Mandarin Chinese profanity

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The traditional Chinese characters for the word huàidàn (壞蛋/坏蛋), a Mandarin Chinese profanity meaning, literally, "bad egg"

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.

Sex[edit]

Penis[edit]

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 (弟弟) = roughly equivalent of "wee-wee" (lit. "little younger brother") IM: DD
  • kuàxià wù (胯下物) = roughly equivalent of "the package" (lit. "thing under crotch")
  • yīnjīng (simplified Chinese: 阴茎; traditional Chinese: 陰莖)= penis (scientific)
  • diǎo ( or substituted by ) = dick (the same character also means to have sexual intercourse in Cantonese)
  • luǎn () same as "屌", used in some southern areas.
  • lǎo èr (老二) = penis (lit. "second in the family", "little brother")
  • nà huà er (simplified Chinese: 那话儿; traditional Chinese: 那話兒) = 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 (simplified Chinese: 龟头; traditional Chinese: 龜頭) = 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]

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:

Brothel frequenter[edit]

  • yín chóng (Chinese: 淫蟲) literally, lewd worms. Men who frequently enjoy having sex with women.
  • lǎo piáo (Chinese: 老嫖) literally, old frequenter of prostitutes. There is actually a verb for frequenting prostitutes in Chinese.[3]

Prostitution[edit]

In addition to the above expressions used as insults directed against women, other insults involve insinuating that they are prostitutes:

  • jì nǚ (妓女) = (female) prostitute
  • chòu biǎozi (臭婊子) = stinking whore
  • mài dòufu (simplified Chinese: 卖豆腐; traditional Chinese: 賣豆腐; literally "selling tofu") is a euphemism for prostitution.
  • xiǎojiě (小姐) = means "Miss" in most contexts but, now in Northern China, also connotes "prostitute" to many young women, as it suggests expressions like zuò xiǎojiě (做小姐) or sānpéi xiǎojiě (三陪小姐), which refers to bargirls who may also be prostitutes. This connotation does not apply outside of the People's Republic of China.

Mistress[edit]

  • xiǎo lǎopó (小老婆) = mistress (lit. "little wife" or "little old women"). Note: when combined with other words, the character (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]

  • mīmī (咪咪; literally cat's purring "meow meow") is a euphemism for breast.
  • da doufu (大豆腐; literally "big tofu") slang for large breasts, more prevalent in Guangdong
  • mántóu (simplified Chinese: 馒头; traditional Chinese: 饅頭; 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.
  • (, literally "wave" or "undulating", but sometimes suggested to be derived from "ball" which has a similar pronunciation) = boobs.[4] The typical instance is bōbà (Chinese: 波霸), 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 (Chinese: 爆乳; literally "busty breasts (literally "explosive breasts")") = big tits, likely reborrowing from Japanese.
  • fēijīchǎng (simplified Chinese: 飞机场; traditional Chinese: 飛機場; literally "airport") = flat breasts
  • háng kōng mǔ jiàn (simplified Chinese: 航空母舰; traditional Chinese: 航空母艦) - 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.
  • tàipíng gōngzhǔ (太平公主) means Princess of Peace, this was the actual title of a real princess. However 太 means great or extreme and 平 means flat or level. Hence, this phrase contains double meaning i.e. "Extremely Flat Princess."

Anus[edit]

A pierced chrysanthemum is a common euphemistic joke.
  • 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".
  • hòutíng后庭 - anus. literally "back yard".

