If you’re in China or watching a Chinese series on Netflix, you may have heard the weird word “PK” fitted in between other ‘real’ Chinese words. It’s pronounced as “Peeee-kay” which is not a typical Chinese Pinyin sound. In fact, it sounds far from Chinese, which is true.
The origin of “PK” is a bit debated but it probably comes from computer games — just like YYDS: “Player killing”, but the origin could also have been “Penalty Kick” or “Punch and Kick”. It was popularized over a decade ago in China’s version of Idols when people had to vote for their favorite singer. Both adults and kids use this, and even the computer brand Acer has used it on posters in China.
It’s an extremely informal word but not rude. So feel free to use it online or in informal situations!
Rúguǒ bù xǐhuān nà PK ba
If you don’t like it, then let’s battle it out
yào bùyào gēn wǒ PK?
Do you want to battle with me?
Shéi zuì kuài? PK!
Who is the fastest? Battle!
Don’t use PK in Chinese like this:
- I saw an amazing football match yesterday
Wǒ zuótiān kànle yīgè tèbié hǎokàn de zúqiú PK
This is not correct!
Also, PK in Chinese shouldn’t be used as a substitute for “Versus”. Just use VS:
- 特朗普 VS 拜登
Tèlǎngpǔ VS Bàidēng
Trump VS Biden
For VS, you can also use 对战Duìzhàn, this is more formal:
Zhōngguó duì duìzhàn hélán duì
Chinese team battles Netherlands team