Chinese (Mandarin)/Slang

Mandarin, like any language, has its own slang words and informal meanings for some common words. For example, 同志 (tóngzhì - comrade, a commonly used honorific under Communism) now has a second meaning of "gay person" (because it literally means "same aspirations"—in this case sexual proclivities rather than political interests), and the female equivalent 小姐 (xiǎojiě, often used with service personnel such as waitresses) can also refer to a prostitute. Below is a partial list of common slang terms. The letters "xx" stand for someone or something, lit. gives a literal translation, and equiv. refers to an equivalent English expression.

Slang ListEdit

简体 繁體 Pinyin Meaning(s), Literal and Figurative
cool (好酷喔 hǎo kù ō; that's cool!); lit., equiv. cool
shuài good looking, handsome (of a guy)
帅呆(了) 帥呆(了) shuài dāi (le) very good looking, a hunk (of a guy); very good, awesome (of a situation)
shuǎng satisfying, enjoyable, (as in 我昨天去按摩超爽(的)。 "The massage yesterday was very satisfying."
过瘾 過癮 guò yǐn entertaining; very pleasing; addictive
不行了 不行了 bùxíngle dying, at the point of death; lit. not OK anymore
chāo very, extremely, super, ultra- (as in 超冷 "very cold", 超酷 "very cool")
to annoy, provoke, offend, or get on someone's nerves(as in 你幹嘛老是惹我? "Why do you always get on my nerves?")
碍眼 礙眼 àiyǎn annoying, get-in-the-way (as in 你在這裡很礙眼, 趕快去做一些有用的事情吧! "You are being a nuisance, go see whether you can make yourself useful somewhere else!); lit. 'hinder the eye'
胡鬧 胡鬧 húnào make trouble, be a nuisance (as in 你現在馬上給我安靜睡覺,不要再胡鬧! "you are going to sleep right now, no more nonsense!"); lit ‘nonsense quarrel’
感冒 感冒 gǎnmào (catch) a cold; to develop an aversion against someone (as in 我說了那句話之後,她就對我感冒了 "after I said that she got upset with me")
机车 機車 jīchē (noun) motorcycle; adj: used to describe someone displaying annoying behavior (as in 她很機車 "she's annoying")
离谱 離譜 lípǔ preposterous, outrageous; lit. leaving the manual or musical score (as in 你這樣作實在是太離譜。 "You are really out of line doing things like that.")
chě farfetched, unimaginable, defying all logic (as in 很扯! "Unbelievable!", 太扯了吧! "That is ridiculous!", 你扯到哪裡去? "What are you talking about?"); lit. drag, pull; chat
扯xx(的)后腿 扯xx(的)後腿 chě xx (de) hòu tuǐ to be a drag on xx, be a hindrance; lit. to pull xx's hind legs
zhèng classy, good quality, high class (as in 正妹 "a classy chick", 他的女朋友很正。 "He has a knock out girlfriend.")
shuǎ cheat, deceive (as in 你想耍我嗎? "You must be kidding.")
耍嘴皮 耍嘴皮 shuǎ zuǐ pí to talk slickly, to pay lip service
耍赖 耍賴 shuǎlài to act shamelessly; to act indifferent
赖皮 賴皮 làipí to act shameless, brazen, like a rascal; rascal, villain
hùn to muddle along, to partake in a given activity in a lazy and unserious manner(as in 我這裡已經快混不下去了。 "I'm about to get kicked out of here." (school or company etc), 你還想混多久? "How much longer are you planning to go on like this?")
摸鱼 摸魚 mó yú to be lazy on the job; lit. to rub fish
鱿鱼 魷魚 yóuyú marching orders; lit. squid
炒鱿鱼 炒魷魚 chǎoyóuyú to be fired, sacked; lit. to fry squid, equiv. "getting a pink slip"
làn rotten, crappy
烂掉 爛掉 làn diào to rot, to go bad
烂摊子 爛攤子 làntānzi bad situation, mess (as in 我可以收他的爛攤子。 "I can take care of the mess he created.")
