Last modified on 19 May 2015, at 01:32



couple; pair; to be opposite; to oppose; to face; for; to; correct (answer); to answer; to reply; to direct (towards sth); right
trad. (對不起) 不起
simp. (对不起) 不起


Expression composed with (to face) and 不起 (unable), thus literally meaning "Cannot face you". 對不起 is contracted from the very formal expression 抱歉, 我對不起你 (sorry, I am unable to face you [because of shame]).[1]




  1. sorry; excuse me
    对不起!真的对不起!对于来说态度非常明确绝不袒护孩子换位思考将心比心非常理解受害者心情一样……一样……(失声痛哭[1] I am sorry. I am really sorry. Personally my attitude (towards this incident) is very clear: I will never give unprincipled protection to my child. On this matter, (by placing myself in the situation of the victim's family) I empathise with the victim's family fully. (It's) all the same.. all the same.. (burst into tears)


Usage notesEdit

  • (Min Nan) 對不起 is rarely used as an interjection meaning I'm sorry in Min Nan. Use 歹勢 or 失禮 instead.



  1. to cause someone embarrassment; to screw someone over; to do something to a person that would demand an apology later on, let down
    对于今天表现,周苏红直言现在心情06一样难受比赛中国遇到困难办法输球对不起观众[2] Regarding today's performance, Zhou Suhong confessed that her feeling now was as bad as (the same time in) 2006. The Chinese team did not have much strategy to deal with problems in the game, and losing the game makes the team feel embarrassed to face the audience.


  1. ^ Etymology of 对不起 on Wordreference