Deciphering “skr” Slang

So there’s this word “skr” being used a lot in China these days, mainly by Chinese kids online. As with any popular internet slang, however, it has found its way into real-world marketing materials. Here’s a usage I spotted the other day in Shanghai:


So the part we’re focused on here is:


Which means, essentially:


This could be restated as:


If you’re trying to make sense of “skr,” it’s usually used to replace 是个 or 死个 (normally it should be the intensifying , as in the example above). The word has its roots in Chinese hip hop, and specifically the performer 吴亦凡 [Baidu Baike link], who is pictured several times in the GIFs below (red background).

This is a screenshot from a search of WeChat’s 表情 animated GIFs showing how popular “skr” currently is:


(I don’t expect this popularity will last.)


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Probably originally comes from trap music, where “skirt” (or however you spell it) is used as an onomatopoeia for a when a car spins their tires on a fast get-away.

    Then when a native Chinese speaker tries to say it, or hears a trap “artist” say it, it sounds to them like 是个 or 死个.

  2. Yep, that is the etymology I’ve seen before. “SKRT” is used in English rap music. I didn’t want to get too much into the etymology with this post, but well done on sussing it out!

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