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1. Meaning in Chinese

The original meaning of 捧杀 is (from Modern Chinese Dictionary, Edition 5th):

Giving excessive compliments or flattery to make someone feel complacent and fall behind, even leading to degeneration or failure. (English translation credit to Nobody)

However, in the last decade or so, more derivative meanings have been added, in terms of the scenario in which this word is used, and the harm of giving excessive compliments or flattery:

  • In competitive environments, the harm of 捧杀 may be to trigger the jealousy of others (枪打出头鸟)

    例如,销售部的同事在会议上捧杀你,夸你过去半年每个月的销售业绩都是部门第一,好厉害呀。但这种夸赞,可能会让其他同事认为,他们的客户都被你抢走了,在闷声发大财、内卷严重的环境下,这话把你摆在众矢之的的台面上。其他人若要给同事穿小鞋,可不就先给你穿么

  • In "能者多劳" environments, the harm of 捧杀 may be to get you to take on more work or pay more

    例如,同事整天夸你特别擅长电脑技术,领导听了以后,从此公司的电脑出任何问题,都首先找你修理,但这事儿是没有工资的。本来这不属于你的工作,但现在好了,平白无故你的工作量增加了,一切都因为“你会”、“你在这方面干的最好”,所以“只能找你”。别人不干是不会,而你不干就是小气、没有团队精神。

  • 捧杀 will increase the expectations of people on you, which will perhaps lead to some harm: people will perhaps make higher demands on you, and more likely to be disappointed in you, etc.

    例如,同一个家庭的一对双胞胎,弟弟平时成绩在30分左右(满分100),这次突然考了80分,全家都会为他庆祝。但哥哥平时成绩一直在100分,这次突然考虑90分,全家都一副或失望、或担忧的样子。这个例子不太好,但一时半会我想不到更贴切的例子

  • There are more (culture related or not) implied meanings that can be found on this page. One of the most eloquent explanations is the one that currently ranks topmost: "被名气所累".

2. Translation

The simplest literal translation seems: overly complimentary. However, it does not accurately translate the "connotation" of 捧杀, which differentiates 捧杀 from 过誉.

Is there such an expression in English that a native speaker can immediately relate to the above scenarios and underlying harm (connotation) upon hearing it? Or are these scenarios and underlying harm culturally specific, and the cultural differences make such translation that match both the literal and connotative meanings not exist?

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    Some possible candidates: "overpraise and undermine", "praise to death", "hype to failure".
    – durianice
    Apr 3, 2023 at 9:46
  • I deleted my answer because you rewrite your question extensively.
    – Nobody
    Apr 3, 2023 at 12:24
  • @Nobody It's actually welcome to keep it, even if it's not the translation I was looking for, it IS really a translation. :D
    – Jackson
    Apr 3, 2023 at 12:29
  • Peter principle is close to it, but not exactly the same. On that Wiki page: "employees are promoted based on their success in previous jobs until they reach a level at which they are no longer competent, as skills in one job do not necessarily translate to another." I think there is no perfect translation because of the cultural difference, an example is in my deleted answer.
    – Nobody
    Apr 4, 2023 at 3:47
  • @Nobody Ty. Peter principle is a good one, however it sounds more like an elucidation than a translation. For instance, how would one translate 捧杀 in the following dialogue into English? A: 销售部那个刘姐真他喵的绿茶,有事没事儿就给那阴阳我。 B: 对!她前段时间也老爱拐着弯地捧杀我,谁招她惹她了呀?真无语!
    – Jackson
    Apr 4, 2023 at 6:25

1 Answer 1

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捧杀 is a kind of "entrapment"

"entrap" means tricking someone into a disadvantageous, harmful position (e.g. jailed, fired, targeted)

捧杀 is entrapping someone with false praises or undue elevation

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