Mandarin Chinese profanity most commonly involves sexual references and scorn of the object's ancestors, especially their mother. Other Mandarin insults accuse people of not being human. Compared to English, scatological and blasphemous references are less often used.
In this article, unless otherwise noted, the traditional character will follow the simplified variant if it is different.
- 1 Sex
- 2 Insults
- 2.1 Mother
- 2.2 Other relatives
- 2.3 Turtles and eggs
- 2.4 Illegitimacy
- 2.5 Stupid
- 2.6 Suck up
- 2.7 Madness
- 2.8 Buttocks
- 2.9 Age
- 2.10 Positive connotations
- 2.11 Mixed-up
- 2.12 Eggs
- 2.13 Melons
- 2.14 Sticks
- 2.15 Ghosts and spirits
- 2.16 Useless
- 2.17 Boasting
- 2.18 Cruelty
- 2.19 Face
- 2.20 Girlish
- 2.21 Boyish
- 2.22 Inhuman
- 2.23 Death
- 2.24 Excrement
- 2.25 Animals
- 2.26 Tigress
- 2.27 Dinosaur
- 2.28 Contempt
- 2.29 Divinity
- 2.30 Miscellaneous
- 2.31 Action Specific
- 2.32 Region specific
- 3 Racism
- 4 Homosexuality
- 5 See also
Sex[edit | edit source]
Penis[edit | edit source]
As in English, many Mandarin Chinese slang terms involve the genitalia or other sexual terms. Slang words for the penis refer to it literally, and are not necessarily negative words:
- jībā (simplified Chinese: 鸡巴; traditional Chinese: 雞巴/鷄巴, IM abbreviation: J8/G8) = cock (used as early as the Yuan Dynasty)
- jījī (simplified Chinese: 鸡鸡; traditional Chinese: 雞雞/鷄鷄, IM: JJ/GG) = roughly equivalent of "thingy" as it is the childish version of the above.
- jūju (具具), baby talk, "tool".
- xiǎo dìdì (Template:LangTemplate:Lang) = roughly equivalent of "wee-wee" (lit. "little younger brother") IM: DD
- kuàxià wù (Template:Lang) = roughly equivalent of "the package" (lit. "thing under crotch")
- yīnjīng (Template:Zh)= penis (scientific)
- diǎo (Template:Lang or substituted by Template:Lang) = dick (the same character also means to have sexual intercourse in Cantonese)
- luǎn (Template:Lang) same as "屌", used in some southern areas.
- lǎo èr (老二) = penis (lit. "second in the family", "little brother")
- nà huà er (Template:Zh) = penis, usually seen in novels/fictions. (lit. "That thing", "that matter")
- xiǎo niǎo (小鳥) = used by children in Taiwan to mean penis (lit. "little bird")
- guītóu (Template:Zh) = turtle's head (glans/penis)
Note: One should note that in Middle Chinese the words for "dick" (屌 diǎo) and "bird" (鳥 niǎo) were homophones if not the same word and both began with a voiceless unaspirated alveolar stop (d in pinyin). Based on regular sound change rules, we would expect the word for bird in Mandarin to be pronounced diǎo, but Mandarin dialects' pronunciation of the word for bird evolved to an alveolar nasal initial, likely as a means of taboo avoidance, giving contemporary niǎo while most dialects in the south retain the Middle Chinese alveolar stop initial and the homophony or near homophony of these words.
Vagina[edit | edit source]
There appear to be more words for vagina than for penis. The former are more commonly used as insults and are also more aggressive and have negative connotations:
- bī (Template:Lang, IM: B) = cunt
- jībái (Template:Zh) = pussy (lit. "pure chicken"; not generally used as an insult)
- xiǎomèimei (Template:Zh) = pussy (lit. "little younger sister", see. xiaodidi above)
- èrbī (Template:Lang, IM: 2B) = fucking idiot (lit. "double vagina"; general insult)
- shǎbī (Template:Lang) = stupid person (lit. "stupid cunt") IM: SB
- sāobī (Template:Zh) = bitch (lit. "lewd cunt")
- chòubī (Template:Lang) = stinking cunt
- lànbī (Template:Zh) = rotten cunt
- yīndào (Template:Zh) = vagina (scientific)
- yīnhù (Template:Zh) = vulva (scientific)
- táohuāyuán (Template:Lang) = vagina (lit. "garden of peach blossoms")
- zhuāngbī (Template:Zh) = poser (lit. "pretending to be the cunt")
- dà yí mā (大姨妈) = Literally "The Eldest Aunt", a popular mainland contemporary term which refers to menstruation. Comparable to 'A visit from Aunt Flo'
Brothel frequenter[edit | edit source]
- yín chóng (Template:Zh) literally, lewd worms. Men who frequently enjoy having sex with women.
- lǎo piáo (Template:Zh) literally, old frequenter of prostitutes. There is actually a verb for frequenting prostitutes in Chinese.
Prostitution[edit | edit source]
In addition to the above expressions used as insults directed against women, other insults involve insinuating that they are prostitutes:
- jì nǚ (Template:Lang) = (female) prostitute
- chòu biǎozi (Template:Lang) = stinking whore
- mài dòufu (Template:Zh; literally "selling tofu") is a euphemism for prostitution.
- xiǎojiě (Template:Lang) = means "Miss" in most contexts but, now in Northern China, also connotes "prostitute" to many young women, as it suggests expressions like zuò xiǎojiě (Template:Lang) or sānpéi xiǎojiě (Template:Lang), which refers to bargirls who may also be prostitutes. This connotation does not apply outside of the People's Republic of China.
Mistress[edit | edit source]
- xiǎo lǎopó (Template:Lang) = mistress (lit. "little wife" or "little old women"). Note: when combined with other words, the character 老 (lǎo, literally "old") does not always refer to age; for example, it is used in the terms 老公 (husband), 老婆 (wife), 老鼠 (mouse); or other, more rare cases such as 老虎 (tiger), 老鹰 (eagle), 老外 (foreigner); or important persons such as 老板 (boss) or 老师 (master or teacher).
