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Home  /  Language Center  /  Modern Chinese Slang - 俚语   /  Common Slang
Common Slang print version
海龟
hǎiguī
'Sea turtle', a nickname for Chinese who returned to China after studying overseas
变态
biàntài
Abnormal, perverted
酒鬼
jiǔguǐ
'Wine ghost', alcoholic, drunkard.
吹牛
chuī niú
'Blow cows'; brag, talk big.
小资
xiǎo zī
'Small capitalist'; this expression refers to people, who because of being well-off financially, have time to fulfill their hobbies and 'sophisticated' activities, and aren't worried about their consuming capabilities and money issues. The character '小' (small) indicated that this word is expressed in a negative manner (or at least a jealous one).
细腻
xì nì
'Fine and smooth', in slang this word refers to woman-related topics and female style (细腻 can describe, for example a certain book or a song, meaning that they have a soft, female-oriented style).
大女人/ 小女人
dà nǔrén, xiǎo nǔrén
'Big woman', 'small woman': The first is an independent girl who can handle most tasks by herself, while 'small woman' is a girl that often relies on her husband (or boyfriend) or on other people to assist her, and cannot manage things on her own.
揭伤疤
jiē shāng bā
'Uncover a scar' - To remind someone of something painful or 'traumatic' ('to rub salt into the wound'); could be said in a serious or humorous manner.
小家碧玉
xiǎo jiā bìyù
'Small family's jade' - A pretty girl of a humble family, a spoiled girl, parents' little princess, etc.
骨感美人
gǔ gǎn měirén
A woman as skinny as a skeleton.
一夜情
yī yè qíng
'One night feeling'; one night stand, a one night love affair.
添油加醋
tiān yóu jiā cù
'Add oil and vinegar', adding spice; to embroider the facts, to add false facts to a story.
丑小鸭
chǒu xiǎo yā
'Ugly duckling', an ugly looking girl.
白天鹅
báitiān é
'White swan', a beautiful woman.
黑社会
hēi shèhuì
'Black society'; criminal underworld, mafia.
香蕉人
xiāngjiāo rén
'Banana People' - Chinese living overseas (华侨) and who have lost any true Chinese trait. They are like a banana: Yellow (Chinese) on the outside while white (western) on the inside.
In normal speech meaning 'soil' or 'land', in slang 土 means 'outmoded', 'crude' or 'unsophisticated'.
小动作
xiǎodòngzuò
Small trick, maneuver - Usually associated to small dirty moves, such as a work companion who subtly blames someone else for a fault he committed, or a soccer player who conducts small annoying fouls, unnoticed by the referee.
小混混
xiǎohùnhùn
A young bum/loafer/idler. Usually said on young annoying people, who have nothing better to do than to hang out, make noise and bother people who pass by.
不见棺材不掉泪,不到黄河不死心
bùjiàn guāncái bù diào lèi, bù dào huánghé bùsǐxīn
'Doesn't come to tears before seeing the coffin, doesn't give up before seeing the yellow river - A stubborn person who doesn't think a head and doesn't listen to warnings said to him when performing a certain task.
好马不吃回头草
hǎo mǎ bù chī huítóu cǎo
'A good horse doesn't eat the grass that has already been chewed' - A metaphor for moving forward and not going back to situation with no real potential, such as an unsatisfying workplace, or an unrewarding relationship.
天涯何处无芳草
tiān yá héchǔ wú fāng cǎo
'Everywhere in the corners of earth there are no fragrant plants' - There are many fish in the sea, there are many new opportunities waiting ahead!
给你点颜色看看
gěi nǐ diǎn yánsè kàn kàn
I will teach you a lesson, I will punish you (can be said seriously or in humor).
男人四十一朵花,女人四十豆腐渣
nánrén sìshí yī duǒ huā, nǔrén sìshí dòufu zhā
'Men of 40 are a blooming flower, women of 40 are dregs of beancurd' - A phrase which signifies the fact that in a certain age women are considered old and over-the-hill while men are still considered attractive.
死要面子活受罪
sǐ yào miànzi huó shòu zuì
'Want to keep one's face in death though endure hardship in life' - One who only cares about his face and reputation, even with the price of neglecting more basic needs.