Masturbation[edit]

Male masturbation, at least, has several vulgar expressions, in addition to two formal/scientific ones that refer to both male and female masturbation (shǒuyín 手淫 and zìwèi 自慰):

  • dă shǒuqiāng (simplified Chinese: 打手枪; traditional Chinese: 打手槍) = male masturbation (lit. "firing a handgun")
  • dǎ fēijī (simplified Chinese: 打飞机; traditional Chinese: 打飛機) = male masturbation (lit. "hitting an airplane"). A term which originated from the Cantonese language.
  • lǚguǎn/lǚguǎnr (捋管/捋管儿) = male masturbation (lit. "stroke the pipe")
  • lūgǔan (擼管) = male masturbation, also "stroking the pipe"
  • wán lǎo èr (玩老二) = male masturbation (lit., "play with little brother")
  • wǔdǎyī (五打一) = male masturbation (lit. "five beating one")
  • jiàn Wǔ gūniáng (simplified Chinese: 见五姑娘; traditional Chinese: 見伍姑娘) = male masturbation (lit. "to see [visit] Miss Five", to see [use] five prostitutes [fingers])
  • zìkuài (自快) = masturbation (lit. private pleasure)

Foreplay[edit]

  • kǒu jiāo (口交) = oral intercourse, blowjob
  • chuī gōng (吹功) = blowjob (lit. "blow service")
  • chuī xiāo (吹箫) = blowjob ("play flute")

Sexual intercourse[edit]

  • cào (/) = 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 (/) = to do = to fuck (alternatively gǎo, to do) or from Hokkien , also means fuck.
  • () (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 日, due to similar pronunciation and ease of input.
  • chǎofàn (simplified Chinese: 炒饭; traditional Chinese: 炒飯) = 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]

As in English, a vulgar word for the sexual act is used in insults and expletives:

  • cào (肏/操) = fuck (the variant character was in use as early as the Ming dynasty in the novel Jin Ping Mei). is often used as a substitute for in print or on the computer, because 肏 was until recently often not available for typesetting or input.
  • cào nǐ zǔzōng shíbā dài (肏你祖宗十八代) = fuck your ancestors to the eighteenth generation, the cào 肏(fuck) has been substituted for , 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]

A supermarket in Japan with a name similar to the Chinese profanity “tā māde” (他媽的) and as such is a joke among the Chinese expatriate community.

Insulting someone's mother is also common:

Other relatives[edit]

  • nǐ èr dàyé de (Chinese: 你二大爷的) = damn on your second uncle. This is a part of local Beijing slang.
  • lǎolao (Chinese: 姥姥) = grandmother-from-mother-side. In Beijing dialect, this word is used for "Never!".
  • ta nai nai de (Chinese: 他奶奶的) = His grandmother!

Turtles and eggs[edit]

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 biē, fresh-water turtle.[5] 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. 龜頭 (guītóu, "turtle head") can refer to the glans of the penis.

"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.[citation needed]

Illegitimacy[edit]

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 () is a metonym for offspring.

  • wángbā (王八) / wàngbā (忘八) = cuckold; this was an insult as early as the Song Dynasty.
  • wángbādàn (王八蛋, informal simplified: 王八旦) / wàngbāgāozi (王八羔子) = bastard (lit. "turtle egg" and "turtle kid.")
  • zázhǒng (simplified Chinese: 杂种; traditional Chinese: 雜種) = 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 (混蛋) = 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.

Stupid[edit]

  • bái mù (Chinese: 白目) stupid. Literally, white-eyed, blind. Here it means not understanding the situation and reacting in a wrong way as a result.
  • bái chī (Chinese: 白痴) idiot. Someone with mental retardation.
  • nǎo cán (Chinese: 脑残) 'Deficient Brain' - Disabled brain, brain has a problem.
  • yíwàng de bā (Chinese: 遗忘的八) 'Forgetter of the Eight'. lit. One who has forgotten Mencius' Eight Rules of Civilization (slang)
  • dà nǎo jìn shuǐ (Chinese: 大脑进水) water leaked in the brain.
  • bèn dàn (Chinese: 笨蛋) stupid egg.

Suck up[edit]

  • chong yang mei wai (Chinese: 崇洋媚外) Chinese who ass kiss foreigners.
  • fan jian (Chinese: 犯贱) asking to be disrespected.
  • zhao bian (Chinese: 招贬) asking to be kicked.
  • di san xia si (Chinese: 低三下四) low.
  • gou tui zi (Chinese: 狗腿子) someone's dog.
  • pāi mǎ pì (Chinese: 拍马屁) to suck up, to be a toady.