- xiǎo tàitai (小太太), lit., "little wife" (but definitely not to be mistaken for "the little woman", which can be a way of referring to a wife in English).
- èr nǎi (二奶), lit., "the second mistress" (means a concubine, a kept woman).
- xiǎo sān (小三), lit., "little three" (means a mistress, since she is supposed to be the third person).
Breasts[edit | edit source]
- mīmī (Template:Lang; literally cat's purring "meow meow") is a euphemism for breast.
- da doufu (Template:Lang; literally "big tofu") slang for large breasts, more prevalent in Guangdong
- mántóu (Template:Zh; literally "steamed bun") also refers to a woman's breasts; as mantou is typical of northern Chinese cuisine this term is used primarily in northern China.
- bō (Template:Lang, literally "wave" or "undulating", but sometimes suggested to be derived from "ball" which has a similar pronunciation) = boobs. The typical instance is bōbà (Template:Zh), which refers to a woman with very large breasts.
- fúshòu (福寿; literally "happy long life")
- nǎinǎi (奶奶) = boobies
- zār(咋) (Beijing slang)
- gege (Tianjin slang)
- bàorǔ (Template:Zh) = big tits, likely reborrowing from Japanese.
- fēijīchǎng (Template:Zh; literally "airport") = flat breasts
- háng kōng mǔ jiàn (Template:Zh) - literally "aircraft carrier", referring to a flat chest. Compare with 战舰 (zhàn jiàn), meaning battleship, which refers to larger-sized "chimneys" of the chest.
Anus[edit | edit source]
- júhuā (菊花; literally "chrysanthemums") - anus. This term comes from the observation that the shape of an anal opening resembles a chrysanthemum flower, where the skin folds are comparable to the flower's small, thin petals. Although nowadays usage is mostly common amongst Chinese netizens, the euphemism has existed in Chinese literature from much earlier.
- pìyǎn 屁眼 - anal orifice, asshole
- gāngmén 肛门 - anus (medical term), literally "door of anus".
- hòu tíng后庭 - anus. literally, back yard.
Masturbation[edit | edit source]
- dă shǒuqiāng (Template:Zh) = male masturbation (lit. "firing a handgun")
- dǎ fēijī (Template:Zh) = male masturbation (lit. "hitting an airplane"). A term which originated from the Cantonese language.
- lǚguǎn/lǚguǎnr (Template:Lang) = male masturbation (lit. "stroke the pipe")
- wán lǎo èr (玩老二) = male masturbation (lit., "play with little brother")
- wǔdǎyī (Template:Lang) = male masturbation (lit. "five beating one")
- jiàn Wǔ gūniáng (Template:Zh) = male masturbation (lit. "to see [visit] Miss Five", to see [use] five prostitutes [fingers])
- lūgǔan (擼管 ) = male masturbation
- zìkuài (Template:Lang) = masturbation (lit. private pleasure)
Foreplay[edit | edit source]
- kǒu jiāo (口交) = oral sex, blowjob
- chuī gōng (吹功) = blowjob (lit. "blow service")
- chuī xiāo (吹箫) = blowjob (play flute)
Sexual intercourse[edit | edit source]
- cào (肏/操) = to fuck (the first shown Chinese character is made up of components meaning "to enter" and "the flesh"; the second is a homophone, with the standard meaning being "to do exercise")
- gàn (幹/干) = to do = to fuck (alternatively 搞 gǎo, to do) or from Hokkien 姦, also means fuck.
- rì (入) (lit. "to enter)" = to fuck. The meaning is obvious and in normal contexts 入 is pronounced rù. But when it is used as a coarse expression, the "u" is elided. See 國語辤典, vol. 3, p. 3257. It is also commonly seen on internet websites and forums as rì 日, due to similar pronunciation and ease of input.
- chǎofàn (Template:Zh) = to have sex (lit. "stir-fry rice")
- bàojúhuā (爆菊花) = anal sex. (lit. burst the chrysanthemum (anus)), i.e., insert the penis into the anus
- dǎpào (打炮) = to ejaculate (lit. to let off fireworks)
- gāocháo (高潮) = Sexual orgasm (lit. high tide, also used to described a climax point in other domains)
- chā （插）= to have sex (lit. insert)
Insults[edit | edit source]
As in English, a vulgar word for the sexual act is used in insults and expletives:
- cào (Template:Lang) = fuck (the variant character Template:Lang was in use as early as the Ming dynasty in the novel Jin Ping Mei). 操 is often used as a substitute for 肏 in print or on the computer, because 肏 was until recently often not available for typesetting or input.
- cào nǐ zǔzōng shíbā dài (Template:Lang) = fuck your ancestors to the eighteenth generation, the cào 肏(fuck) has been substituted for 抄, which meant "confiscate all the property of someone and of his entire extended family." In China, ancestor worship is an important aspect of society, as a result of Confucianism, where filial piety and respect for one's ancestors is considered crucial; insulting one's ancestors is a sensitive issue and is generally confronting.
Mother[edit | edit source]
Insulting someone's mother is also common:
- tā māde (Template:Zh, IM: TMD) = [fuck] his mother's, or frequently used as "Shit!" (lit. "his mother's"; in the 1920s the famous writer Lu Xun joked that this should be China's national curse word)
- tā mā bāzi (Template:Zh his mother's clitoris. Lu Xun differentiates this expression from the previous one. This one can be said in admiration, whereas "tā māde" is just abusive. See his essay, "On 'His mother's'" (論他媽的).
