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)


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


  • 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.


  • 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?

  • 1
    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


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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