520 means “I Love You.”
When read out loud in Chinese, the number 520 sounds like the Chinese phrase which translates to “I love you.”
520 is now widely used online and in text messaging (even among non-Chinese speakers) as a declaration of commitment.
There are many other Chinese numerical expressions of love and affection including:
How did 5.20 come to equal a Chinese love word that says I love you?
Talking about this special event, you may wonder why it occurs on this day and not another one in Chinese. The answer is quite simple. It’s all about the sounds. When you write May 20th in numbers, it’s written 5.20.
When you pronounce the numbers 5. 2. 0 in Chinese, 五二零 wǔ èr líng, they sound very close to the words 我爱你 wǒ ài nǐ. See? They don’t sound the same, but they sound quite similar, and that’s enough! The Chinese love plays on homophonic words and numbers with hidden meanings.
520 originally started as a slang word used by the Chinese online as a shortcut to say I love you in Chinese, like ILY in English. It then came to be associated with the date May 20th (5.20), which became a very romantic day!
The Chinese love numbers and their hidden meanings
The Chinese people sure love this romantic day, as they have strong beliefs regarding numbers. You may know how some numbers are considered lucky and some unauspicious in Chinese. Certain number combinations also have secret meanings.
For example, did you hear of the wedding record set in China on 2012.12.12? In China, tons of couples got married on that special day because it was said to be a lucky day for lovers. See, in Chinese, you can pronounce 12 一二 yāo èr. (in Chinese, when talking about a phone number or a street, 1 is pronounced yāo instead of yī). The sound of yāoèr is close to the sound of 要爱 yào ài, which means to want love. So 2012.12.12 stood for “to want love, to want love, to want love.” What a lovely day to get married, huh?!
As for 520, it means 我爱你 wǒ ài nǐ, and is a great Chinese love word to say today (and whenever you can) to your loved one. When you do, make sure you pronounce each word individually, because saying 5 五 wǔ and 20 二十 èr shí doesn’t work the same! Also, be careful not to mix it up with 250 二百五 èrbǎiwǔ, another number with a special meaning, but that means something totally different! 250 èrbǎiwǔ means idiot, stupid.
Trust me; your lover won’t appreciate it if, instead of sending a cute 520 (I love you) text or saying it to them, you write 250. 嘻嘻.
If you like the idea of communicating in numbers, you can also take it up a notch and tell your boo 5201314! Why? 520, you know, is the Chinese love word to use today, and 1314 represents 一生一世 yīshēng yīshì (for a lifetime). So if you say 5201314, you’re saying I love you for a lifetime. So romantic, right? Add a 么么哒 to send extra love and affection!
Happy 520 love day!
Have a nice and lovely day full of 520 and love! Don’t forget to share your love as much as you can: today and every day using 520, the Chinese love word is purrfect for today!