I don't think the official translation "zhe teng" is a best answer, but I don't know how to translate this word properly.

  • Maybe you can say "no zuo no die"..lol
    – moiaussi06
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 21:49
  • It means spending many more meaningless time or much more times on somebody or doing something. It can be a verb, like 这件事折腾了很久, or an adjective, like 这件事很折腾.
    – xenophōn
    Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 2:25

2 Answers 2


First off "zhe teng" can not be considered a translation of 折腾, and certainly not the official translation - it is simply just the pronunciation.

A translation of 折腾 really depends on the context, and since you didn't provide any context then you can consider the following definitions and sample sentences and see which fits best:

A Chinese-English Dictionary


1 turn from side to side; toss about


Tā zhēteng le hǎojǐ ge zhōngtóu cái shuìzháo.

He tossed about in bed for hours before he got to sleep.

2 do sth. over and over again

徒工把旧机器拆了又安, 安了又拆, 折腾了好多回。

Túgōng bǎ jiù jīqì chāi le yòu ān, ān le yòu chāi, zhēteng le hǎoduō huí.

The young apprentice again and again took the old machine apart and then put it together.

3 cause physical or mental suffering; get sb. down


Yá téng zhēn zhēteng rén.

A toothache can get you down.

4 spend freely; squander


Méi duōjiǔ tā jiù bǎ nà fèn jiāchǎn zhēteng guāng le.

It didn't take him long to squander away his family fortune.

  • Is 'get somebody down' from a dictionary? I think example 3 needs more context, for example, the person went to dental service several times for it/ have to prepare liquid food. Otherwise it is surely painful, but may not cause a lot of trouble.
    – EXL
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 1:53

I agree with user3306356, it depends on contexts.

For me as a native speaker, the one I used and heard the most means "torture or torturing" For instance, 您别折腾我了 Literally it means(Please)you stop torturing me. Note: 别...了 is a grammar usage meaning stop doing something.

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