- tā māde niǎo (Template:Zh) = goddamn it (lit. "his mother's dick"; Template:Lang literally is "bird", but used here as a euphemism for diǎo; Template:Lang; "penis")
- qù nǐ nǎinaide (Template:Zh) = your mom (lit. "go to your grandma")
- qù nǐ māde (Template:Zh) = your mom (lit. "go to your mom")
- qù nǐde (Template:Zh) = fuck off/shut the fuck up (milder)
- nǐ māde bī (Template:Zh) = your mother's cunt
- cào nǐ mā (Template:Zh) / cào nǐ niáng (Template:Lang) = fuck your mom
- cào nǐ māde bī (Template:Zh) = fuck your mother's cunt
- gàn nǐ mā (Template:Zh) / gàn nǐ lǎo mǔ (Template:Zh) = fuck your mom (gàn is similar to the English euphemism do)
- gàn nǐ niáng (Template:Zh) = fuck your mother (Taiwanese Mandarin influenced by the regional vernacular Taiwanese Minnan 姦汝娘 (kàn-lín-niâ); also "幹您娘")
Other relatives[edit | edit source]
- nǐ èr dàyé de (Template:Zh) = damn on your second uncle. This is a part of local Beijing slang.
- lǎolao (Template:Zh) = grandmother-from-mother-side. In Beijing dialect, this word is used for "Never!".
- ta nai nai de (Template:Zh) = His grandmother!
Turtles and eggs[edit | edit source]
The 中文大辭典 Zhōng wén dà cí diǎn (Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Chinese Language)) (something a little like the OED), discusses 王八 (wáng bā) in vol. 6 p. 281. "Wáng bā" is the term that is usually written casually for the slur that means something like "son of a bitch."
A "wángbādàn 忘/王八蛋" is the offspring of a woman lacking virtue. Another meaning of 王八 is 鼈 biē, fresh-water turtle. Turtle heads reemerging from hiding in the turtle's shell look like the glans emerging from the foreskin, and turtles lay eggs. So a "wang ba" is a woman who has lost her virtue, and a "wang ba dan" is the progeny of such a woman, a turtle product, but, figuratively, also a penis product.
"Wáng bā 王八" originally got switched over from another "忘八 wàng bā" (one that referred to any very unvirtuous individual) because of a nasty piece of work with the family name Wáng 王 who picked up the nickname 賊王八 zéi Wáng bā ("the thieving Wang Eight") but for being a dastard, not for being a bastard. The dictionary doesn't say, but he may have been the eighth Wang among his siblings. Anyway, he became "crook Wang eight" and the term stuck and spread just as "Maverick" did in English. There is a pun here because of the earlier expression 忘八 wáng bā used to describe (1) any person who forgets/disregards the eight virtues, (2) an un-virtuous woman, i.e., one who sleeps around. The first meaning applied to the dastardly Wang, but the family name got "stuck" to the second, sexual, term.Template:Citation needed
Illegitimacy[edit | edit source]
Many insults imply that the interlocutor's mother or even grandmother was promiscuous. The turtle is emblematic of the penis and also of promiscuous intercourse, because turtles were once thought to conceive by thought alone, making paternity impossible to prove. Eggs are the progeny of turtles and other lower animals, so the word dàn (蛋) is a metonym for offspring.
- wángbā (Template:Lang) / wàngbā (Template:Lang) = cuckold; this was an insult as early as the Song Dynasty.
- wángbādàn (Template:Lang, informal simplified: Template:Lang) / wàngbāgāozi (Template:Lang) = bastard (lit. "turtle egg" and "turtle kid.")
- guī sūnzi (Template:Zh) / guī érzi (Template:Zh) = bastard (lit. "turtle grandson" and "turtle son")
- dài lǜmàozi (Template:Zh) = to be a cuckold (lit. "wear a green hat," supposedly because male brothel workers in the Tang Dynasty had to wear green hats)
- zázhǒng (Template:Zh) = mixed seed, half-caste, half breed, hybrid, illegitimate child. There are proper terms for children of mixed ethnicity, but this is not one of them.
- hún dàn (Template:Lang) = individual who has at least two biological fathers and one biological mother, the idea being that the mother mated with two or more males in quick succession and a mosaic embryo was formed.
- hún zhang wángbā dàn (Template:Zh) = similar to turtle egg, see above.
Stupid[edit | edit source]
- bái mù (Template:Zh) stupid. Literally, white-eyed, blind. Here it means not understanding the situation and reacting in a wrong way as a result.
- bái chī (Template:Zh) idiot. Someone with mental retardation.
- nǎo cán (Template:Zh) 'Deficient Brain' - Disabled brain, brain has a problem.
- yíwàng de bā (Template:Zh) 'Forgetter of the Eight'. lit. One who has forgotten Mencius' Eight Rules of Civilization (slang)
- da nao jin shui (Template:Zh) water leaked in the brain.
- ben dan (Template:Zh) stupid egg.
Suck up[edit | edit source]
- chong yang mei wai (Template:Zh) Chinese who ass kiss foreigners.
- fan jian (Template:Zh) asking to be disrespected.
- zhao bian (Template:Zh) asking to be kicked.
- di san xia si (Template:Zh) low.
- gou tui zi (Template:Zh) someone's dog.
Madness[edit | edit source]
- shén jīng bìng (Template:Zh) Someone who is insane. Literally "disease of the nervous system", or having problems with one's nervous system. In China, imbalance of the nervous system is commonly associated with mental illness (for instance, 神经衰弱 Shenjing shuairuo, literally "weakness of the nervous system", is a more socially accepted medical diagnosis for someone who, in the West, would have normally been diagnosed with schizophrenia, due to the social stigma against mental illness in China). Now the word is used quite generally when insulting someone whose actions seem odd, rude, offensive, or inappropriate.
- fa biao (Template:Zh) going crazy.
- bian tai (Template:Zh) Perverted, deviant, abnormal.
Buttocks[edit | edit source]
While there are vulgar expressions in English referring to the buttocks or rectum, there are no real equivalents in Mandarin. Pìgu yǎn (Template:Lang) or pìyǎnr (屁眼兒/屁眼儿), one expression for anus, is not vulgar, but it occurs in various curses involving an imperforate anus
- sǐ pì yǎn (Template:Zh) damned asshole.