Madness[edit]

  • shén jīng bìng (simplified Chinese: 神经病; traditional Chinese: 神經病) Insanity. 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 (Chinese: 发飙) going crazy.
  • bian tai (Chinese: 变态) Perverted, deviant, abnormal.[6]

Buttocks[edit]

While there are vulgar expressions in English referring to the buttocks or rectum, there are no real equivalents in Mandarin. Pìgu yǎn (屁股眼) 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 (Chinese: 死屁眼) damned asshole.
  • jiào nǐ shēng háizi méi pìgu yǎn (simplified Chinese: 叫你生孩子没屁股眼; traditional Chinese: 叫你生孩子沒屁股眼) – literally, "May your child be born with an imperforate anus"; sometimes méi pìgu yǎn (simplified Chinese: 没屁股眼; traditional Chinese: 沒屁股眼) 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 (我靠 or 我尻) – "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. originally meant "butt.")

Age[edit]

  • 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 (simplified Chinese: 老头子; traditional Chinese: 老頭子),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 (simplified Chinese: 乳臭未干; traditional Chinese: 乳臭未乾) 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]

As in the West, highly sexual women have been stigmatized. Terms for males who sleep around are rare.

  • chāng fù (娼妇) = bitch/whore
  • húli jīng (狐狸精) = bitch (overly seductive woman or a golddigger; lit. "fox spirit")
  • sānbā (三八) = 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 三八, but others claim 三八 refers to March 8: International Women's Day.
  • gōng gòng qì chē (simplified Chinese: 公共汽车; traditional Chinese: 公共汽車) = slut (lit. "public bus") used for a woman who sleeps around, as in "everyone has had a ride"
  • biǎozi (婊子) = whore, slut
  • jiàn nǚ rén (贱女人) = bitch, cheap woman
  • huā huā gōngzi (花花公子) = playboy, notorious cheater (lit. "Flower-Flower Prince")

Positive connotations[edit]

Occasionally, slang words with a negative connotation are turned around and used positively:

  • wǒ cào (我肏) = 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 (牛屄/牛逼) = fucking awesome (literally "cow cunt"; possibly influenced by the expression chuī niú pí; , 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 .
  • diǎo () / niǎo (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ) = 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]

Other insults include the word hùn (), which means "mixed-up", or hùn (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ), which means "muddy":

Eggs[edit]

Perhaps due to the influence of wángbādàn (王八蛋), dàn (; "egg") is used in a number of other insults in addition to hùndàn (混蛋):

Melons[edit]

The word guā (; melon or gourd) is also used in insults:

  • shǎguā (傻瓜; also shǎzi, 傻子) = dummy, fool (in use as early as the Yuan Dynasty)
  • dāiguā (呆瓜; also dāizi, 呆子) = 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]

The noun 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]

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]

Boasting[edit]

  • ban ping zi cu (Chinese: 半瓶子醋): literally, a half-empty bottle of vinegar, used to address a person with limited professional expertise.
  • chui niu bi (Chinese: 吹牛逼) = lit. inflating (blowing air into) a cow's vagina. Used to address bragging activities.
  • chi bao le cheng de (Chinese: 吃饱了撑的): lit. eats too much. Used to refer weird, nonsense or illogical deeds.

Cruelty[edit]

  • sha ren bu zha yan (Chinese: 杀人不眨眼) stone cold killer.
  • xiao ba wang zhou tong (Chinese: 小霸王周通) a wicked man.
  • huo yan xie shen (Chinese: 火眼邪神) evil spirit.
  • da mo tou (Chinese: 大魔头) a very wicked and powerful man.

Face[edit]

Because shame or "face" is important in Chinese culture, insulting someone as "shameless" is much stronger than in English:

  • bú yàoliǎn (simplified Chinese: 不要脸; traditional Chinese: 不要臉) = shameless, lit. "doesn't want face," i.e., "discards his face, does not seek to maintain a good status in society".

