25 Funny Chinese Words And Phrases


One of the best ways to start learning a language is to start with its funny phrases. In some ways, you may actually get some insight into the culture as well. With Chinese, there are many funny phrases you can start with. What are some of the funny Chinese words and phrases?

Some of the most funny Chinese words and phrases include:

  • 落汤鸡 Luò Tāng Jī
  • 吹牛 Chūi Níu
  • 拍马屁 Pāi Mǎ Pì
  • 三脚猫 Sān Jiǎo Māo
  • 炒鱿鱼 Chǎo Yóu Yú
  • 摸鱼Mō Yú
  • 露马脚 Lòu Má Jiǎo
  • 废话 Fèi Huà
  • 装蒜 Zhuāng Suàn
  • 土豪 Tǔ Háo

This article explores 25 funny Chinese words and expressions you can use to improve your Chinese speaking skills, and sound like a native speaker.

25 Funny Chinese Words And Phrases 

WordHanyu PinyinMeaning
落汤鸡Luò Tāng JīAll wet and miserable, usually from catching rain.
吹牛Chūi NíuBragging, exaggerating about one’s abilities
拍马屁Pāi Mǎ PìFlattering, sucking up to higher-ups or bosses
三脚猫Sān Jiǎo MāoReferring to someone who cannot perform well.
炒鱿鱼Chǎo Yóu YúFired from job, retrenched
摸鱼Mō YúTo slack off and not perform well  at work
露马脚Lòu Má JiǎoExposed their true intentions, caught in the act
duangDuāngNo meaning, more as a sound effect similar to ‘tada’
废话Fèi HuàSpeaking nonsense, irrelevant things.
装蒜Zhuāng SuànPretending to be stupid, unaware
涂鸦Tú YǎTo doodle, make graffiti
土豪Tǔ HáoRich people from the countryside or small towns
有钱就是任性Yǒu Qián Jìu Shì Rèn XìngReferring to how rich people can simply do whatever they want
瞎话Xiā HuàTo lie
DiǎoCool, great, nice
吃醋Chī CùBecoming jealous
长舌妇Cháng Shé FùA woman who spreads gossip about others
LiáoFlirt
渣男Zhā NánPlayboy
暖男Nuǎn NánCaring, loving, gentleman
发神经Fā Shén JīngTo go crazy
二百五Èr Bái WǔSomeone foolish, stupid, not much common sense
闭嘴Bì ZhuǐShut up, stop talking
傻瓜Shǎ GuāSilly, foolish, naive
笨蛋Bèn DànStupid

These funny Chinese words and phrases should help you to improve your Chinese language skills. Feel free to try to use them to blend into conversations and use some to flirt with beautiful girls too. 

But, here’s a head’s up – some phrases here can be rude, so be careful when using them. You want to avoid language mishaps and then cause awkward situations. 

落汤鸡 – Luò Tāng Jī

The literal translation of 落汤鸡 (Luò Tāng Jī) means ‘chicken that has gotten into the soup.’ Usually, chicken in soup looks wet and drenched. 

The Chinese character 落 means ‘to drop,’ 汤 means ‘soup,’ and 鸡 means’ chicken.’

The actual meaning refers to how a person may look if they get wet. For example, if they are caught in heavy rain. They usually look wet, drenched, messy, and miserable, just like the chicken in the soup. 

吹牛 – Chūi Níu

The literal translation of 吹牛 (Chūi Níu) means ‘to blow at a cow.’ In actuality, it refers to bragging or exaggerating one’s abilities. 

You may relate that with someone discussing their ability to blow at a cow and make it move. However, you know that is rather impossible, which means the person exaggerates their abilities.

The word can be used in casual conversations with close friends. However, if used in some situations, it can carry negative meaning. This means you want to be careful when using this word.

拍马屁 – Pāi Mǎ Pì

拍马屁 (Pāi Mǎ Pì) refers to the action of slapping and tapping on the buttocks of a horse. The figurative meaning of the word, however, is more sinister. 

It actually means to suck up or kiss the bottom of someone. These people are usually bosses, superiors, and customers. Generally, this phrase can be rude, but if used correctly, it can be casually funny.

三脚猫 – Sān Jiǎo Māo

The word 猫 means a cat, while 三脚 means ‘three legs.’ This means the term 三脚猫 (Sān Jiǎo Māo) literally points to a “three-legged cat or a disabled cat.

Its figurative meaning actually does not refer to a disabled person but to a person’s skills. The term describes someone who is not skillful or cannot perform well. 

