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Bu Hao Yi Si - Daily Mandarin Lesson

Saying "Sorry," "Thank You," or "Embarrassed"


Bu Hao Yi Si

The Mandarin Chinese phrase for “embarrassed” is bù hǎo yì si. It is frequently used in Chinese culture as a way of saying “thank you” and “sorry.”

The Chinese tradition of gift-giving demands that the gift is first refused, and finally accepted with xiè xie, bù hǎo yì si. This is done for any type of gift, including picking up the tab in a restaurant.

Bù hǎo yì si is also said to customers if they have been kept waiting or otherwise inconvenienced, even slightly.

Bù hǎo yì si consists of four Chinese characters: 不好意思. The literal translation is “not good meaning.”

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