Girlish[edit]

  • niángniangqiāng (Chinese: 娘娘腔) is a pejorative used to describe Chinese males who are extremely effeminate in their speaking style. It is related to the term sājiào (撒娇, 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 as being cute or seductive.
  • niángpào (娘炮) = same as 娘娘腔 (above)
  • tàijiàn (太监) or gōnggong (公公) - 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 (simplified Chinese: 女气; traditional Chinese: 女氣), 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 (Chinese: 屁精) roughly meaning ass fairy
  • nǎi yóu (Chinese: 奶油) lit. meaning cream or butter

Boyish[edit]

  • nán rén pó (Chinese: 男人婆) a female who behaves like a male. Tomboy
  • mu ye cha (Chinese: 母夜叉) a female toad, an ugly and rough female.

Inhuman[edit]

Other insults accuse people of lacking qualities expected of a human being:

  • chùsheng (畜生) = animal (the word is also used in Japanese, where it is pronounced "chikushō", often used as an expletive, akin to "hell!"; it literally means "beast", a likely reference to the Buddhist belief that rebirth as an animal is the result of karma conditioned by stupidity and prejudice)
  • nǐ bú shì rén (你不是人) = you're not human (lit.: "you are not a person")
  • nǐ shì shénme dōngxi (simplified Chinese: 你是什么东西; traditional Chinese: 你是什麽東西) = 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 (simplified Chinese: 你不是东西; traditional Chinese: 你不是東西) = you're less than human (implies less worth than an object)
  • bùyàoliǎn de dōngxi (simplified Chinese: 不要脸的东西; traditional Chinese: 不要臉的東西) = you're shameless and less than human (lit.: "you are a thing that has no shame")
  • jiànhuò (simplified Chinese: 贱货; traditional Chinese: 賤貨) = lit. "cheap goods" ("[you] despicable creature!")
  • sāohuò (simplified Chinese: 骚货; traditional Chinese: 騷貨) = lit. "lewd goods" ("[you] lewd creature!")

Death[edit]

(; "dead", "cadaverous," or, less precisely, "damn(ed)") is used in a number of insults:

  • sǐ guǐ (死鬼) lit., "dead imp," "dead demon,"
  • sǐ sān bā (死三八) / chòu sān bā (臭三八), lit., stinking (derogatory term for woman) bitch
  • sǐ bù yào liǎn (simplified Chinese: 死不要脸; traditional Chinese: 死不要臉) = shameless (lit.: "[you] shameless corpse")
  • qù sǐ (去死) = "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 (simplified Chinese: 该死; traditional Chinese: 該死) damned, damn it! (lit. should die)
  • zhǎo sǐ (Chinese: 找死): literally 'looking for death'
  • qù xià dì yù (去下地狱) - descend into hell

Excrement[edit]

The words "" (shǐ) (= turd, dung), "" (fèn) (= manure, excrement) and "大便 (= stool)" (dà biàn), which all mean feces but vary from blunt four letter to family-friendly, 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" (放屁; lit. "to fart") is an expletive in Mandarin. The word "" (; lit. "fart") is commonly used as an expletive in Mandarin.

  • qù chī dà biàn (去吃大便) [Go] Eat shit! (By itself, 大便 is neither an expletive nor does it have the same effect as 'shit' in English.)
  • chī shǐ (吃屎) = Eat shit!
  • shǐ dàn (屎蛋) Lit., shit egg, a turd.
  • fàng pì (放屁) = 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 (simplified Chinese: 屁话; traditional Chinese: 屁話) = bullshit, nonsense
  • nǐ zài jiǎng shén me pì huà (simplified Chinese: 你在讲什么屁话; traditional Chinese: 你在講什麽屁話) = What the shit/fuck are you saying
  • pì shì (屁事) = a mere nothing; also guānwǒpìshì (关我屁事)= I don't give a damn!
  • mǐ tián gòng (米田共) - A play on the writing of "" (the traditional form of "" (fen), also "kuso" in Japanese), referring to excrement.
  • qí yán fèn tǔ yě (simplified Chinese: 其言粪土也; traditional Chinese: 其言糞土也) - an expression in Classical Chinese that means, "His words are [nothing but] excrement." (See Giles, A Chinese-English Dictionary.)
  • shǐ bǎ ba (Ba hkscs.PNGBa hkscs.PNG or 屎㞎㞎)[7] - Children's slang term for faeces, similar to English "poo" or "brownie". A variant of this term is 㞎 (bǎ ba), while 便便 (biàn bian) is also used as a children's term, albeit less frequently used.

