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,IMabbreviation: G8) = cock (used as early as theYuan Dynasty)
- jījī(simplified Chinese:鸡鸡;traditional Chinese:雞雞/鷄鷄,IM: GG) = roughly equivalent of “thingy” as it is the childish version of the above.
- jūju(具具), baby talk, “tool”.
- xiǎo dìdì(小弟弟) = roughly equivalent of “wee-wee” (lit. “little younger brother”)
- 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(屌or substituted by吊) = dick (the same character also means to have sexual intercourse in Cantonese)
- lǎo èr(老二) = penis (lit. “second in the family”, “little brother”)
There appear to be more words for vagina, which are more commonly used as insults than the ones for penis. These words are also more aggressive, and have negative connotations:
- bī(屄,逼,比,IM: B) = cunt
- èrbī(二屄) = fuck-up (lit. “double vagina”; general insult)
- shǎbī(傻屄) = stupid person (lit. “stupid cunt”)IM: SB
- sāobī(simplified Chinese:骚屄;traditional Chinese:騷屄) = bitch (lit. “lewd cunt”)
- chòubī(臭屄) = stinking cunt
- lànbī(simplified Chinese:烂屄;traditional Chinese:爛屄) = rotten cunt
- yīndào(simplified Chinese:阴道;traditional Chinese:陰道) = vagina (scientific)
- yīnhù(simplified Chinese:阴户;traditional Chinese:陰戶) = vulva (scientific)
- zhuāngbī(simplified Chinese:装屄;traditional Chinese:裝) = poser (lit. “pretending to be the cunt”)
- dà yí mā(大姨妈) = Literally “The Eldest Aunt”, a popular term which refers tomenstruation.
In addition to the above expressions used as insults directed against women, other insults involve insinuating that they are prostitutes:
- chòu biǎozi(臭婊子) = stinking whore
- mài dòufu(simplified Chinese:卖豆腐; literally “selling tofu”) is a euphemism for prostitution.
- xiǎojiě(小姐) = still means “Miss” in many contexts but now also connotes prostitute to many young women, as it suggests expressions likezuò xiǎojiě(做小姐) orsānpéi xiǎojiě(三陪小姐) , which refers tobargirlswho may also beprostitutes
- xiǎo lǎopó(小老婆) = mistress (lit. “little wife” or “little old(old in Chinese 老 doesn’t always refer to the age but some times ,as in this case, express the respect as many other words : 老虎（tiger），老公（husband），老外（foreigner），老板（boss）老师（master or teacher） ) woman”)
- 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).
- mīmī(咪咪; literally cat’s purring “meow meow”) is a euphemism for breast.
- mántóu(traditional Chinese:饅頭;simplified Chinese:馒头; literally “steamed bun”) also refers to a woman’s breasts; asmantouis typical of northern Chinese cuisine this term is used primarily in northern China.
- bō(波, literally “wave” or “undulating”, but sometimes suggested to be derived from “ball” which has a similar pronunciation) = boobs.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(Beijing slang)
- gege(Tianjin slang)
- bàorǔ(Chinese:爆乳; literally “busty breasts (literally “explosive breasts””) = big tits, likelyreborrowingfrom Japanese.
- fēijīchǎng(simplified Chinese:飞机场;traditional Chinese:飛機場; literally “airport”) = flat breasts
- háng kōng mǔ jiàn(航空母舰) – 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.
- júhuā(菊花; literally “chrysanthemums“) = anus. This word is mostly used by Chinese netizens.
- hóng rì(红日) – Beijing slang for an anus, literally meaning “red sun”, in reference to theFlag of Japan(in whichAnti-Japanese sentimentplays a major role in the insult), where the colour red may symbolize blood as a result of intercourse.
Malemasturbation, at least, has several vulgar expressions, in addition to two formal/scientific ones that refer to both male and female masturbation (shǒuyín手淫andzìwèi自慰):
- d? 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”)
- wán lǎo èr(玩老二) = male masturbation (lit., “play with little brother”)
- wǔdǎyī(五打一) = male masturbation (lit. “five beating one”)
- cào(肏/操) = to fuck (the Chinese character is made up of components meaning “to enter” and “the flesh”)
- gàn(幹/干) = to do = to fuck (alternatively搞gǎo, to do)
- rì(入) (literally “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 asrì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) = explode the anus, i.e., insert the penis into the anus
As in English, a vulgar word for the sexual act is used in insults and expletives:
- cào(肏/操) = fuck (the variant character肏was in use as early as theMing dynastyin the novelJin Ping Mei).操is usually erroneously 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(肏你祖宗十八代) = 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.”
