100 Chinese Slang Words You Won’t Learn From Your Textbook [1-10]

In Chinese Culture, Practical Chinese Phrases by Angel Huang1 Comment

This is part 1 of a 10 part series in which you'll learn a total of 100 Mandarin Chinese slang words and expressions!

How do you say that you're "dirt poor" in Chinese? And what do you call a girl or boyfriend who's "overly dramatic"..?  

These are some of the expressions we cover in this very first part of my Chinese slang series.

Let's get started!


Common Chinese Slang Words [1-10]

装逼 zhuāng bī

To pretend to be something you're not. (e.g. cool, rich or capable)

See examples of how to use 装逼 zhuāng bī in conversation:

Dialogue Transcript 

Example 1:

A: 瞧!这 是 我 的 新 车。酷 吧?qiáo! zhè shì wǒ de xīn chē. kù bɑ? Look! This is my new car. It's cool, right?

B: 没有了。其实,我在装逼。这才是我的车。méi yǒu le. qí shí, wǒ zài zhuānɡ bī. zhè cái shì wǒ de chē. No, it isn't my car... Actually, I'm pretending to be cool. This is my car.

Example 2:

A: 我会讲法语,日语,西班牙语,葡萄牙语,还有意大利语。wǒ huì jiǎnɡ fá yǔ, rì yǔ, xī bān yá yǔ, pú táo yá yǔ, hái yǒu yì dà lì yǔ. I can speak French, Japanese, Portuguese and Italian. 

A: Bonjour! こんにちは! Hola! Oi! Ciao! Hello!

B: 装逼了!你只会中文。bié zhuānɡ bī le!nǐ zhǐ huì zhōnɡ wén. Don't pretend to be cool. You can only speak Chinese.

二货 èr huò

an idiot/ a fool/ a stupid person 

See examples of how to use 二货 èr huò in conversation:

Dialogue Transcript

Example 1:

A: 你知道1加1等于多少吗?nǐ zhī dào 1 jiā 1 děng yú duō shǎo ma ?Do you know what 1+1 is?

B: 一,二,三,四... 等于... yī ,èr ,sān ,sì ... děng yú ... 1,2, 3, 4…is...

真是个二货!zhēn shì gè èr huòShe really is an idiot.

Example 2:

A: 你知道怎么用筷子吗?nǐ zhī dào zěn me yòng kuài zǐ ma ?Do you know how to use chopsticks?

B: 这还要问!你真是个二货!zhè hái yào wèn !nǐ zhēn shì gè èr huòWhy are you asking me this? You really are an idiot!

牛 niú 

awesome/ amazing / really cool 

(literal meaning: cow)

See examples of how to use 牛 niú in conversation:

Dialogue Transcript

Example 1:

A: 瞧!这是我这个月的业绩!qiáo !zhè shì wǒ zhè gè yuè de yè jì !Look! Here’s my "performance" for this month.

B: 哇,五百万!你真!wa ,wǔ bǎi wàn !nǐ zhēn niúWow! 5 million! You’re really awesome!

Example 2:

A: 我一天就学会了100个汉字!wǒ yī tiān jiù xué huì le 100gè hàn zì !I learned 100 Chinese characters in a day.

B: 哇!你太了!wa !nǐ tài niú le !Wow! You’re freaking awesome!

  zuō  

dramatic (and troublesome)

(literal meaning: cow)

See examples of how to use   zuō  in conversation:

Dialogue Transcript

Example 1:

A: 唉!āi !Sigh!

B: 怎么了?zěn me le ?What’s up?

A: 我男朋友说要和我分手,他说再也不想看到我了!wǒ nán péng yǒu shuō yào hé wǒ fèn shǒu ,tā shuō zài yě bú xiǎng kàn dào wǒ le !My boyfriend said he wanted to break up with me. He said he didn’t want to see me anymore!

B: 没事!你会遇到更好的。méi shì !nǐ huì yù dào gèng hǎo de. Don’t worry… You’ll find a better one!

哟!我男朋友说:”宝宝,你为什么不发微信给我,求我原谅?” yō !wǒ nán péng yǒu shuō :”bǎo bǎo ,nǐ wéi shí me bú fā wēi xìn gěi wǒ ,qiú wǒ yuán liàng ?” Yo! My boyfriend says: “Baby, How come you don’t send me a Wechat message? And beg me to forgive you?”

