Weight Loss Pun
22 Sep 2005
Why are the ads placed on the back of the front seats in Shanghai taxis almost always for breast enlargement or weight loss? I am puzzled.
I recently saw one ad that I liked for a weight loss treatment, though. It used a pun:
Obviously the pun doesn’t translate, but the literal meaning is:
> Spa figure-slimming magic turns “desire to slim down” into “enjoyment“!
The wordplay is based on the word 享受 which is a verb meaning “enjoy.” Like many Chinese verbs, it can be used as a noun as well. The word 瘦 means “thin.” Adjectives in Chinese can take on what Westerners consider verb-like qualities (see Wikipedia on Chinese adjectives if you’re a grammar nerd), so combining the verb 想 (“would like to”) with 瘦 (“thin” or possibly “become thinner”), you can get 想瘦, which means “desiring to become thinner” and has the exact same pronunciation as 享受 (“enjoy” or possibly “enjoyment”).
Sorry, puns aren’t nearly as charming when they’re explained.