Insulting someone’s mother is also common:
- cào nǐ māde= fuck your mother’s [cunt]
- tā māde(simplified Chinese:他妈的;traditional Chinese:他媽的,IM: TMD) = [fuck] his mother’s [cunt] (lit. “his mother’s”; in the 1920s the famous writerLu Xunjoked that this should be China’s national curse word)
- tā mā bāzi(simplified Chinese:他妈巴子;traditional Chinese:他媽巴子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(simplified Chinese:他妈的鸟;traditional Chinese:他媽的鳥) = goddamn it (lit. “his mother’s dick”;鸟/鳥literally is “bird”, but used here as a euphemism fordiǎo;屌; “penis”)
- qù nǐ nǎinaide(去你奶奶的) = your mom (lit. “go to your grandma”)
- qù nǐ māde(simplified Chinese:去你妈的;traditional Chinese:去你媽的) = your mom (lit. “go to your mom”)
- qù nǐde(去你的) = fuck off/shut the fuck up (milder)
- nǐmāde bī(simplified Chinese:你妈的屄;traditional Chinese:你媽的屄) = your mother’s cunt
- cào nǐ niáng(肏你娘) /cào nǐ mā(simplified Chinese:肏你妈;traditional Chinese:肏你媽) = fuck your mom
- gàn nǐ mā(simplified Chinese:干你妈;traditional Chinese:幹你媽) /gàn nǐ lǎo mǔ(simplified Chinese:干你老母;traditional Chinese:幹你老母) = fuck your mom
- gàn nǐ niáng(simplified Chinese:干你娘;traditional Chinese:幹你娘) = fuck your mother (Taiwanese Mandarin influenced by the regional language called Taiwanese, also “幹您娘”)
Turtles and eggs
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.” “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.
A “wángbādàn 忘/王八蛋” is the offspring “laid” by the unvirtuous woman. Why “laid”? Another meaning of 王八 is鼈biē, fresh-water turtle.Turtle heads reemerging from hiding in the turtle’s shell look like theglansemerging from theforeskin, 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.
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. Eggs are the progeny of turtles and other lower animals, so the word dàn (蛋) is a metonym for offspring.
- wángbā(王八) /wàngbā(忘八) = cuckold; this was an insult as early as theSong dynasty.
- wángbādàn(王八蛋,informal simplified:王八旦) /wàngbāgāozi(王八羔子) = bastard (lit. “turtle egg” and “turtle kid.”)
- guī sūnzi(simplified Chinese:龟孙子;traditional Chinese:龜孫子) /guī érzi(simplified Chinese:龟儿子;traditional Chinese:龜兒子) = bastard (lit. “turtle grandson” and “turtle son”)
- dài lǜmàozi(simplified Chinese:戴绿帽子;traditional Chinese:戴綠帽子) = to be a cuckold (lit. “wear a green hat,” supposedly because malebrothelworkers in theTang dynastyhad to wear green hats)
- 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 from two or more fertilized ova. This general condition is actually studied in moderngenetics.
- hún zhang wángbā dàn(simplified Chinese:混账王八蛋) = similar to turtle egg, see above.
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) orpìyǎnr(屁眼兒/屁眼儿), one expression for anus, is not vulgar, but it occurs in various curses involving animperforate anus:
- 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”; sometimesméi 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 withhemorrhoids“
- 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.尻originally meant “butt.”)
- 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 theAnalects of Confuciuswhere 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 it said that they “are old and yet they (will not=) refuse to die.”
- lǎo tóuzi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.
As in the West, highly sexual women have been stigmatized. There are no negative terms for a man who sleeps around.
- húli jīng(狐狸精) = bitch (overly seductive woman; lit. “fox spirit”)
- sānbā(三八) = airhead, braggart, slut (lit. “three eight”). Used to insult women. One derivation claims that at one point in theQing 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 8th:International Women’s Day.
- gōng gòng qì chē(公共汽车) = slut (lit. “public bus”) used for a women who sleeps around, as in “everyone has had a ride”
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;吹牛皮, which means “to brag”). This phrase also has many alternative forms, includingNB,牛B,牛比,牛鼻(“cow’s nose”), as well as alternative pronunciations such as牛叉/牛Xniúchā. It can also just be shortened to牛.
- diǎo(屌) /niǎo(simplified Chinese:鸟;traditional Chinese:鳥) = cock; this was an insult as long ago as theJin Dynasty. Now it sometimes also means “fucking cool” or “fucking outrageous”, thanks in large part to the pop starJay Chou. Because of the substitution of “niǎo” which meansbird, sometimes English-speaking Chinese inMalaysiasometimes use “birdie” as an 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”.
