What Does Kung Fu Really Mean in Chinese? (Learn Chinese Now)

By Ben Hedges, NTDTV
April 11, 2016 Updated: April 11, 2016

When you hear the word Kung Fu, you may think of Bruce Lee kicking and punching his way out of a Triad hideout. But the word, which is pronounced “Gōng fu” in Mandarin Chinese, actually means hard work, or can refer to a skill attained through years of training. So we can use the word Gōng fu to refer to skills in many different arts, not just the martial arts. You can also use it to tell someone to put in some effort when doing something.

So if you hear that someone “has gong fu,” don’t automatically assume they can fight, it might turn out they are a master carpenter or flower arranger!


Words Taught in this video:

功夫 Gōng fu: a skill attained through effort, hard work

下一點功夫吧 xià yì diǎn gong fu ba: put in some effort