- jiào nǐ shēng háizi méi pìgu yǎn (Template:Zh) – literally, "May your child be born with an imperforate anus"; sometimes méi pìgu yǎn (Template:Zh) is used as an epithet similar to "damned"
- jiào nǐ shēng háizi zhǎng zhì chuāng (叫你生孩子长痔疮) – "May your child be born with hemorrhoids"
- wǒ kào (Template:Lang or Template:Lang) – "Well fuck me!", "Fuck!", "Fuckin' awesome!" or "Holy shit!" (Originally from Taiwan, this expression has spread to the mainland, where it is generally not considered to be vulgar. 尻 originally meant "butt.")
Age[edit | edit source]
- lǎo bù sǐde 老不死的—death grip on life—is used as an angry comment directed against old people who refuse to die and so clog up the ladder to promotion in some organization. The expression comes from the Analects of Confucius where the Master complains against those who engage in heterodox practices aimed at assuring them extreme longevity. In the original these individuals are described as "lǎo ér bù sǐ" (老而不死), i.e., it is said that they "are old and yet they (will not=) refuse to die."
- lǎo zéi 老賊= lǎo bù sǐde
- lǎo tóuzi (Template:Zh),literally "old head," it refers in a somewhat slighting way to old men. Its usage is rather like such expressions as "old gaffer," "old geezer," etc. in English.
- xiǎo guǐ 小鬼," little devils," is used familiarly and (usually) affectionately.
- rǔ xiù wèi gān (Template:Zh) Literally "(the) smell (of) milk is not dry (=gone) yet," wet behind the ears.
- lao wan gu 老顽固, an old arrogant man.
Promiscuity[edit | edit source]
As in the West, highly sexual women have been stigmatized. Terms for males who sleep around are rare.
- chāng fù (Template:Lang) = bitch/whore
- húli jīng (Template:Lang) = bitch (overly seductive woman; lit. "fox spirit")
- sānbā (Template:Lang) = airhead, braggart, slut (lit. "three eight"). Used to insult women. One derivation claims that at one point in the Qing Dynasty, foreigners were only permitted to circulate on the eighth, eighteenth, and twenty-eighth of each month, and the Chinese deprecated these aliens by calling them Template:Lang, but others claim Template:Lang refers to March 8: International Women's Day.
- gōng gòng qì chē (Template:Zh) = slut (lit. "public bus") used for a woman who sleeps around, as in "everyone has had a ride"
- biǎozi (Template:Lang) = whore, slut
- jiàn nǚ rén (Template:Lang) = bitch, cheap woman
- huā huā gōngzi (Template:Lang) = playboy, notorious cheater (lit. "Flower-Flower Prince")
Positive connotations[edit | edit source]
Occasionally, slang words with a negative connotation are turned around and used positively:
- wǒ cào (Template:Lang) = holy fuck (lit. "I fuck") Alternatively, "我靠" (wǒ kào, "I lean on". IM:KAO) or "哇靠" (wa kào) is used when the subject intends on being less obscene, such as when speaking in public.
- niúbī (Template:Lang/Template:Lang) = fucking awesome (literally "cow cunt"; possibly influenced by the expression chuī niú pí; Template:Lang牛Template:Lang, which means "to brag"). This phrase also has many alternative forms, including NB, 牛B, 牛比, 牛鼻 ("cow's nose"), as well as alternative pronunciations such as 牛叉/牛X niúchā. It can also just be shortened to 牛.
- diǎo (Template:Lang) / niǎo (Template:Zh) = cock; this was an insult as long ago as the Jin Dynasty. Now it sometimes also means "fucking cool" or "fucking outrageous", thanks in large part to the pop star Jay Chou. Because of the substitution of "niǎo" which means bird, sometimes English-speaking Chinese in Malaysia sometimes use "birdie" as a euphemism for "penis" for small children. "鸟人" (bird man) sometimes has a derogative meaning as a "wretch", but also often used between close friends as affectionate appellation like "fellow".
Mixed-up[edit | edit source]
- hùnzhàng (Template:Zh) = bullshit
- hùndàn (Template:Lang / Template:Zh) = prick
- hūndàn (Template:Lang) = prick
- hùnqiú (Template:Lang) = prick
Eggs[edit | edit source]
- bèndàn (Template:Lang) = dummy, fool (lit. "dumb egg")
- chǔn dàn(Template:Lang)= dummy, fool
- dǎodàn (Template:Lang / Template:Zh) = "to cause trouble"
- gǔndàn (Template:Zh) = get out of sight!
- huàidàn (Template:Zh) = a wicked person. Literally a bad egg.
- hútú dàn (Template:Lang) = confused/clueless person (a sucker)
- qíongguāng dàn (Template:Zh) = a poor/penniless person
Melons[edit | edit source]
The word guā (Template:Lang; melon or gourd) is also used in insults:
- shǎguā (Template:Lang; also shǎzi, Template:Lang) = dummy, fool (in use as early as the Yuan Dynasty)
- dāiguā (Template:Lang; also dāizi, Template:Lang) = dummy, fool
In addition to the senses listed above, the "melon" is a metonym for the womb, and a "broken melon" refers to a female's lost virginity.
Sticks[edit | edit source]
The noun Template:Lang gùn, stick/staff is often used to refer to someone who is morally corrupted.
- 惡棍 / 恶棍 = bad guy, bully, villain (lit. "evil stick")
- 神棍 = fake fortune teller (lit. "god stick")
- 賭棍 / 赌棍 = rogue gambler (lit. "gamble stick")
Ghosts and spirits[edit | edit source]
The noun for "ghost" 鬼 is often used to mock someone with some bad habit. The mocking tone may not be very serious though.
- 酒鬼 = drinker
- 醉鬼 = drunker
- 小气鬼 = meanie
- 胆小鬼 = coward
精 "nonhuman spirit in a human's form" is usually for insulting some cunning people.
