In the Chinese language, many phrases sometimes can't be interpreted literally because they may have quite opposite meanings. "奇(qí)" originally means “rare,” and "葩(pā)" means flower or flora. When the two characters are put together, we can easily see that the literally meaning of "奇葩(qí pā)" is “precious and beautiful flower.” But in our daily conversation, its usage usually confuses beginners.
xiǎo zhāng zhēn kě wèi shì yī gè “qí pā ”
Xiao Lin：小张 真可谓 是 一个 “奇葩”。
Xiao Zhang is really a “qi pa”.
wéi shí me ne ？
tā jīng cháng bú xǐ liǎn ，méi rén néng rěn shòu tā
He usually doesn’t wash his face, and nobody can stand him.
wǒ hái yǐ wéi nǐ kuā tā zhǎng dé gēn huā sì de
I thought you praised him for being as beautiful as a flower.
Currently, the word “奇葩(qípā)” is very popular amongst younger people. But, as you might guess, it has lost its original meaning and taken on a new one. “奇葩” is often used to describe someone or something that is very odd or unusual.
A person who is a “奇葩(qípā)” always takes strange actions and does things that average people find to be out of the norm and perhaps hard to understand. Plus, the word adds a taste of ridicule and irony and can be used as both a noun and as an adjective.
Take a look at the following example, using the literal meaning of “奇葩”:
Xuělián shì huā zhōng de qípā.
The snow lotus is a rare and exotic flower.