In Chinese, ”委屈“ has the meaning of being treated unfairly and consequently felt bad but didn't dare to complain.

"be upset" doesn't necessarily imply being treated unfairly.

"be wronged" doesn't seem to imply feeling bad but not dare to complain.

So how would you say it in English?

  • 1
    Like a lot of emotionally charged cultural concepts, e.g. hygge, but even embarassed (and how it is different to awkward), one single translation will never be satisfactory; one has to pick out the right nuance from the context. Also, be willing to rework the sentence structure to fit the correct shade of meaning.
    – Michaelyus
    Mar 22 '18 at 23:49

I don't think there is a simple expression that captures that exact nuance in English. For the feeling generated you could describe the person as "simmering with resentment". Otherwise, I might say "he/she was wronged but couldn't air his/her grievances."

  • 1
    I don't think 委屈 includes the feeling of resentment.
    – 杨以轩
    Dec 6 '13 at 2:42
  • Nor do I, but it is a common feeling if one thinks one has been wronged and cannot do anything about it.
    – user238264
    Dec 6 '13 at 3:25

in Chinese 委屈 Meaning:

  1. to feel wronged; to nurse a grievance
  2. [Polite] to put someone under great inconvenience, etc.

For Example

委屈 wěiqu



感到很委屈 feel very aggrieved

满腹委屈 be full of grievances


put sb to great inconvenience

对不起,委屈你了。 Sorry to have put you to such inconvenience.

Cite sa:https://www.jayxun.com/what/%E5%A7%94%E5%B1%88

  • If it is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 then you are not allowed to share it here, which is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (see the footer of this page). They are not compatible with each other.
    – zypA13510
    Mar 31 '18 at 20:23

Hmmm... I would say 'didn't know what I could do' in English. However, unlike in English, it has a sense of not being understood by the common.


I really think this has a lot to do with the culture. The feeling of 委屈 is almost non-existent or very minimal in western cultures. In Chinese culture the feeling of 委屈 is common. It always get magnified to a point that people may become extremely distraught or even commit suicide because they don't dare to raise their voices and fight back.....

  • definitely false; read almost any young-adult fiction Mar 20 '18 at 21:36

CC-CEDICT gives this definition for 委屈.

/to feel wronged/to cause sb to feel wronged/grievance/

It seems fine to me.


I had a conversation with someone of my friends about leaving my job (in China) and they brought up this word 委屈.

They said to me, many times people don't like their jobs, but people should always try to carry their responsibilities well. My friends told me that they think having 委屈 is a positive thing.

It's definitely a culturally loaded word, so translating it is difficult, but at least in the west, we have a similar idea about putting up with our jobs even if we don't like them. (I'm reminded of a scene from the film Office Space.)

委屈 is a noun, but it likely wouldn't translate well into English as a noun. Some relevant phrases come to mind:

  • "you have to learn to live and let live"
  • "forgive and forget"
  • "turn the other cheek"

It's definitely helpful to consider the context the word is used in when trying to come up with a translation. I hope my explanation helps.


I would say “being invalided” invalidation would be a good translation of 委屈.

  • I think this isn't a good translation. Mar 22 '18 at 13:45

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