- 狐狸精 "fox spirit" = overly seductive woman
- 马屁精 "horse-fart spirit" = flatterer
- 老妖婆 Evil old witch.
Useless[edit | edit source]
- Fèi (Template:Zh, Template:Zh; "to discard as useless") appears in a number of insults:
- liúmáng (Template:Zh) = scoundrel or pervert (the word originally meant vagrant); often used by women to insult men who make aggressive advances
- nāozhǒng (Template:Zh) = coward, useless, or weak person.
- rén zhā (Template:Zh) = Scum. Someone who is useless and unwanted as garbage.
- er bai wu (Template:Zh) = haven't got the full deck.
Boasting[edit | edit source]
- ban ping zi cu (Template:Zh): literally, a half-empty bottle of vinegar, used to address a person with limited professional expertise.
- chui niu bi (Template:Zh) = lit. inflating (blowing air into) a cow's vagina. Used to address bragging activities.
- chi bao le cheng de (Template:Zh): lit. eats too much. Used to refer weird, nonsense or illogical deeds.
Cruelty[edit | edit source]
- sha ren bu zha yan (Template:Zh) stone cold killer.
- xiao ba wang zhou tong (Template:Zh) a wicked man.
- huo yan xie shen (Template:Zh) evil spirit.
- da mo tou (Template:Zh) a very wicked and powerful man.
Face[edit | edit source]
Because shame or "face" is important in Chinese culture, insulting someone as "shameless" is much stronger than in English:
- bú yàoliǎn (Template:Zh) = shameless, lit. "doesn't want face," i.e., "discards his face, does not seek to maintain a good status in society".
Girlish[edit | edit source]
- niángniangqiāng (Template:Zh) is a pejorative used to describe Chinese males who are extremely effeminate in their speaking style. It is related to the term sājiào (Template:Lang, to whine), but is predominantly said of males who exhibit a rather "girlish" air of indecisiveness and immaturity. Adherents of both tend to lengthen sentence-final particles while maintaining a higher-pitched intonation all throughout. The usage of the tilde as an Internet meme reflects the popularization of this style of speaking, which is often perceived by Westerners as being cute or seductive.
- niángpào (Template:Lang) = same as Template:Lang (above)
- tàijiàn (Template:Lang) or gōnggong (Template:Lang) - Eunuch. From the stereotypes of Imperial eunuchs seen in TV shows in China (with a high, feminine voice). Men with higher voices are called eunuchs.
- nǚ qì (Template:Zh), female lifebreath. A man having the psychological attributes of a woman is said to exhibit "nǚ qì," i.e., is said to be effeminate.
- pì jīng (Template:Zh) roughly meaning ass fairy
- nǎi yóu (Template:Zh) lit. meaning cream or butter
Boyish[edit | edit source]
- nán rén pó (Template:Zh) a female who behaves like a male. Tomboy
- mu ye cha (Template:Zh) a female toad, an ugly and rough female.
Inhuman[edit | edit source]
Other insults accuse people of lacking qualities expected of a human being:
- chùsheng (Template:Lang) = animal (these characters are also used for Japanese "chikushō", which may mean "beast," but is also used as an expletive, like "damn!")
- nǐ bú shì rén (Template:Lang) = you're not human (lit.: "you are not a person")
- nǐ shì shénme dōngxi (Template:Zh) = you're less than human, literally: What kind of object are you? (compares the level of a person to that of an object)
- nǐ búshì dōngxi (Template:Zh) = you're less than human (implies less worth than an object)
- bùyàoliǎn de dōngxi (Template:Zh) = you're shameless and less than human (lit.: "you are a thing that has no shame")
- jiànhuò (Template:Zh) = lit. "cheap goods" ("[you] despicable creature!")
- sāohuò (Template:Zh) = lit. "lewd goods" ("[you] lewd creature!")
Death[edit | edit source]
Sǐ (Template:Lang; "dead", "cadaverous," or, less precisely, "damn(ed)") is used in a number of insults:
- sǐ guǐ (Template:Lang) lit., "dead imp," "dead demon,"
- sǐ sān bā (Template:Lang) / chòu sān bā (Template:Lang), lit., stinking (derogatory term for woman) bitch
- sǐ bù yào liǎn (Template:Zh) = shameless (lit.: "[you] shameless corpse")
- qù sǐ (Template:Lang) = "Go die!" or "Go to hell!"
- sǐ yā tóu 死丫頭, lit., dead serving wench. -- This term is no longer in common use. It appears in early novels as a deprecating term for young female bondservants. The "ya" element refers to a hair style appropriate to youths of this sort.
- gāi sǐ (Template:Zh) damned, damn it! (lit. should die)
- zhǎo sǐ (Template:Zh): literally 'looking for death'
- qù xià dì yù (去下地狱) - descend into hell
Excrement[edit | edit source]
The words "Template:Lang" (shǐ) (= turd, dung), "Template:Lang" (fèn) (= manure, excrement) and "Template:Lang (= stool)" (dà biàn), all meaning feces but vary from blunt four letter to family normal, can all be used in compound words and sentences in a profane manner. Originally the various Mandarin Chinese words for "excrement" were less commonly used as expletives, but that is changing. Perhaps because farting results in something that is useless even for fertilizer: "fàng pì" (Template:Lang; lit. "to fart") is an expletive in Mandarin. The word "pì" (Template:Lang; lit. "fart") is commonly used as an expletive in Mandarin.
- qù chī dà biàn (Template:Lang) [Go] Eat shit! (By itself, Template:Lang is neither an expletive nor does it have the same effect as 'shit' in English.)
- chī shǐ (Template:Lang) = Eat shit!
- shǐ dàn (Template:Lang) Lit., shit egg, a turd.
- fàng pì (Template:Lang) = bullshit, nonsense, lie (literally "to fart"; used as an expletive as early as the Yuan dynasty. Taiwanese just simply say "pi" or "ge pi" when referring to "bullshit" (as in lies), as "fang pi" is taken literally "to fart".)
