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Watch: In China, 666 Has Nothing to Do With the Devil

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Slang Dynasty is a series that unpacks the wide world of Chinese regional slang, internet colloquialisms, and assorted street-level jargon.

On the latest episode of RADII’s Slang Dynasty series, photographer Di Wei explains the not-so-satanic origins of popular internet slang “666”.

While this particular string of numbers is often avoided in Western culture due to its association with evil and bad luck, it’s a hugely popular term among Chinese speakers.

The term first originated amongst League of Legends players who wanted to encourage each other in the midst of valiant gaming, but didn’t have time to type full sentences. Rather than using words, they would text strings of 6s to congratulate each other on smooth kills or impressive game-play. This is thanks to the terms phonetic properties: 666, pronounced in Mandarin as “liu liu liu”, sounds a lot like the term for smooth going, and has now taken on the meaning of good luck or a job well done.

Watch the video above to learn more, courtesy of Di Wei.

RADII China
China from all angles.