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Do you take 老外 as a pejorative?

I heard many International people in China use 老外 to call themselves (自称老外), and them seems fine with this word. But I also know some people, especially newly Chinese learners(初学者) who think that it is a pejorative and is a bit derogatory.


The word origins around the Opium War, when people call people with blue eyes and fair hair color 老外, for Chinese are extremely exclusive(排外的)at that time.


However, I think nowadays Chinese use it as a nickname for people out of China without any derogatory at all. It is more like a really friendly word.


Do you feel offensive when you are called 老外? Do I need to delete the word from my vocabulary?

(Please correct my mistakes in this essay if you have time. Thank you!)

Mar 14, 2013 8:36 AM
Comments · 9

I feel uncomfortable calling them 'laowai'. Don't know why... 

March 15, 2013

It's just short for "外国人".

March 15, 2013

I don`t really care. I`ve worked with Spanish, American, and Japanese people - none of those could actually spell my name, but does it make the difference? :) It`s all about what people think, not about how it does or can sound. That is why I wonder - what is the reason for you guys to take foreign names instead of using your own?

March 14, 2013

@Ogla Nooooo. We call any foreign friends 老外 even if he/she is 10 years old. We may call him/she 小老外! lol

March 14, 2013

@Harry  死鬼 is also a sweet phrase!

March 14, 2013
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Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Shanghainese), English, French
Learning Language
English, French