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Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by baosheng, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. baosheng Senior Member

    Canada, English

    I have a question about meaning of the Chinese expression "犀利" which I heard on television today.

    Here is the context:
    "女: 你怎么不进去? (go into the office building, since he(对方) is waiting outside)
    男: 你们这儿进进出出的都是金领,要么就是白领。我穿得这么犀利。怎么进去呀
    (he is an artist, wearing very normal clothes...)

    My guess was that it means "shabby" from the context (since he isn't dressed very well--casually, in any case, opposed to formal). The dictionary definitions say "sharp, penetrating" though (which I'm assuming is not "sharp" in a fashion sense.. or would it fit here too?). Is anyone familiar with this word's usage when referring to one's appearance?

    Thanks in advance/谢谢!
  2. ridgemao Senior Member

    "我穿得这么犀利", 我从来没有这么说过,这不是标准普通话。
  3. SuperXW Senior Member

    In standard Mandarin, 犀利 only means “sharp, penetrating”.
    E.g. 刀锋很犀利。(The blade is sharp.) 言辞犀利。(The words are harsh.) 犀利的目光。(A Sharp, Penetrating Gaze)

    In Cantonese, 犀利 means 厉害 (good, awesome, for anything).
    E.g.你好犀利喔!=你真厉害!(You are awesome!)
    佢嘅武功好犀利。(His Kung-fu is powerful.)

    The Cantonese usage has been recently borrowed by some Mandarin speakers and netizens, and the meaning has been changed into something else.
    When a Mandarin speaker say 犀利 in a non-standard manner, he is saying it for fun, and the meaning usually mixes the ideas of "锋利" and "厉害". It can mean "抢眼" ("sharp for eyes", distinct in color, style etc.) in some cases.
    Originally a positive word, it is also often used in a sarcastic way. That's why in your sentence, the originally "good sharp" actually means "bad sharp".
    E.g. 犀利哥 (baidu this guy.)
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
  4. baosheng Senior Member

    Canada, English
    Oh, I didn't realize it was originally a Cantonese word (or usage, I suppose I should say!). Very interesting.. it looks like this word has many uses!

    Thanks both of you for your replies :)
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
  5. SuperXW Senior Member

    I've added some information to my last post. You may refer to it. :)
  6. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    English (UK)
    犀利 in this context could possibly means something like "to be an eyesore/ 不顺眼" (?)
  7. newpomme Junior Member

  8. zhg Senior Member

    不顺眼 usually collocates with 看 not 穿, because 眼睛是用来看的不是用来穿的。
    我穿的那么犀利 is just a way of expressing self-mockery and I don't think it necessarily has anything to do with the apperance of 犀利哥 beacause baosheng has already provided us the context, that is the speaker wears nomal clothes. Personally I use 犀利 for a comic effect. For instance :OP的这个问题好犀利。
  9. newpomme Junior Member

    Sorry, but before the naissance of "犀利哥", no Chinese will use the word "犀利" to describe what one wears.
    Usually we use it for describing a knife, a talk, a style of writing, or a character, etc.


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