烂醉 爛醉 lànzuì piss drunk, blind drunk, dead drunk
烂好人 爛好人 làn hǎorén spineless, weak person; lit. rotten good person
tòu extremely, completely, used as a suffix (as in 爛透了 'extremely crappy'); lit. through
吓死 嚇死 xià sǐ terrified; lit., equiv. scared to death
难搞 難搞 nán gǎo hard to deal with, downright
休想 休想 xiūxiǎng never (interjection), lit., equiv. in your dreams
吹牛 吹牛 chuīniú to brag, boast
chuī to brag, boast
自大 自大 zì dà arrogant, overbearing
臭屁 臭屁 chòu pì arrogant, overbearing; equiv. cocky, lit. stinking fart
摆架子 擺架子 bǎijiàzi to put on an airs, to act like the master of, to be arrogant; lit. to swing a rack, shelf
假君子 假君子 jiǎ jūnzǐ equiv. a wolf in sheep's clothes, lit. a fake gentleman
上流社会 上流社會 shàngliú shèhuì lit. high society, the rich and famous; equiv. upper crust
黑社会 黑社會 hēishèhuì triad, triad society; lit. the underworld, equiv. gangland
流氓 流氓 liúmáng rouge, gangster, hoodlum; lit. flowing vagrant
老大 老大 lǎodà the big boss, older, elder
小弟 小弟 xiǎodì younger members of a gang; lit. little brother
吵架 吵架 chǎojià to quarrel, to argue
斗嘴 鬥嘴 dòuzuǐ bicker, squabble (lit. to fight with the mouth)
打架 打架 dǎjià to fight, scuffle (physically)
把风 把風 bǎ fēng to keep watch, be on the look out (esp. during a heist)
坏胚子 壞胚子 huài pēizi a bad personal characteristic
好兄弟 好兄弟 hǎo xiōngdì a ghost; a good friend; lit. good brother
不干净 不乾淨 bù gānjìng not clean; haunted (by ghosts)
夜总会 夜總會 yèzǒnghuì nightclub; graveyard
菜鸟 菜鳥 càiniǎo rookie, beginner, novice, inexperienced person; lit. 'vegetable bird'
天真 天真 tiānzhēn naive (said mostly of young girls); lit 'heaven real'
猪头 豬頭 zhū tóu idiot; lit. pig's head
笨蛋 笨蛋 bèndàn idiot; lit. stupid egg
坏蛋 壞蛋 huàidàn crook, scoundrel; lit. rotten egg
王八蛋 王八蛋 wángbā dàn son of a bitch; lit. king eight egg
huò goods, merchandise, stuff; drugs
白痴 白痴 báichī idiot; stupidity; lit. white fool
蠢货 蠢貨 chǔnhuò idiot, blockhead, dunce, moron (used infrequently)
傻瓜 傻瓜 shǎguā fool, simpleton (sometimes used lovingly); lit. stupid melon
小子 小子 xiǎozi guy, kid; prick, brat
疯子 瘋子 fēngzi madman, lunatic
发疯 發瘋 fāfēng to become insane, to go mad
娘娘腔 娘娘腔 niángniang qiāng sissy, girly, effeminate (esp. of a male)
傢伙 傢伙 jiāhuo guy, chap (negative); weapon, gun
毒蟲 毒蟲 dú chóng junky, someone on drugs; lit. poisonous insect
吸毒 吸毒 xīdú to drug, to take drugs (esp. narcotics); lit. to absorb poison
上隱 上隱 shàng yǐn to become addicted; addictive; Used colloquially: 'get hooked to something' (as in 這種啤酒太好喝了,我快要上隱了 "This kind of beer is too tasty, I'm about to get hooked"
崩溃 崩潰 bēngkuì debacle; to fall apart, to collapse, esp. mental collapse
欠 xx 欠 xx qiàn xx to owe xx (as in, 欠錢 "owe money", 欠情 "owe a favor"); to ask/beg for xx (as in, 欠念 "asking for a verbal dress down", 欠揍 "asking for a beating")
放xx(的)鸽子 放xx(的)鴿子 fàng xx gēzi to (intentionally) not not come for xx; to miss xx's appointment, equiv. to stand xx up, to be a no-show (as in, 不要放我鴿子喔! "Don't stand me up!"); lit. release xx pigeons