Animals[edit]

Dogs[edit]

The fact that many insults are prefaced with the Mandarin Chinese word for dog attest to the animal's low status:

  • gǒuzǎizi (狗崽子/狗仔子) = son of dog (English equivalent: "son of a bitch")
  • gǒu pì (狗屁) = 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 (simplified Chinese: 你个狗屁; traditional Chinese: 你個狗屁) = what you said is bullshit. also "nǐ ge pì"(simplified Chinese: 你个屁; traditional Chinese: 你個屁)or simply "pì"(Chinese: ).
  • gǒu pì bù tōng (狗屁不通) dog fart + does not (come out at the end of the tube =) communicate= incoherent, nonsensical
  • fàng nǐ mā de gǒu pì (simplified Chinese: 放你妈的狗屁; traditional Chinese: 放你媽的狗屁) = what you said is fucking bullshit (lit. "release your mother's dog fart")
  • fàng nǐ mā de gǒu chòu pì (simplified Chinese: 放你妈的狗臭屁; traditional Chinese: 放你媽的狗臭屁) = what you said is fucking bullshit (lit. "release your mother's dog stinky fart")
  • gǒu niáng yǎng de (simplified Chinese: 狗娘养的; traditional Chinese: 狗娘養的) = son of a bitch (lit. "raised by a dog mother")
  • gǒurìde (狗日的) = 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 (狗屎堆) = a person who behaves badly (lit. "a pile of dog shit"); gǒushǐ (狗屎), 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 (simplified Chinese: 狗杂种; traditional Chinese: 狗雜種) = literally "mongrel dog," a variation on zázhǒng (simplified Chinese: 杂种; traditional Chinese: 雜種), above.
  • zǒugǒu (走狗) = 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 (狗腿子) / gǒutuǐ (狗腿) = variant of zǒugǒu (走狗)

Rabbits[edit]

In at least one case, rabbit is part of an insult:

  • xiǎotùzǎizi (小兔崽子) = son of a rabbit (quite ironically, this insult is often used by parents to insult their children)

Horse[edit]

  • mǎzi (simplified Chinese: 马子; traditional Chinese: 馬子; literally "horse") = a derogatory word for girlfriend. (Possibly influenced by U.S. slang, "filly," used for any girl.)

Bird[edit]

The Chinese word for bird "niǎo"() was pronounced as "diǎo" in ancient times, which rhymes with () meaning penis or sexual organ.[8] It also sounds the same as "penis" in several Chinese dialects. Thus, bird is often associated with 'fuck', 'penis' or 'nonsense':

Tigress[edit]

A tigress or 母老虎 (Mǔ lǎohǔ) refers to a fierce woman, usually someone's strict wife.

Dinosaur[edit]

A dinosaur or 恐龙 (Kǒnglóng) has been used as Internet slang to describe an ugly girl.

Contempt[edit]

Certain words are used for expressing contempt or strong disapproval:

  • wǒpēi (我呸) = I boo in disapproval. Pēi 呸 is a spoken onomatopoeia that represents the action of spitting.

