When it comes to “luxury”, the word you may come up with would be elegant, sophistication, and style. But in Mandarin, actually, most of time “luxury” is translated into a negative word which is 「奢侈」, meaning waste, ungrateful and ostentatious, it means a person spending too much money on material life. This may be related with the culture of Chinese society which is called Confucian, requiring people to be humble and grateful. On the other hand, the main religion in Chinese society which is Buddhism also plays an important role on it. In Buddhist’s opinion, wasting will lead to misfortune. Thrifting and cherishing what you have are the way you have to be.
As a result, next time, when Chinese people say that “you are so 奢侈”, don’t be pleasure, it doesn’t mean that “you are elegant”, it may imply that ”you are a material man !” But don’t worries, there are some words having positive meaning can translate from “luxury” as well, they are 「奢華」and「精品」.
Wang Yi Chen