Sometime last week, the Chinese Internet blew up with users posting the non-existent word “duang” online.
It’s not immediately clear what “duang” is meant to describe, but what is clear is that we owe the word’s birth to international kung fu sensation Jackie Chan.
In 2004, Chan filmed an innocuous shampoo commercial where he described his dislike for being asked to endorse products he hasn’t used himself and hair commercials that use special effects to make magnificently luscious hair — to which Chan raised his hands to his head, shook them vigorously, and said “duaaaannngg” to describe such hair.
Eleven years later, a superfly netizen remixed that commercial with music from viral Internet sensation Pang Mai Lang’s “My Sneakers” — with special effect repeats of Chan’s “duang” motion.
The Chinese Internet responded rapidly to create the character for word, a combination of Jackie Chan’s name in Chinese: 成龙 (Cheng Long) with the “Cheng” on top of the “Long”. According to the BBC, it has appeared more than 8 million times on China’s micro-blogging site Weibo.
Here’s the remixed version of the commercial:
And here’s the original shampoo commercial:
But what exactly does “duang” define? Some say it can be used to define adding special effects on things. But it’s also just a catch-all word to define anything you can’t define.
Whatever it means, China’s certainly going duang for “duang”.