- hùnzhàng(simplified Chinese:混账;traditional Chinese:混賬) = prick
- hùndàn(混蛋/simplified Chinese:浑蛋;traditional Chinese:渾蛋) = prick
- hūndàn(昏蛋) = prick
- hùnqiú(混球) = prick
Perhaps due to the influence ofwángbādàn(王八蛋),dàn(蛋; “egg”) is used in a number of other insults in addition tohùndàn(混蛋):
- bèndàn(笨蛋) = dummy, fool (lit. “dumb egg”)
- dǎodàn(倒蛋/simplified Chinese:捣蛋;traditional Chinese:搗蛋) = “to cause trouble”
- gǔndàn(simplified Chinese:滚蛋;traditional Chinese:滾蛋) = get lost!
- huàidàn(simplified Chinese:坏蛋;traditional Chinese:壞蛋) = bad egg
- hútú dàn(糊涂蛋) = confused/clueless person (a sucker)
- qíongguāng dàn(simplified Chinese:穷光蛋;traditional Chinese:窮光蛋) = a poor/penniless person
The wordguā(瓜; melon or gourd) is also used in insults:
- shǎguā(傻瓜; alsoshǎzi,傻子) = dummy, fool (in use as early as theYuan Dynasty)
- dāiguā(呆瓜; alsodāizi,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.
- Fèi(simplified Chinese:废,traditional Chinese:廢; “to discard as useless”) appears in a number of insults:
- liúmáng(Chinese:流氓) = scoundrel or pervert (the word originally meantvagrant); often used by women to insult men who make aggressive advances
- nāozhǒng(simplified Chinese:孬种;traditional Chinese:孬種= coward, useless, or weak person.
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”.
- 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 termsājiào(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 thetildeas anInternet memereflects the popularization of this style of speaking, which is often perceived by Westerners as being cute or seductive.
- niángpào(娘炮) = same as娘娘腔(above)
- tàijiàn(太监) orgōnggong(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.
Other insults accuse people of lacking qualities expected of a human being:
- chùsheng(畜生) = 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(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!”)
Sǐ(死; “dead”, “cadaverous,” or, less precisely, “damn(ed)”) is used in a number of insults:
- sǐ guǐ(死鬼) lit., “dead imp,” “dead demon,”
- sǐ sānbā(死三八) /chòu sānbā(臭三八), lit., stinking (derogatory term for woman =) bitch
- sǐ bùyàoliǎn(simplified Chinese:死不要脸;traditional Chinese:死不要臉) = shameless (lit.: “[you] shameless corpse”)
- qù sǐ(去死) = go die
- 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.
The words “屎” (shǐ) (= turd, dung), “粪” (fèn) (= manure, excrement) and “大便(= 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” (放屁; lit. “to fart”) is an expletive in Mandarin:
- qù chī dàbiàn(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.)
- 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 theYuan 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
- mǐ tián gòng(米田共) – A play on the writing of “糞” (the traditional form of “粪” (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 inClassical Chinesethat means, “His words are [nothing but] excrement.” (See Giles,A Chinese-English Dictionary.)
- shǐ bǎ ba(屎or屎??)– Children’s slang term for faeces, similar to English “poo” or “brownie”. A variant of this term is?? (bǎ ba), while便便(biàn bian) is also used as a children’s term, albeit less frequently used.
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 bitch”)
- gǒu pì(狗屁) = bullshit, nonsense (lit. “dog fart”; in use as early as 1750 in the Qing Dynasty novelRu Lin Wai Shi(The Scholars)
- gǒu pì bù tōng(狗屁不通) dog fart + does not (come out at the end of the tube =) communicate= incoherent, nonsensical
- 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 (fromLiu 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 theSong dynasty. Due to Western influence, as well as the similar sound, this has become a synonym forbullshitin some circles.
- gǒuzázhǒng(simplified Chinese:狗杂种;traditional Chinese:狗雜種) = literally “mongrel dog,” a variation onzázhǒng(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.
- gǒutuǐzi(狗腿子) /gǒutuǐ(狗腿) = variant ofzǒugǒu(走狗) (lit. “running dog” or “dog legs”; this term was often used in the 20th century by communists to refer to client states of the United States and other capitalist powers)
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)
- mǎzi(Chinese:马子; literally “horse”) = a derogatory word for girlfriend. (Possibly influenced by U.S. slang, “filly,” used for any girl.)
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”)
Some expressions are harder to explain:
- èrbǎiwǔ(二百五) = stupid person/idiot (see250)
- shūdāizi, (书呆子)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.
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 fromTianjin, 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(什么鸟) – From the northeasternHeilongjiang, 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 slangfor a good-for-nothing; klutz. Literally “double-ended sword”, considered a concept which is useless.
- xiǎomì(小蜜) –Beijing slangfor a special female friend, often used with negative connotations.
As in any language, Chinese has specific terms and racial slurs for different ethnicities, governments and backgrounds.