刀子嘴豆腐心
dāozi zuǐ dòufu xīn
'A knife-like mouth, a beancurd-like heart' - A sharp tongue, but a soft heart, usually describing a woman which is tough on the outside yet has a soft heart.
上刀山,下油锅
shàng dāo shān, xià yóu guō
'Above there's a mountain of swords, underneath there's a frying pan' - Doing something in very difficult conditions. Realizing an ultimate goal despite severe challenges.
坐冷板凳
zuò lěng bǎndèng
'Sit in the cold on a bench' - Wait in vain for someone who isn't coming.
戴绿帽子
dài lù màozi
'Wear a green hat' - A man being shamed by a woman (normally his lover or wife).
背黑锅
bēi hēi guō
Be blamed for an offense one hasn't committed, be made a scapegoat.
左耳朵进右耳朵出
zuǒ ěrduo jìn yòu ěrduo chū
'Goes in through the left ear and gets out from the right one' - Don't listen carefully to the words another person has said.
吃不到葡萄说葡萄酸
chī bù dào pútao shuō pútao suān
'Can't eat grapes, but say that they are sour' - Saying that something is negative only after one cannot obtain it nor enjoy it.
不到长城非好汉
bù dào chángchéng fēi hǎo hàn
'One who hasn't visited the Great Wall isn't considered a decent man'. Very straightforward meaning.
她的字很漂亮
tā de zì hěn piàoliang
'Her writing is pretty' - Slang for a very ungly looking woman.
她很守柜距
tā hěn shǒu guì jù
'She strongly obeys the rules' - Slang for an ugly looking woman.
她很爱国
tā hěn ài guó
'She is patriotic' - A slang for a woman who looks plain.
大智若愚
dà zhì ruò yú
A wise person may seem stupid - Can be said on someone else or as a come-back, when being accused of looking dumb.
乡巴佬
xiāng bā lǎo
Hick, out of style
Cool, fashionable
妓女
jìnǔ
Prostitute
随便
suí biàn
随便 means 'casual' in everyday speech, though if a girl is said to be '随便' then this means she isn't fussy about guys and she is one who goes out or sleeps with plenty of men.
傻瓜
shǎ guā
'Stupid melon' - Fool, Idiot. A very light curse word.
王八蛋
wáng bā dàn
'Turtle's egg' - Bastard.
神经病
shén jīng bìng
'Mental sickness' - Crazy. 你神经病了 (nǐ shénjīngbìng le) - Your'e crazy!
他妈的!
tā mā de!
'His mom's' - Fuck!, Damn it!
该死!
gāi sǐ
'Should die' - Damn it!
火大
huǒ dà
'Big fire', meaning bad temper, anger. 我火大了 (wǒ huǒ dà le) = I'm very mad!
个屁
gè pì
This is a slang form for negating an adjective or any opinion expressed by someone else. For example if someone says 下雨天真好 (a rainy day is really good) you can say 好个屁! (hǎo gè pì), meaning 'nonsense, it sucks!' All you have to do is combine an adjective or an argument with 个屁! and you have a cynical and funny statement.
二百五
èrbǎi wǔ
A bimbo
四九
sì jiǔ
A simple soul, someone who delivers a message without paying attention to its content.
长舌妇/男
chángshé fù / nán
‘Long tongued woman/man’ - a gossipmonger, blabbermouth.
洋鬼子
yáng guǐ zǐ
‘Foreign devil’, referred to Caucasian westerners.
心里有鬼
xīnlǐ yǒu guǐ
‘There’s a ghost inside your heart’, Your conscience is bothering you.
老牛吃嫩草
lǎo niú chī nèn cǎo
‘An old cow eats tender grass’, referring to old men dating young women.
单身女郎
dān shēn nǔ láng
Unmarried woman, unmarried maiden.
花花公子
huā huā gōng zǐ
Dandy guy, playboy
来电
lái diǎn
Electrification, love at first sight.
混混
hùn hùn
A rascal person who will do anything for money.
单身贵族
dān shēn guìzú
Literally meaning single aristocrat, used to describe a happy single guy.
全垒打
quán lěi dǎ
‘Home run’- Just like US Americans, Chinese describe dating achievements by first (一垒打), second and third base, as well as home-run,

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