吃xx(的)豆腐 吃xx(的)豆腐 chī xx(de) dòufu to commit borderline sexual harassment with a woman (as in, 不要吃我的豆腐。 "Don't touch me.", 你想吃我的豆腐嗎? "Would you like to touch me?"); lit. to eat xx's tofu
没水准 沒水準 méi shuǐzhǔn equiv. to have no class; lit. to have no standards
没家教 沒家教 méi jiājiào unmannered, not well behaved, impolite; lit. without home teaching, without a good upbringing
下流 下流 xiàliú nasty; obscene; indecent; a low life; lit. downstream
with no class, like a buffoon (as in, 你的衣服好土喔! 'your clothes are so low class!'); lit. earth, soil
飙车 飆車 biāochē drag racing; motorcycle racing; to drive in speedily, a crazed fashion; lit. whirlwind car
xx族 xx族 xx zú people that do xx (as in, 上班族 "people that work", 飆車族 "people that drive too fast"); lit. xx tribe/clan/family
种草莓 種草莓 zhǒng cǎoméi to kiss someone passionately, leaving a reddish mark (equiv. to give someone a hickey); lit. to plant strawberries
丢脸 丟臉 diūliǎn to embarrass, to disgrace, to humiliate (as in 你在朋友的面前這樣說我真丟臉。 "The way you spoke about me in front of our friends really made me lose face."); equiv., lit. to lose face
没面子 沒面子 méi miànzi to lose face (as in 你害我沒面子。 "You made me lose face.")
厚脸皮 厚臉皮 hòu liǎnpí cheeky, brazen; thick skinned; willing to make daring demands (negative)
嚣张 囂張 xiāozhāng brazen, shameless, arrogant
酒吧 酒吧 jiǔbā a bar
酒店 酒店 jiǔdiàn a hotel; restaurant; hostess bar (Taiwan only); wine shop
夜店 夜店 yèdiàn a nightclub
夜猫子 夜貓子 yèmāozi someone who sleeps late (equiv. a night owl); someone with a rich nightlife
黄包车 黃包車 huángbāochē rickshaw / denigrating slang: a Chinese woman abroad (being promiscuous as opposed to conservative at home)
恐龙妹 恐龍妹 kǒnglóng mèi ugly girl (lit. 'dinosaur girl')
辣妹 辣妹 làmèi a hot girl (lit. 'spicy girl'); the Spice Girls
帅哥 帥哥 shuàigē good looking dude, a hunk
放电 放電 fàngdiàn to create an atmosphere of feminine attraction (of a woman); lit. 'to discharge electricity'
欲火焚身 慾火焚身 yù​huǒ​fén​shēn to be very horny; lit. 'lust fire incinerate body'
泡妞 泡妞 pàoniū (try to) hook up with girls, on the prowl for women; lit ‘steep/soak girls’
把妹 把妹 bǎ mèi to hunt for girls
把马子 把馬子 bǎ mǎzi to hunt for girls
把凯子 把凱子 bǎ kǎizi to hunt for rich hunks (of a woman)
搭讪 搭訕 dāshan (trying to hook up by) starting a conversation (with a stranger)
乱讲 亂講 luàn jiǎng to speak nonsense
胡烂 胡爛 húlàn give someone a load of nonsense; (as in 男生最利害的就是胡爛 "(said by a woman) Selling crap is what men do best"); lit ‘nonsense crap‘
放屁 放屁 fàngpì to speak nonsense; lit. 'to fart'
废话 廢話 fèihuà to speak nonsense, to trashtalk; lit. 'to waste words'
啰嗦 囉嗦 luōsuo to talk too much (as in 你很囉嗦。 "You talk too much.", 不要囉嗦了! "Stop rambling!")
哈啦 哈啦 hā la to argue, to incessantly try to convince someone (as in 你不用哈啦這麼多, 就直接認錯吧! "Stop arguing and just admit you're wrong!", 哇,你很會哈啦喔! "Wow, you really know how to argue!")