Suppose you and your friend want to watch a drama and see the actor suffering from stage fright. In this case, you can tell the other Chinese speakers that the actor is such a 三脚猫.

炒鱿鱼 – Chǎo Yóu Yú

On the surface, the term 炒鱿鱼 (Chǎo Yóu Yú) may be a little confusing. This is because it points to a 鱿鱼 (squid) being fried (炒).

However, the term is casually used to describe someone being fired from a job or retrenched. The term could be used rather casually and generally does not carry any offensive meaning. 

However, since losing a job is never a pleasant experience, use the word carefully to avoid language mishaps. 

摸鱼 – Mō Yú

The surface meaning for the word 摸鱼 – Mō Yú is to ‘touch a fish.’ The word 摸 means to touch, while 鱼 means fish. It is also a popular Chinese slang expression.

However, 摸鱼 actually has an alternate meaning. It refers to someone slacking off at work. This person may not be working but spending time on social media and watching YouTube videos. A more chronic version may include going out for coffee at work time.

露马脚 – Lòu Má Jiǎo

露马脚 (Lòu Má Jiǎo) could be broken down into three parts. The word 露 means to expose. The word 马 means horse, while 脚 means legs. Literally, 露马脚 means to explore the horse’s legs. 

The term actually refers to someone accidentally exposing their true intention. It could also refer to someone who failed to cover up their lies.

Duāng

Duāng in itself does not really have a meaning. In fact, it was a recent word that has become a meme or viral sensation. It is also used as Chinese internet slang by Chinese internet users.

The word started in 2004 when Jackie Chan said the word to create a ‘Tada’ or ‘Voila’ effect on a hair shampoo ad. The term has since been used similarly by many around China. 

The word currently does not have an official written form. The proposed character comprises Jackie Chan’s Chinese stage name (成龙) stacked on each other.

废话 – Fèi Huà

The term 废话 (Fèi Huà) points to the action of speaking rubbish. This is one of the few Chinese phrases with close literal and figurative meanings. 

In literal translation, it means to speak nonsensical, irrelevant things. For example, suppose you are to speak about how something is hard for someone with a never-say-die attitude. In this case, you may be speaking 废话 to his ears.

装蒜 – Zhuāng Suàn

In the word 装蒜 (Zhuāng Suàn), the character 装 means ‘to pretend,’ while the character 蒜 means ‘garlic.’ The literal meaning can be hard to guess since it’s hard to tell what ‘pretending to be a garlic’ means. 

The actual figurative meaning means to pretend to be unaware or not know something. This could be used in situations such as at work when you pretend you do not know how to do something when you actually know it.

涂鸦 – Tú Yā

The term 涂鸦 (Tú Yā) can also be broken down. The character 涂 means to draw, fill, or color. The term 鸦 means a crow. 

The term refers to doodling on books or making graffiti on the walls. The crow bird is used here because it is a common subject for many Chinese speakers when doodling. 

土豪 – Tǔ Háo

The phrase 土豪 (Tǔ Háo) has a rather similar meaning, literally and figuratively. The character 土 means ‘soil,’ while the character 豪 may mean ‘mighty, upper class, or powerful.’ 

In actuality, 土豪 refers to a person from the countryside that is very rich. Some may also be very powerful, with political connections. However, 土豪 in China usually has a unique sense of fashion and demeanor that makes them stand out when in big cities. 

Telltale ‘signs’ of a 土豪 include crude language, unpolished and brash demeanor, and ‘loud’ fashion statement, such as a huge, all-gold Rolex watch. Chinese people tend to think of 土豪 in a negative light.

有钱就是任性 – Yǒu Qián Jìu Shì Rèn Xìng

This is a long phrase that needs some breaking down. 有钱 means ‘to have money or wealth.’ The characters 就是 could be translated as ‘will be,’ while 任性 means to be ‘willful, demanding selfishly.’

You can roughly understand this Chinese expression as ‘if you have money, you can do whatever you want.’ 

In many cases, the phrase is used to describe the behavior of reckless, rude rich people when buying something. They may behave disrespectfully when they do not get what they want. 

However, they usually get away with it since customers usually buy expensive products or services. 

瞎话 – Xiā Huà

In this word, 瞎 means ‘blind,’ while 话 means ‘speak.’ The surface meaning of this word is to speak blindly about something. 

From the literal meaning, you should be able to guess its figurative meaning. It means to lie or to speak untruthful words. 

吃醋 – Chī Cù

The word 吃醋 (Chī Cù) can literally be described as ‘eating vinegar.’ The character 吃 means ‘to eat,’ while 醋 means ‘vinegar.’

