To be an Oil Stick – Fun Chinese Slang

It’s great to come across interesting slang expressions when learning a new language, it really adds colour to language studies. We’ve recently learned 機車(机车)and 背影殺手(背影杀手) , but what could it mean to call someone an “oil stick”?

Oil Stick 油條
Creative Commons licenced photo courtesy of *嘟嘟嘟*

油條(油条)

Pinyin: yóu tiáo
English: a slippery person; to be slippery, elusive

Different from the tasty deep fried treat found at breakfast shops in China or Taiwan, this phrase is used to describe someone who is slippery or elusive, and can talk their way out of a situation.

你說不贏他,他很油條(你说不赢他,他很油条
Nǐ shuō bu yíng tā, tā hěn yóutiáo
It’s no use talking to him (you can’t win), he’s really slippery

You can also use it as a noun and simply say:

他是一個老油條(他是一个老油条
Tā shì yīgè lǎo yóutiáo
He’s really slippery (a real oil stick)

If you know any interesting slang we’d love to hear about it!

  • kt

    Are all your slang from Taiwan? If not, could you clarify which ones are from where (which province/city)?

    Thanks!

    • Hi KT, Not all the slang we cover is from Taiwan, it could be from the web, a movie or online video, or from a book/comic. This particular saying, though, I did heard here in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

      Hope that helps,

      Dave