Bing Means Disease In Chinese

Some of you might have heard of Microsoft’s new search engine which was being developed in stealth mode under the name of Kumo. Now that it’s nearly ready to “fight” Google’s dominance Microsoft announced the official name bing and will launch a $100 million marketing campaign to introduce the brand.

Too bad, bing means disease in Chinese

Does Microsoft not research the meaning before introducing a new brand, or, will Microsoft rebrand the product in China, or, did Microsoft never intent to market it their, or, does Microsoft not care…?

Will “I googled you” translate into “I banged / bonged you” ?

Official Logo
Bing = Disease
Bing = Disease


  1. Bing is one of 400 Chinese syllables. With 3000 characters, one can engage in light reading. But that also means that there is more than one syllable for each character.

    Hence, without further refining it’s tone or character, “bing” also means: soldier, ice, stem, control, remarkable, merge… just to name a few that come to mind. 😉

  2. Thanks for the explanation!
    Don’t you think it’s too risky as a name for Chinese countries because people often make fun of “weird names” or consciously pronounce it differently?

  3. yes you are right. we are already making fun of it, saying “Google has money, baidu has “ah” (“you’a” is a shopping site), microsoft has illness.”

  4. @Nader

    Not particularly.

    As a native speaker, the meaning for “disease” didn’t even show up on the radar. Without tone or context, it is another meaningless syllable. And that’s not counting the fact that there are over 40 other dialects besides Mandarin, many of which are mutually unintelligable and share only the same, common written language.

    Lastly, this kind of humor and vandalization is a particular feature of the American culture (at least according to Culture Code). I have yet to hear a native Chinese (that wasn’t raised in America) express sarcasm in Chinese. I’ve heard snide and contempt, but never friendly sarcasm.

    I think you’re making a mountain out of a molehill.

  5. Iconoclast: Yes, Bing can refer to disease. As Malte pointed out, that particular syllable can represent many things. Disease is definitely one of them.

  6. Bing doesn’t necessarily mean illness in Mandarin Chinese. Chinese is a tonal language so without indication of what tone we’re using, the romanisation of Chinese sound as bing can mean many things.

    Some examples:
    b?ng (1st tone) – e.g., ?, means “ice”
    b?ng (3rd tone) – e.g., ?, means “handle” such as the handle of a pot

    bìng (4th tone) – e.g., ? means “equally” or “truly”
    bíng (2nd tone) – there isn’t a common word for the sound bíng (2nd tone)

    The bìng (4th tone) for illness or disease is ?.

    Anyway, that article seems to be much ado about nothing.

  7. Whoah that is actually my name… I knew I should have bought a long time ago 🙁

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  9. Even if it does mean “Disease”, it could very well be a smart name. Why wouldn’t MS wan’t its new engine to spread across like a disease. It would all the more be a suitable meaning. This is the age of ultra smart advertising and branding…and if we do consider the meaning for Bing as Disease…add this as another great example of smart branding! Way to go MS!

    Grow up kiddos!

    Alternatively, read somewhere that Bing may also mean Combined Power. A retail chain in Australia is named Bing Lee Electronics….which suggests that!

  10. Nyukeit:
    Bing (1st tone) sounds normal in Chinese. It could mean ice, soldier … However, Bing (4th tone, as in is the exact pronunciation of ILLNESS in Chinese. Bing, in Chinese, is a general term, not a name of some disease. If you utter “bing” or “you bing” in Chinese, it means something much stronger than sickening. It is definitely a curse!

  11. @Iconoclast #8

    “Stop spreading ignorance across America. It’s bad enough the Democrats do it on a daily basis.”

    Bush Was Republican :p

  12. “Iconoclast: Yes, Bing can refer to disease. As Malte pointed out, that particular syllable can represent many things. Disease is definitely one of them.”

    Your words fall on the ears of the deaf. Republicans are only concerned with the details that support their hyperbolic statements.

  13. I actually got that same fortune tonight at a Chinese Buffet. I decided to research it and here I am.. Thanks for all the interesting information. 🙂


  14. In Chinese, ‘Bing’ has many meanings, e.g. soldiers (Bing Ling Chen Xia: means soldiers gather to conquer the city), hold (Bing Zhu Ye Tan, means talking by the light of a candle), etc.

    Remember, Bing in Chinese has another meaning for food, i.e. cakes, biscuits or pastry.

  15. Bing is wrong no matter how you spread it…
    Still waiting for Bing to index my 5 year old website after jumping through their hoops, creating a BING account etc;

    Every other search engine has me indexed somewhere without me telling them I exist, but I tell Bing where I am and to Bing I don’t exist?

    Wake up to this garbage. support unworkable technologies at your own risk..

  16. Bing’s branding in China will actually be “bi4 ying4” as in “always answered”…quite appropriate for a search/decision engine, don’t you think?

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