打卡:post on the internet about finishing a routine, such as work out, study, or any habits that take effort to keep.

打卡 originated from work locations that have card machines to record time you get to work and leave. So 打卡 originally means finished a day's work. Your boss will supervise you, to check if you 打了卡 or not. If not, you'll get some punishment.

About 打卡 in web posts. As a habit that takes some effort to build and keep, one feels like that himself alone is not sufficient: he wants to be supervised and urged by others. So people with the same need grouped together and make an online forum. There they post their progress every day. Whoever fails to report his progress will feel shame. In this way, they supervise each other if they finished their daily work out or not. And the routine of post progress each day is very similar to insert the card into the machine at the workspace. So people call this action 打卡:

Did you exercise today? Come and post your achievement!

我来打卡了, 今天完整地做了这套操。大家也继续加油
(On a web post) I come to check in: I completed this set of workout, today. You guys carry on.

一节腿昨天忘记打卡了 补上
I forget to check-in yesterday, that I did a set of leg work out yesterday. Here I make this post to make up.
(Can also be understood as) I forget to do the leg work out yesterday. I did extra leg exercises to make it up.

The action of 打卡 is the action of posting on the internet. And the post has to be about finishing something to make it a real 打卡.

Another meaning of 打卡 is to check in to a place, usually a restaurant, a store, or any place of interest.

Check in to a famous bobble tea store.

打卡 Pikes Peak.
Pikes Peak, visited.

I am not sure how it originated. It might be from the register machine of hotels, I guess.


打卡 swipe the card, which is used as a proof that you have get on/off the work on time.

Now, it's been used on internet posts to mean that they record something to proof that they have been somewhere or done something as if they take it as seriously as they do their jobs.

Basically, it's fair to say that 打卡 means to record sth (as a proof).


Hi! Done any training today?
来打卡吧。 Let's go!

(一节腿 doesn't make much sense, must be a nickname)

(Nickname) forgot to stamp his card yesterday.

补上, 哈哈!
(Have to) Make up for it, haha!

Sanya is a famous tourist resort.

  • 一节腿 means a set of leg workout. It is not a nickname. 补上 can either mean I didn't finish the leg workout yesterday so I did extra today to make up, or I didn't post my achievement yesterday, and in today's post I mentioned that I did a set of leg work out yesterday.
    – River
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 13:18
  • Ah well, you can see I don't do that! never went to a gym!
    – Pedroski
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 21:40

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