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【Catch Phrase】老铁(lǎotiě)

Meaning:

” means “old,” and “” means “iron.” Originating from a northeastern Chinese dialect, this term can be used as an adjective referring to “unbreakable” friendships, alluding to the metal that is strong and tough. It is also used as a noun meaning “bosom buddies.” When used on a man and a woman, sometimes the term can imply that they have a secret relationship. However, after the term was picked up by netizens across China, it’s most often used simply to mean “very close friends.”

Example:

A: 有件快递我帮你拿上来了,好像是什么吃的。

Yǒu jiàn kuàidì wǒ bāng nǐ ná shànglái le, hǎoxiàng shì shénme chī de

I picked up your parcel from the delivery guy downstairs. It looks like some food.

B: 是一箱蓝莓,我小学同学从家乡寄来的。

Shì yīxiāng lánméi, wǒ xiǎoxué tóngxué cóng jiāxiāng jì lái de

That’s a box of blueberries my primary school classmate sent me from my hometown.

A: 小学同学还有联系,真不容易。

Xiǎoxué tóngxué hái yǒu liánxì, zhēn bù róngyì

It’s not easy that you guys have kept in touch since primary school.

B: 他是我一辈子的老铁。

Tā shì wǒ yībèizi de lǎotiě

He’s my best friend for life.

(First editor: Debra Li)