Divinity[edit]

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 (瘟神) = troublemaker (literally "plague god")

Miscellaneous[edit]

Some expressions are harder to explain:

  • èrbǎiwǔ (二百五) = stupid person/idiot (see 250)
  • shūdāizi, (simplified Chinese: 书呆子; traditional Chinese: 書呆子) 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, (闭嘴) = Shut up! [9]

Action Specific[edit]

Some expressions represent offensive insults involving some kind of actions:

Region specific[edit]

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 (simplified Chinese: 什么鸟; traditional Chinese: 什麼鳥) - 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.[10]

Racism[edit]

Chinese has specific terms and racial slurs for different ethnicities, governments and backgrounds.

Against Westerners[edit]

  • yáng guǐzi (Chinese: 洋鬼子) — "Foreign devil", a slur for foreigners.
  • guǐlǎo (Chinese: 鬼佬) — Borrowed from Cantonese "Gweilo", "ghost" or "ghost guy", a slur for white people
  • hóng máo guǐzi (simplified Chinese: 红毛鬼子; traditional Chinese: 紅毛鬼子) — "Red fur devil", rude slang term for Caucasians, especially Anglos
  • máo zi (Chinese: 毛子) - 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 (Chinese: 老外) — "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 (simplified Chinese: 蛮子; traditional Chinese: 蠻子) — 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]

Demonstrators in Taiwan host signs telling "Japanese devils" to "get out" of the Diaoyutai Islands following an escalation in disputes in 2012.
  • 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 [11]). 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 (simplified Chinese: 东洋鬼子; traditional Chinese: 東洋鬼子) — 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.)
  • () — 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 (simplified Chinese: 黄军; traditional Chinese: 黃軍) — 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 (simplified Chinese: 自慰队; traditional Chinese: 自慰隊) — 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]

  • Gāolì bàng zǐ (simplified Chinese: 高丽棒子; traditional Chinese: 高麗棒子) — 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)[12] — (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]

  • 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.[13]
  • 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".[14]
  • 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]

  • Yìndù ā sān (印度阿三) — Ethnic slur against Indians.
  • 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]

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 (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: 斷袖) — 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.) [An analogous story, of a sleeve being cut off so as not to disturb a sleeping cat, is told of both Confucius and Muhammad, and perhaps others]

Yútáo (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: 餘桃) — remains of a peach, from the story of a favorite who rather too familiarly offered his sovereign a peach of which he had already eaten half. (From Han Fei Zi, chapter 12)

Bōlí (玻璃, 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 (simplified Chinese: 男风; traditional Chinese: 男風), male custom, is homophonous with (南風, 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.[citation needed]

Tóngzhì (同志) (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.

Tùzi 兔子 lit., "bunny," but used to refer to catamites. (See Herbert A. Giles, A Chinese-English Dictionary, entry 12,122) See also Tu Er Shen.

Since the success of Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain, duànbèi (simplified Chinese: 断背; traditional Chinese: 斷背, lit. "brokeback") has also become popular.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ 为什么"月经"又叫"大姨妈"? 百度知道
  2. ^ 女生习惯说法“大姨妈”的来历 Xinhuanet.com
  3. ^ "嫖". Mandarin-English Talking Dictionary. Chinese Language Center. 
  4. ^ 为什么乳房叫波 Baidu.com
  5. ^ , , , and are all different characters for "turtle".
  6. ^ http://www.chinasmack.com/glossary
  7. ^ Note: The character may not be supported on all browsers. It is a 巴 ba below a 尸 corpse radical, and appears as Ba hkscs.PNG. 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.
  8. ^ http://zhidao.baidu.com/question/72463070.html
  9. ^ Chao, Eveline. NIUBI!(2009) pg.13
  10. ^ chinaSMACK Glossary: Cena
  11. ^ http://www.google.se/search?q=%E5%B0%8F%E6%97%A5%E6%9C%AC&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:sv-SE:official&client=firefox-a
  12. ^ 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
  13. ^ C. Custer, 12 August 2010, StarCraft 2 in China: “We Gamers Really Suffer”: Prejudice against Mainland gamers, ChinaGeeks
  14. ^ 共產黨與羞恥心(Chinese)

Sources[edit]