- pìhuà (Template:Zh) = bullshit, nonsense
- nǐ zài jiǎng shén me pì huà (Template:Zh) = What shit/the fuck are you saying
- pì shì (Template:Lang) = a mere nothing; also guānwǒpìshì (Template:Lang)=I don't care a damn!
- mǐ tián gòng (Template:Lang) - A play on the writing of "Template:Lang" (the traditional form of "Template:Lang" (fen), also "kuso" in Japanese), referring to excrement.
- qí yán fèn tǔ yě (Template:Zh) - an expression in Classical Chinese that means, "His words are [nothing but] excrement." (See Giles, A Chinese-English Dictionary.)
- shǐ bǎ ba (Template:Lang or Template:Lang) - Children's slang term for faeces, similar to English "poo" or "brownie". A variant of this term is 㞎㞎 (bǎ ba), while Template:Lang (biàn bian) is also used as a children's term, albeit less frequently used.
Animals[edit | edit source]
Dogs[edit | edit source]
The fact that many insults are prefaced with the Mandarin Chinese word for dog attest to the animal's low status:
- gǒuzǎizi (Template:Lang/Template:Lang) = son of dog (English equivalent: "son of a bitch")
- gǒu pì (Template:Lang) = bullshit, nonsense (lit. "dog fart"); in use as early as 1750 in the Qing Dynasty novel Ru Lin Wai Shi (The Scholars)
- nǐ ge gǒu pì (Template:Zh) = what you said is bullshit. also "nǐ ge pì"(Template:Zh)or simply "pì"(Template:Zh).
- gǒu pì bù tōng (Template:Lang) dog fart + does not (come out at the end of the tube =) communicate= incoherent, nonsensical
- fàng nǐ mā de gǒu pì (Template:Zh) = what you said is fucking bullshit (lit. "release your mother's dog fart")
- fàng nǐ mā de gǒu chòu pì (Template:Zh) = what you said is fucking bullshit (lit. "release your mother's dog stinky fart")
- gǒu niáng yǎng de (Template:Zh) = son of a bitch (lit. "raised by a dog mother")
- gǒurìde (Template:Lang) = son of a bitch (from Liu Heng's story "Dogshit Food", lit. "dog fuck" 日 is here written for 入, which when pronounced rì means "fuck".)
- gǒushǐ duī (Template:Lang) = a person who behaves badly (lit. "a pile of dog shit"); gǒushǐ (Template:Lang), or "dog shit," was used to describe people of low moral character as early as the Song dynasty. Due to Western influence, as well as the similar sound, this has become a synonym for bullshit in some circles.
- gǒuzázhǒng (Template:Zh) = literally "mongrel dog," a variation on zázhǒng (Template:Zh), above.
- zǒugǒu (Template:Lang) = lapdog, often translated into English as "running dog", it means an unprincipled person who helps or flatters other, more powerful and often evil people; in use in this sense since the Qing Dynasty. Often used in the 20th century by communists to refer to client states of the United States and other capitalist powers.
- gǒutuǐzi (Template:Lang) / gǒutuǐ (Template:Lang) = variant of zǒugǒu (Template:Lang)
Rabbits[edit | edit source]
In at least one case, rabbit is part of an insult:
- xiǎotùzǎizi (Template:Lang) = son of a rabbit (quite ironically, this insult is often used by parents to insult their children)
Horse[edit | edit source]
- mǎzi (Template:Zh) = a derogatory word for girlfriend. (Possibly influenced by U.S. slang, "filly," used for any girl.)
Bird[edit | edit source]
The Chinese word for bird "niǎo"(Template:Lang) was pronounced as "diǎo" in ancient times, which rhymes with (Template:Lang) meaning penis or sexual organ. It also sounds the same as "penis" in several Chinese dialects. Thus, bird is often associated with 'fuck', 'penis' or 'nonsense'：
- wǒ niǎo nǐ (Template:Zh) = I fuck you (Beijing dialect)
- wǒ niǎo tā de (Template:Zh) = damn fuck; fuck him
- niǎo huà (Template:Zh) = bullshit, fucking words ; nǐ zài jiǎng shénme niǎo huà (Template:Zh) = What fucking words are you talking about?
- niǎo rén (Template:Zh) = bastard, asshole. This word commonly appears in Water Margin, a Ming dynasty Classical Chinese Novel.
- niǎo shì (Template:Zh) = mere nothing; also guān wǒ niǎo shì (Template:Zh) = I don't care a damn
Tigress[edit | edit source]
A tigress or 母老虎 refers to a fierce woman, usually someone's strict wife.
Dinosaur[edit | edit source]
A dinosaur or 恐龙 has been used as Internet slang to describe an ugly girl.
Contempt[edit | edit source]
Certain words are used for expressing contempt or strong disapproval:
- wǒpēi (Template:Lang) = I boo in disapproval. Pēi 呸 is a spoken onomatopoeia that represents the action of spitting.
Divinity[edit | edit source]
One of the few insults connected to the supernatural is not used to damn but to compare the insulted person to a disliked god:
- wēnshén (Template:Lang) = troublemaker (literally "plague god")
Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]
Some expressions are harder to explain:
- èrbǎiwǔ (Template:Lang) = stupid person/idiot (see 250)
- shūdāizi, (Template:Zh) roughly equivalent to "bookworm" or, possibly, "nerd". It is used to portray a studious person as lacking hands-on experience or social skills. Unlike "nerd", shūdāizi is rarely used in the context of hobbies.
- bì zuǐ, (Template:Lang) = Shut up! 
Action Specific[edit | edit source]
Some expressions represent offensive insults involving some kind of actions:
- gǔnkāi (Template:Zh) = go to hell! (lit. roll or roll over)
- nǐgěiwǒgǔn (Template:Zh) = get out of my sight!
- gǔndàn (Template:Lang) = scram, get out!
Region specific[edit | edit source]
Many locations within China have their own local slang, which is scarcely used elsewhere.
