A東西, A貨, A片 Taiwanese Mandarin Slang

Continuing the series on Taiwanese slang that uses letters of the English alphabet in this post we’ll look at the letter ‘A’. The examples below are in common usage in Taiwan, and you’ll hear them all over the place, so have fun and enjoy using them. If you missed the post on the letter ‘K’ then go back and check it out after reading this.

To Steal


to steal something

To ‘A’ something means to steal it, and you use ‘A’ exactly like the Chinese word 偷 (tōu) “steal”. I wasn’t able to find the exact source of this usage, all I can gather is that it comes from Taiwanese – if you know more please post a comment below.

糟糕!有人A了我的機車 (糟糕!有人A了我的机车)
Zāogāo! Yǒurén A’le wǒ de jīchē
Crap! Someone stole my scooter

Here’s an example from a recent Taiwanese newspaper that uses ‘A’ to say that someone stole money:

A百萬 Stole Billions

郭力恆A百億 難追回 (郭力恒A百亿 难追回)
Guōlìhéng A bǎi yì nán zhuī huí
Guo Li Heng stole billions, difficult to recover

Barney also puts it well in this episode of The Simpsons:

Barney A東西

Rúguǒ nǐ gěi wǒmen duō yīdiǎn de xīnshuǐ, wǒmen gēnběn jiù bùyòng A’dōngxī
If you paid us more (wages), we wouldn’t have to steal stuff.

Porno Movie


A porno movie

The ‘A’ here stands for ‘Adult’ video. This is a noun so you can use it just like you would 電影 (电影) diànyǐng ‘movie’:

我們來看A片吧 (我们来看A片吧)
Wǒmen lái kàn A piàn ba
Let’s watch a porno movie

Fake Goods

Fake or defective goods, but still of a high quality

The A here means fake goods that are of a good quality and commonly refers to fake designer hand bags which are very popular here, or fake jewellery.

A貨的Rolex手錶很普遍 (A货的Rolex手表很普遍)
A’huò de Rolex shǒubiǎo hěn pǔbiàn
Fake Rolex watches are really common

因為我沒錢買名牌的包包,所以我就買了A貨的 (因为我没钱买名牌的包包,所以我就买了A货的)
Yīnwèi wǒ méi qián mǎi míngpái de bāobāo, suǒyǐ wǒ jiù mǎile A’huò de
I haven’t got enough money for a designer bag, so I bought a fake one

You can also use B貨 and C貨 to refer to fake goods that are of lower quality.

If you know of any other uses if ‘A’ in Chinese then share them with us by posting below in the comments.

4 responses to “A東西, A貨, A片 Taiwanese Mandarin Slang

    1. Yeah, it’s a good one. I’ve not been able to find the 來源, though. I’m pretty sure it’s Taiwanese, but while most Taiwanese know the usage, they don’t know where it comes from. I shall post back if I find out!

      1. This refers to the dialect- Hokkien or so-called Taiwanese.
        In Mandarin, it’s “虧.” If you ever translated that word into Hokkien, it sounds like “A.”
        -linguistic accommodation

  1. Great article! Inspired me to google what is the right word for “A” in the 1st example and found the following article, check it out!


    Another frequently used “A” in Taiwan is “A菜”, which is actually lettuce: http://taiwanlanguage.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/%EF%BD%81%E8%8F%9C%EF%BC%88e-a%CB%8B-ts%E2%80%98ai%CA%9F%EF%BC%89%E2%94%80%E2%94%80%E8%90%B5%E8%8B%A3/

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