The word 胃口 means appetite but the verb 钓 makes it tricky to translate the term literally as it wouldn't really make sense.

Just wondering if anyone has found a nice way to translate this common term in a way that also makes sense in English without deviating from the meaning of the characters too much (if that's possible).

Here are some potential candidates I thought of:

  • arouse one's appetite (matches most in meaning of characters)
  • pique one's interest
  • leave one in suspense (matches most in meaning I think)

I would have added 'dangle a carrot in front of someone' but I think it implies something else rather than simply trying to tease someone by with holding something from them.

3 Answers 3


The essence of 钓胃口 is to hang something in front of someone who desires it but not let him have it immediately.

Both 'tempt with a teaser' and 'tease with a cliffhanger' can be called 钓胃口

"leave one in suspense" is a good one,

Example: "leave the readers in suspense" = 钓读者的胃口


'To tantalize' also works


to tease or torment by or as if by presenting something desirable to the view but continually keeping it out of reach


Teaser and cliffhanger are for tantalizing the audience - 預告和悬念都钓读者胃口的工具


Whet your appetite (to make you want more).

  • Thanks for editing my post!
    – Xixixi
    Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 12:58

WE say 吊胃口, but I assume they are the same - tantalizing one's appetite (for something).

tantalize - Excite or tease by presenting or offering something desirable, esp. when it is unobtainable.

吊胃口 - tease a person by suspending something desired by him/her.

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