闭嘴 閉嘴 bì zuǐ shut up (interjection, often said by parents)
插嘴 插嘴 chāzuǐ to interrupt someone talking (as in 你不要老是插嘴。 "Stop interrupting me."); lit. to insert a mouth
顶嘴 頂嘴 dǐngzuǐ to talk back, to be a wiseguy; to answer defiantly (as in 如果你再頂嘴我就修理你! "I am going to take care of you if you talk back to me again.")
xx 个屁 / xx 个头 xx 個屁 / xx 個頭 xx gèpì / xx gètóu xx my ass (interjection, as in A: 這電影好浪漫喔。 B: 浪漫個屁阿! A: This movie is so romantic. B: Romantic my ass!)
小弟弟 小弟弟 xiǎo dìdì penis; lit. little brother
(小)鸡鸡 (小)雞雞 (xiǎo) jī jī penis; lit. chicken
小鸟 小鳥 xiǎo niǎo penis; lit. small bird
那话儿 那話兒 nà huà er penis; lit. "that talk"
dàn testicles, equiv. balls (as in 打架的時候要好好保護你的蛋(蛋)。 "When fighting you have protect your balls."); lit. egg
奶子 奶子 nǎizi breast(s)
巨乳 巨乳 jùrǔ huge breast(s)
波霸 波霸 bō(or pō)bà (woman with) huge breast(s)
高潮 高潮 gāocháo orgasm; lit. high tide, climax
做爱 做愛 zuò'ài to have sex; lit., equiv. to make love
炒饭 炒飯 chao3fan4 to make love; lit. to fry rice
上床 上床 shàngchuáng to go to bed; to make love
色狼 色狼 sèláng a man with strong sexual desires, a satyr, a sex addict; lit. appearance wolf
变态 變態 biàntài a sexual pervert; lit. metamorphosis, abnormal
(有)外遇 (有)外遇 (yǒu) wàiyù to have an affair
劈腿 劈腿 pī tuǐ to have an affair, to cheat on someone; lit. to split the legs
一夜情 一夜情 yīyè qíng a one-night stand; lit. love for one night
分手 分手 fēnshǒu to break up in a relationship; to bid farewell; lit. divide hands
兵变 兵變 bīngbiàn a mutiny; a relationship that breaks up during military service; lit. military change
zhuī to try to get a relationship with someone (as in 他還在追那個美妹嗎? "Is he still after that pretty girl?"); to pursue
狐狸精 狐狸精 húlíjīng a woman that steals another woman's man; lit. a fox spirit
母老虎 母老虎 mǔ lǎohǔ a dominant wife; lit. mother tiger
哇靠 哇靠 wākào exclamation: WOW! (also the title of a song by 周杰倫 Jay Zhou, a famous Taiwanese singer)
gàn to make love [vulgar]; used as a vulgar exclamation, equiv. "F**k!"; to do something, as in 幹活 "work"
干掉 幹掉 gàndiào to get rid of; to kill someone; lit. to do away
干你娘 幹你娘 gàn nǐ niang to have sex with your mother, very vulgar (never used in public unless speaker wants to appear boorish)
干嘛 幹嘛 gàn má exclamation, "What is it now?" or "What do you want now?", indicating irritation; why (impolite) (as in '你幹嘛花這麼多錢買這麼爛的東西? "Why would you spend so much money buying something as crappy as that?")
(他)妈的 (他)媽的 (ta1)ma1de5 exclamation, "Fuck!", "Shit!", "To hell with it!", "Damn it!"; used to increase vulgarity (as in 你也他媽的夠了吧! "You are really out of line!"); lit. his mom's
cào to fuck [vulgar] (from 肏 which has the same pronunciation); to exercise, drill (when pronounced cāo)
操你妈的屄 操你媽的屄 cāo nǐ mā de bī to fuck your mother's cunt [very vulgar] (never use in public, or for that matter, at home)
diǎo male reproductive organ; expression (mostly among guys) showing admiration or approval (as in 你很屌! "you're awesome!" or 超屌的! "far out!")
