Google Translate says it is 津贴, but my mom says it is 零用钱. Apparently 津贴 doesn't mean allowance, so what does each character mean? My book and google translate say 零用钱 is pocket money. How does that mean allowance? Also what is 零花钱?

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    I am not sure which country you are in, but when you are a kid, (say between 7 to 17 of age), you get "pocket money", but when you attend college you get an "allowance" though both come from your parents. Perhaps that's why "pocket money" & "allowance" are synonymous in English in this particular context? Commented Jan 24, 2021 at 7:58
  • "Pocket money" seems to be British English, and the use of "allowance" in this context American English.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Jan 24, 2021 at 14:12
  • @CarstenS oh my mandarin book refers to it as pocket money
    – Redwood
    Commented Jan 24, 2021 at 17:43
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    Please note that I am not sure about the AE/BE usage distinction that I mentioned, I am not even a native English speaker. I just thought that it might be helpful and perhaps explain part of the confusion.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Jan 24, 2021 at 18:08
  • Allowance has multiple meanings in English, which may correspond to different words in Chinese. Baggage allowance for example is neither 零用钱 or 津贴.
    – xngtng
    Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 9:32

2 Answers 2


Allowance (pocket money) for kids is translated as 零用钱 or 零花钱. It is not the same as 红封包/ 利是 (lucky money contained in a red envelope).

Kids get 零用钱 on a regular basis but only get 红封包 on New year or special occasions

- additional

- allowance, subsidy

津贴 = allowance, subsidy. e.g. 伤残津贴 (disability allowance); 书本津贴 (textbooks subsidy)

More example of 津: 薪津 = 薪金 + 津贴 (salary and additional allowance) = 'paycheck, pay'

  • Pocket money is a synonym of allowance and it is translated: 零用钱 or 零花钱.

  • Allowance, akin to subsidy, can be translated as 津贴 or 补贴.

Disability allowance for instance would be translated: 残疾补贴.

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