Is there a idiomatic translation for ‘phone it in’ in Chinese?

Bolded what I'm looking for above, I'm not looking for things like 敷衍了事, but something more idiomatic.

In case anyone is confused as to what phone it in means, the Advanced English Dictionary defines it as:

phone it in

(idiomatic) To fulfill a responsibility with a minimum effort rather than the appropriate level of effort.

  • Why do you think 敷衍了事 is not idiomatic?
    – user58955
    Commented Oct 8, 2014 at 21:33
  • 敷衍了事 is pretty idiomatic to me. Are you looking for something more colloquial or slangy?
    – NS.X.
    Commented Oct 9, 2014 at 6:12
  • I was hoping for something slightly less direct. 敷衍了事 just seems to be stating the facts like: perfunctorily finish something.
    – Mou某
    Commented Oct 9, 2014 at 9:39
  • To me, "phone it in" is more particular than just any way of doing a sloppy job. It means doing a job where you are supposed to have special ability -- like performing as a singer or musician, or teaching a class-- and you go through the motions without making any effort. If I get hired to do lawn work and work slow and I sneak off every time I can to goof off out of the boss's sight, that is 敷衍了事 but would not be called phoning it in -- because you cannot "phone in" lawn work. Commented Oct 9, 2014 at 19:50

2 Answers 2


“敷衍了事” is a right Chinese saying to describe your situation.

Besides,you can also say something like “搪塞”,“蒙混过关”…… related to this meaning.


敷衍了事 is pretty idiomatic to me. An alternative which is a bit more formal is 敷衍塞責.

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