In Olympic Games held in Beijing, the word most often heard was “加油”(jiā yóu)。
What does it mean? Literally, “加”means fill, add; “油”means oil or fuel. Does “加油” mean “fill up fuel”, as if filling fuel to a car? No. Actually it means “GO”. It is a way Chinese try to cheer up the athletes, to encourage the team’s players.
So, if you hear “中国加油”, don’t misunderstand it as “China fill up fuel”. It only means “GO, CHINA!” Use the phrase when you want to support your favorite team or athletes!
In addition to sport events, you can also use “加油” in other situations such as to encourage your friend to do well in an exam.