- gàn nǐ xiǎo BK de (干你小BK的) - Local slang from Tianjin, meaning "go fuck your 'thing'", where "BK" refers to male genitalia. However, when insulting females, "马B" is used instead.
- xiǎo yàng le ba (小样了吧) - Originating from Southern China. Said upon someone's misfortunes, similar to "haha" or "suck that".
- shén me niǎo (Template:Zh) - From the northeastern Heilongjiang, although also used in the South. Used similar to "what the fuck?"
- fage (发格) - Used in Shanghai, direct transliteration from English "fuck".
- èrbǎdāo (二把刀) - Beijing slang for a good-for-nothing; klutz. Literally "double-ended sword", considered a concept which is useless.
- xiǎomì (小蜜) - Beijing slang for a special female friend, often used with negative connotations.
- cènà (册那) - Shanghainese for "fuck", similar in usage to 肏 cào albeit less strong.
Racism[edit | edit source]
Chinese has specific terms and racial slurs for different ethnicities, governments and backgrounds.
Against Westerners[edit | edit source]
- yáng guǐzi (Template:Zh) — "Foreign devil", a slur for foreigners.
- guǐlǎo (Template:Zh) — Borrowed from Cantonese "Gweilo", "ghost" or "ghost guy", a slur for white people
- hóng máo guǐzi (Template:Zh) — "Red fur devil", rude slang term for Caucasians, especially Anglos
- máo zi (Template:Zh) - Ethnic slur against Russians. (Literally "fur".) Alternatively 红毛子 (hóng máo zi, red (communist) fur), 俄毛子 (é máo zi, Rus fur). Similar concept to "hóng máo guǐzi" above.
- lǎo wài (Template:Zh) — "foreigner", literally "old outsider", slang term for Caucasians in Mainland China, especially Anglos. Since this term is quite often used colloquially without malicious intent (even directly to foreigners proficient in Mandarin), its meaning is highly context specific. As a rough guide, however, it's best to avoid using the term outside China.
- mán zi (Template:Zh) — foreign barbarians
- lǎo mò (老墨) — "Old Mexican", an ethnic slur used on Mexicans. 墨 should not be confused with "ink", which bears the same character and pronunciation from "墨" in 墨西哥 (Mexico).
Against Japanese[edit | edit source]
- xiǎo Rìběn (小日本)="Japs" — Literally "little Japan"(ese). This term is so common that it has very little impact left (Google Search returns 16 100 000 results as of April 2010 ). The term can be used to refer to either Japan or individual Japanese. "小", or the word "little", is usually construed as "puny", "lowly" or "small country", but not "spunky".
- Rìběn guǐzi (日本鬼子) — Literally "Japanese devils". This is used mostly in the context of the Second Sino-Japanese War, when Japan invaded and occupied large areas of China. This is the title of a Japanese documentary on Japanese war crimes during WWII.
- dōngyáng guǐzi (Template:Zh) — Literally "Oriental devils". An anti-Japanese variant of yáng guǐzi, and similar to Rìběn guǐzi above. (Note that whereas the term 東洋 has the literal meaning of "Orient" in the Japanese language, it refers to Japan exclusively in modern Chinese usage.)
- Wō (倭) — This was an ancient Chinese name for Japan, but was also adopted by the Japanese. Today, its usage in Chinese is usually intended to give a negative connotation (see Wōkòu below). The character is said to also mean "dwarf", although that meaning was not apparent when the name was first used. See Wa (Japan).
- Wōkòu (倭寇) — Originally referred to Japanese pirates and armed sea merchants who raided the Chinese coastline during the Ming Dynasty (see Wokou). The term was adopted during the Second Sino-Japanese War to refer to invading Japanese forces, (similarly to Germans being called Huns). The word is today sometimes used to refer to all Japanese people in extremely negative contexts.
- Rìběn gǒu (日本狗) — Literally "Japanese dogs". The word is used to refer to all Japanese people in extremely negative contexts.
- dà jiǎo pén zú (大腳盆族) — Ethnic slur towards Japanese used predominantly by Northern Chinese, mainly those from the city of Tianjin. Literally "Big Feet Bowl Race".
- huáng jūn (Template:Zh) — a pun on the homophone "皇军/皇軍" (huáng jūn, literally "Imperial Army"), the definition of 黃 (huáng) used is "yellow". This phrase 黄军/黃軍 ("Yellow Army") was used during World War II to represent Japanese soldiers due to the colour of the uniform. Today, it is used negatively against all Japanese. Since the stereotype of Japanese soldiers are commonly portrayed in war-related TV series in China as short men, with a toothbrush moustache (and sometimes round glasses, in the case of higher ranks), 黄军/黃軍 is also often used to pull jokes on Chinese people with these characteristics, and thus "appear like" Japanese soldiers.
- zì wèi duì (Template:Zh) — A pun on the homophone "自卫队/自衛隊" (zì wèi duì, literally "Self-Defence Forces"), the definition of 慰 (wèi) used is "to comfort". This phrase is used to refer to Japanese (whose military force is known as "自衛隊") being stereotypically hypersexual, as "自慰队" means "Self-comforting Forces", referring to masturbation. The word 慰 (wèi) also carries highly negative connotations of "慰安妇/慰安婦" (wèi ān fù, "Comfort women"), referring to the use of sex slaves by the Japanese military during World War II.
Against Koreans[edit | edit source]
- Gāolì bàng zǐ (Template:Zh) — Derogatory term used against all ethnic Koreans. 高丽/高麗 refers to Ancient Korea (Koryo), while 棒子 means "club" or "corncob", referring to how Koreans would fit into trousers of the Ancient Koryo design. Sometimes 韓棒子 (hán bàng zǐ, "韓" referring to South Korea) is also used.
- sǐ bàng zǐ (死棒子) — Literally "dead club" or "dead corncob"; refer to 高丽棒子 above.