Its figurative meaning, however, points to someone who becomes jealous. This may refer to things such as work, relationships, or seeing other people achieve success. 

吃醋 may have a rather negative connotation, which means you do not want to use it to describe envy. Envy has a more positive meaning than jealousy.

Funny Chinese Words

长舌妇 – Cháng Shé Fù

If we break down the word, 长 means ‘long,’ 舌 means ‘tongue,’ and 妇 means ‘married woman). Piece it together, and you get a ‘long-tongued woman.’

The term describes a woman who gossips or spreads rumors about other people. You can also use this to describe someone who cannot keep secrets or talk too much. They share things they should not even share.

For men, you can replace the character 妇 with 夫 (fū),which turns it into a ‘long-tongued man.’

撩 – Liáo

Casually, 撩 refers to the act of flirting. It specifically points to using pick-up lines to attract the attention of the opposite sex. 

Generally, this is done by Chinese men, although there has also been a rise in websites teaching Chinese girls how to use pick-up lines on men. 

A man that flirts is usually called 撩男(Liáo nán), while the girl that flirts are called 撩女(Liáo nü). The term may be used casually, without many negative connotations.

渣男 – Zhā Nán

From the word 渣男 (Zhā Nán), you may be able to tell the character 男 refers to man. The character 渣, however, points to ‘dreg, scum, or residue.’ 

In casual Chinese, 渣男 could be equated to the English expression of playboys or pick-up artists. These are men that manipulate the feelings of the girls they date. 渣男 may see it as a personal challenge to get the affection of their girls and then move on to the next one. 

暖男 – Nuǎn Nán

On the opposite end of 渣男, you have the 暖男. The character 暖 means warm and comfortable, which may tell you the figurative meaning of the word.

暖男 are generally affectionate men who take care of their girl well and are there to ensure she is comfortable and happy. 暖男 is usually soft-spoken, well-dressed, and caring.

发神经 – Fā Shén Jīng

In the word 发神经 (Fā Shén Jīng), you can break it down into two. The character 发 means ‘to start, initiate,’ while 神经 means ‘mental state, or behavior.’

In colloquial use, the word 发神经 may refer to someone who has lost his mind or has ‘gone mental.’ You can use it to describe someone acting out of control, erratically, or irrationally. 

二百五 – Èr Bái Wǔ

The term 二百五 (Èr Bái Wǔ) actually refers to the number 250. However, figurative use actually points to someone of low intelligence. You can also use it on someone who lacks common sense. 

This term originated from a small Chinese currency unit equivalent to 0.25 Yuan (about $0.03). This term may be derogatory, so you may want to be careful when using it. 

Funny Chinese Words

闭嘴 – Bì Zhuǐ

In this word, the character 闭 means ‘to shut, close off.’ The character 嘴 means ‘mouth.’ By now, you would know that this word means now. 

闭嘴 is often used as an imperative in order to ask someone to stop talking. In many cases, the word is used rather directly, which may be seen as rude. You want to use this word carefully to avoid ruffling feathers. 

傻瓜 – Shǎ Guā

Breaking down the word would give you a pretty good idea about what this means. The character 傻 means ‘foolish or silly,’ while 瓜 means ‘melons.’

The word 傻瓜 may sound derogatory. This is because it describes someone as foolish, senseless, and out of touch. The word also carries a sense of naivete rather than just simple mindlessness.

However, it may be used more generally in an affectionate way. This is because the character 瓜 refers to melon, which may be seen as cute in Chinese culture. In fact, 傻瓜 may even be used to flirt or sweet talk children.

笨蛋 – Bèn Dàn

The word 笨蛋 (Bèn Dàn) may be one of the rudest in this list, which means you really want to tread the caution line when using it. This is because nobody would like to be called 笨蛋.

The character 笨 means stupid, dim-witted, or slow in thinking. The character 蛋 means an egg. This means you are not just calling the person stupid. You are also calling the person an egg.

Wrapping Up

These list of funny Chinese words and phrases are cool expressions you can use to learn Chinese quickly. These phrases may just make your learning process easier, since Chinese can be one of the hardest language to learn.

You can integrate these phrases into your daily 5-minute learning ritual, or practice speaking it with someone. You can even find ways to practice these phrases while driving.

 

Dr. Nigel Ong

Dr. Nigel Ong has a Ph.D in Applied Linguistics. He started this website to share his interest and passion in languages, and language learning. He speaks four languages.

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