- yáng guǐzi(Chinese:洋鬼子) “Foreign devil”, a slur forWhite people
- guǐlǎo(Chinese:鬼佬) Borrowed from Cantonese “Gweilo“, “ghost” or “ghost guy”, a slur for white people
- hóng máo guǐzi(Chinese:红毛鬼子) “Red hair devil”, rude slang term for Caucasians, especially Anglos
- máo zi(Chinese:毛子) Ethnic slur againstRussians. (Literally “hairs”.) Alternatively 红毛子 (hóng máo zi, red (communist) hairs), 俄毛子 (é máo zi,Rushairs). 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.
- 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 21,000,000 results as of August 2007). 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”.
- 日本鬼子 (Rìběn guǐzi) — Literally “Japanese devils”. This is used mostly in the context of theSecond Sino-Japanese War, when Japan invaded and occupied large areas of China. This is the title ofa Japanese documentary on Japanese war crimes during WWII.
- 倭(Wō) — This was an ancientChinesename 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. SeeWa (Japan).
- 倭寇 (Wōkòu) — Originally referred to Japanese pirates and armed sea merchants who raided the Chinese coastline during theMing Dynasty(seeWokou). The term was adopted during theSecond Sino-Japanese Warto refer to invading Japanese forces, (similarly toGermansbeing calledHuns). The word is today sometimes used to refer to all Japanese people in extremely negative contexts.
- 日本狗 (Rìběn gǒu, Cantonese: Yat Boon Gau) — Literally “Japanese dogs”. The word is used to refer to all Japanese people in extremely negative contexts.
- 大腳盆族 (dà jiǎo pén zú) – Ethnic slur towards Japanese used predominantly by Northern Chinese, mainly those from the city ofTianjin. Literally “Big Feet Bowl Race”.
- 黃軍 (huáng jūn) – Literally “Yellow Soldier(s)”, used during World War II to representImperial Japanese soldiersdue 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), 黃軍 is also often used to pull jokes on Chinese people with these characteristics, and thus “appear like” Japanese soldiers.
- 自慰队 (zì wèi duì) – A pun on the homophone “自卫队” (zì wèi duì, literally “Self-Defence Forces”, seeJapan Self-Defense Forces), the definition of 慰 (wèi) used is “to comfort”. This phrase is used to refer to Japanese (whose military force is known as “自卫队”) beingstereotypically hypersexual, as “自慰队” means “Self-comforting Forces”, referring tomasturbation.
- 高丽棒子 (Gāolì bàng zǐ) – Derogatory term used against all ethnic Koreans. 高丽 (Traditional: 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 toSouth Korea) is also used.
- 死棒子 (sǐ bàng zǐ) – Literally “dead club” or “dead corncob”; refer to 高丽棒子 above.
- 二鬼子 (èr guǐ zǐ) – (See日本鬼子) DuringWorld War II, 二鬼子 referred tohanjianandKoreansin theImperial 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. This is also due to Koreans and Japanese being similar in appearance to Japanese, and many Chinese believing that Koreans are copying Japanese culture.
- 印度阿三 (Yìndù ā sān) – Ethnic slur againstIndians. “A” is avocative, 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 locution.
- 阿差 (ā chā) – Similar to the above, this ethnic slur is common among the Cantonese speaking crowd especially those from Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Originally referring to the Punjabi “singhs” security force who used to work for the British government during colonial era. Nowadays all Indians and Pakistanis are indiscriminately called “ā chā”.
- 台巴子 (tái bāzi) – Slur originating from the city ofShanghai, 台巴子 refers to Taiwanese, especially advocates ofTaiwan independence. “Bazi” can mean a clitoris or (in baby-talk) a “wee-wee” (the penis of a little boy).
- 共匪 (gòngfei) – Literally “Communist Bandits” referring to Mainlanders. The term has been in use since theChinese Civil Warby theKuomintangagainst theChinese Communist Party, however today reflects the rifts in cross-strait relations.
- 老黑 (lǎo hēi) – Literally “Old Black”, Anti-African racial slur. Essentially the same as coon, porch monkey, or jungle bunny.
- 黑鬼子 (hēi guǐzi) – Literally “Black devil”, Anti-African/black people slur similar tonigger.
- 黑鬼 (hēi guǐ) – Same as 黑鬼子.
- 印泥巴 or 印尼巴 (bothyìn ní ba) – a play on “印尼” (Indonesia) and “泥巴” (mud), where 尼/泥 are homophones, thus paralleling Indonesians with dirtiness.
There are various circumlocutions in Mandarin Chinese forhomosexual, and the formal terms are recent additions just as is the direct translation of “masturbation” (hand soiling).
Duànxiù(simplified Chinese:断袖;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.)
Yútáo(simplified Chinese:余桃;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. (FromHan Fei Zi,chapter 12)
Bōlí(玻璃, glass)– lit., “glass” person. It comes from a passage in theDream of the Red Chamberin 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(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.
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.