老外 老外 lǎowài foreigner (neutral connotation)
洋妞 洋妞 yáng niū foreign babe, foreign chick
阿都仔 阿都仔 ā dōu zǐ foreigner (Taiwan only)
同志 同志 tóngzhì gay or lesbian (normally "comrade" in a Communist context)
小姐 小姐 xiǎojiě girl working in a hostess bar; exclamation, used alone, "Waitress!"; prostitute; young woman
槟榔西施 檳榔西施 bīnláng xīshī a young, attractive girl, usually scantily clad, hired to sell betelnuts in street stalls (西施 is a classic beauty from Chinese history/myth); lit. betelnut beauty
杀价 殺價 shājià to haggle, to bargain (foreigners will always be forced to pay more, though)
动手 動手 dòngshǒu to begin doing something (e.g. 他开始动手了吗?); to touch, to handle; to hit someone with hands
动手脚 動手腳 dòng shǒujiǎo to sabotage something; to cheat by modifying something; to tinker with; lit. to move hands and feet
灌醉 灌醉 guàn zuì to fuddle, to confuse with alcohol; to get someone drunk
海量 海量 hǎiliàng to be capable of holding liquor (a highly valued asset in competitive drinking, a Chinese sport)
灌水 灌水 guànshuǐ to sell inferior goods that have been tampered with (business), for example, adding water to milk; to lose a game on purpose (sports)
黑货 黑貨 hēi huò goods that have been tampered with, potentially hazardous to health; smuggled goods; lit. black stuff, majorly used in China but Taiwan
拍马屁 拍馬屁 pái mǎ pì to flatter; lit. to align horse farts
拍拍屁股走 拍拍屁股走 pái pái pìgu zǒu to run away, to take off without caring for the consequences (while engaged in a relationship or project); lit. to line up the ass and go
条子 條子 tiáozi a police officer; a strip (esp. of paper), a note
内鬼 內鬼 nèi guǐ to steal; lit. within ghosts
饭桶 飯桶 fàntǒng a scallywag, a do-nothing; a guy who lives off his girlfriend; lit. a rice container
吃软饭 吃軟飯 chī ruǎnfàn to live off one's girlfriend; lit. to eat soft rice
毛毛的 毛毛的 máomáo de creepy, suspicious, causing goosebumps (as in 他那樣瞪我, 我都覺得毛毛的。 "The way he stared at me made me feel spooked.")
人情味 人情味 rénqíngwèi affection, humane, used to describe a friendly, caring atmosphere (as in 中國很有人情味。); lit. the smell of human feelings
累死了 累死了 lèi sǐle exhausted, worn out; lit. tired to the death
(老)油条 (老)油條 (lǎo) yóutiáo a deceitful, "slick" person (油條, fried wheat cruller, is a long stick of deep fried batter, a staple in China)
狗仔(队) 狗仔(隊) gǒuzǎi (duì) paparazzi; lit. dog puppy team
小强 小強 xiǎo qiáng cockroach; lit. little strong one
过头 過頭 guòtóu in excess (as in 睡过头, to oversleep)
赖床 賴床 lài chuáng to stay in bed (esp. too long), to not get up
昏昏欲睡 昏昏欲睡 hūn hūn yù shuì drowsy, sleepy
拖拖拉拉 拖拖拉拉 tuō tuō lā lā to be slow (esp. from reluctance); to procrastinate
湿达达(的) 溼答答(的) shī dá dá (de) soaking wet
A A ēi to steal (as in A錢, to steal money)
K書 K書 kēi shū study (as in pounding something into one's head)
SPP SPP sòng piào piào having no class (Taiwan only, based on Hoklo dialect)
A片 A片 ēi piàn a porn movie
咱们 咱們 zán men we, us (sometimes just 咱).

External linksEdit

  • Chinese Chat Codes - This page contains numeric codes used in chatting or pager messages similar to English acronyms like LOL (Laughing Out Loud) or BRB (Be Right Back).
  • Chinese Slang Dictionary - A dictionary of Chinese slang, colloquialisms, curses, vulgarities, dialects, and street talk that Chinese characters, pinyin romanization, and an English version.
Last modified on 2 April 2014, at 04:16