- èr guǐ zǐ (二鬼子) — (See 日本鬼子) During World War II, 二鬼子 referred to hanjian and Koreans in the Imperial Japanese Army, as the Japanese were known as "鬼子" (devils). 二鬼子 literally means "second devils". Today, 二鬼子 is used against all ethnic Koreans.
Against Communists[edit | edit source]
- gòngfei (共匪) — Literally "Communist Bandits" referring to communists, or to a larger extend, all Mainlanders. The term has been in use since the Chinese Civil War by the Kuomintang against the Chinese Communist Party, but today reflects the rifts in cross-strait relations.
- ā gòng zǐ (阿共仔) — Literally "Commie guy", a derogatory slang term used by Taiwanese against mainland Chinese, which refers to communism as an ad hominem.
- gòngchǎndǎng (共產黨) — Official, academic and commonly-used Chinese translation for communist parties. In Taiwan it is considered a shame to be a communist. A Taiwanese legislator was charged with public defamation for calling a protester "gongchandang".
- gòngcǎndǎng (共慘黨) — By replacing the middle character with "慘", a similar-sounding character to "產", meaning sad and pitiful, the name of the Communist Party changes to mean a party to cause suffering to everybody. This term has seen increasing usage in internet communities critical of the Communist Party of China.
Other[edit | edit source]
- Yìndù ā sān (印度阿三) — Ethnic slur against Indians. "A" is a vocative, and "san" is three, so "a san" means the third son or third child in a family. So Indians are assigned third-class status by this location.
- ā chā (阿差) — Similar to the above, this ethnic slur is common among the Cantonese speaking crowd especially those from Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. The term alludes to the frequent uttering of ācchā 'good, fine' by (Northern) Indians (cf. Hindi अच्छा) Originally referring to the Punjabi "singhs" security force who used to work for the British government during colonial era. Nowadays all Indians are indiscriminately called "ā chā".
- tái bāzi (台巴子) — Slur originating from the city of Shanghai, 台巴子 refers to Taiwanese, especially advocates of Taiwan independence. "Bazi" can mean a clitoris or (in baby-talk) a "wee-wee" (the penis of a little boy).
- lǎo hēi (老黑) — Literally "Old Black", Anti-African/black racial slur.
- hēi guǐzi (黑鬼子) or hēi guǐ (黑鬼) — Literally "Black devil", Anti-African/black racial slur similar to nigger.
- yìn ní ba (印尼巴 or 印泥巴) — a play on "印尼" (Indonesia) and "泥巴" (mud), where 尼/泥 are homophones, thus paralleling Indonesians with dirtiness.
- xiāngjiāo rén (香蕉人) — 'Banana People' - Ethnic Chinese living overseas who have lost any true Chinese trait. They are like bananas: Yellow (Chinese) on the outside while white (western) on the inside.
Homosexuality[edit | edit source]
There are various circumlocutions in Mandarin Chinese for homosexual, and the formal terms are recent additions just as is the direct translation of "masturbation" (hand soiling).
Duànxiù (Template:Zh) — cut off sleeve, from the story of a ruler whose male favorite fell asleep on the sleeve of his jacket, so when the ruler had to get up to conduct some needed business he cut his sleeve off rather than awaken his lover. (See Bret Hinsch, Passions of the Cut Sleeve, p. 53.)
Bōlí (Template:Lang, glass) — lit., "glass" person. It comes from a passage in the Dream of the Red Chamber in which Phoenix is described as having a "crystal heart in a glass body," meaning that she was glistening, pure, clear, fastidious, etc. It stands as high praise for a lady, but sounds too feminine for a (stereotypical) male. The English translation of Bai Xian-yong's novel about male homosexuals in Taiwan includes the term "crystal boys," derived from the same passage in the earlier novel, and also a rather gruff reference to the old photographer who befriends some of the boys as "you old glass," which, delivered by a female friend of his, comes out sounding about on the level of "you old fart," i.e., not really so very offensive, but indicating a passing mood of aggravation on the speaker's part. Nevertheless, the general meaning is probably closer to "old queer."
Nán fēng (Template:Zh), male custom, is homophonous with (Template:Lang, southern custom.) The first writing of the term would fairly easily be picked out as referring to sexual interactions, whereas the second term could just mean "the customs of the southern part of China." Perhaps because male sexual arousal is easier to spot where heavy clothing is not worn, or perhaps simply because of the frequent use of this term, homosexuality came to be regarded as more common and accepted in the southern part of China.Template:Citation needed
Tóngzhì (Template:Lang) (lit. "comrade") was recently adopted in Hong Kong and Taiwan to mean homosexual, and is frequently used on the mainland. Literally the term means "one having same aspirations," and was transferred from the arena of political allegiances to the realm of sexual alliances.
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
Footnotes[edit | edit source]
- 为什么"月经"又叫"大姨妈"? 百度知道
- 女生习惯说法“大姨妈”的来历 Xinhuanet.com
- Template:Cite web
- 为什么乳房叫波 Baidu.com
- 鼈, 鱉, 鳖, and 龞 are all different characters for "turtle".
- Note: The character 㞎 may not be supported on all browsers. It is a 巴 ba below a 尸 corpse radical, and appears as 20px. The character is present in the HKSCS. In the case where the correct character cannot be rendered, the phrase can also be colloqially shown as 屎巴巴 otherwise.
- Chao, Eveline. NIUBI!(2009) pg.13
- chinaSMACK Glossary: Cena
- 第一滴血──從日方史料還原平型關之戰日軍損失 (6) News of the Communist Party of China December 16, 2011
- C. Custer, 12 August 2010, StarCraft 2 in China: “We Gamers Really Suffer”: Prejudice against Mainland gamers, ChinaGeeks
- 共產黨與羞恥心Template:Language icon
Sources[edit | edit source]
- Template:Lang Template:Zh icon
- Oedipus Lex: Some Thoughts on Swear Words and the Incest Taboo in China and the West
- Cool Jay
- Chinese sex words, obscene language, curses and slang