A: 靠!你男朋友也太了吧!kào !nǐ nán péng yǒu yě tài zuō le ba !Damn! Your boyfriend is so dramatic (and troublesome!)

萌 méng   

cute

See examples of how to use 萌 méng  in conversation:

Dialogue Transcript

Example 1:

我很喜欢这个娃娃啊!wǒ hěn xǐ huān zhè gè wá wá ā !I really like this doll.

啊!我也好喜欢!hǎo méng ā !wǒ yě hǎo xǐ huān !It’s really cute. I really like it too!

好萌!hǎo méng !It’s really cute.

Example 2:

看!我的小狗!kàn !wǒ de xiǎo gǒu !Look! Here’s my dog.

啊!hǎo méng ā !It’s really cute.

男神 nán shén vs
女神 nǚ shén  

An ideal man/ the epitome of a man vs An ideal woman/ the epitome of a woman 

See examples of how to use 男神 nán shén vs 女神 nǚ shén  in conversation:

Dialogue Transcript

Example 1:

A: 高以翔,他又高又帅,而且他很会做饭!gāo yǐ xiáng ,tā yòu gāo yòu shuài ,ér qiě tā hěn huì zuò fàn !Gao Yixiang… He is tall and handsome. He’s also good at cooking.

B: 就是就是!他就是我的男神!jiù shì jiù shì !tā jiù shì wǒ de nán shénExactly! He is my ideal man!

Example 2:

A: 你有看过高圆圆的新电影吗?nǐ yǒu kàn guò gāo yuán yuán de xīn diàn yǐng ma ?Have you seen Gao Yuanyuan’s new movie?

B: 你说呢?我怎么可能错过我女神演的电影呢?nǐ shuō ne ?wǒ zěn me kě néng cuò guò wǒ nǚ shén yǎn de diàn yǐng ne ?What do you think? How could I have missed a movie that featured my “ideal woman”/”the epitome of woman”?

靠谱 kào pǔ

reliable/ reasonable

See examples of how to use 靠谱 kào pǔ in conversation:

Dialogue Transcript

Example 1:

他的计划书很靠谱,我们可以试一试。tā de jì huá shū hěn kào pǔ ,wǒ men kě yǐ shì yī shì. His proposal is reasonable. Let’s give it a try!

Example 2:

我觉得他很真诚,是个靠谱的朋友。wǒ jué de tā hěn zhēn chéng ,shì gè kào pǔ de péng yǒu. I think he’s an honest and reliable friend.

小鲜肉 xiǎo xiān ròu vs
老腊肉 lǎo là ròu

A young and handsome guy  vs An old, handsome, and experienced man 

(literal meaning: small fresh meat)  vs (literal meaning: tough cured meat)

See examples of how to use 小鲜肉 xiǎo xiān ròu vs 老腊肉 lǎo là ròu in conversation:

Dialogue Transcript

Example 1:

A: 听说Angel终于找到男朋友了。听说还是个小鲜肉呢!tīng shuō Angelzhōng yú zhǎo dào nán péng yǒu le. tīng shuō hái shì gè xiǎo xiān ròu ne !I heard that Angel finally found a boyfriend. I heard that her boyfriend is a young and handsome guy.

B: 什么?小鲜肉怎么会看上她呢?shén me ?xiǎo xiān ròu zěn me huì kàn shàng tā ne ?What? How come that young and handsome guy is into her?

Angel: 别听他们胡说!我只喜欢老腊肉。成熟有魅力的那种!bié tīng tā men hú shuō !wǒ zhī xǐ huān lǎo là ròu. chéng shú yǒu mèi lì de nà zhǒng !Don’t listen to their bullshit! I’m only into old, handsome, and experienced men. The mature and charming type.

吐槽 tù cáo

to complain/ to roast/ to criticize

See examples of how to use 吐槽 tù cáo in conversation:

Dialogue Transcript

Example 1:

大家都吐槽这部电影不好看!dà jiā dōu tù cáo zhè bù diàn yǐng bú hǎo kàn !Everyone has been complaining that this movie is bad.

Example 2:

我老爸每天都在吐槽我老妈做的饭太难吃了!wǒ lǎo bà měi tiān dōu zài tù cáo wǒ lǎo mā zuò de fàn tài nán chī le! Everyday my dad complains that the food my mom cooks is terrible.

吃土 chī tǔ

To be dirt poor (literal meaning: eat dirt)

See examples of how to use 吃土 chī tǔ in conversation:

Dialogue Transcript

Example 1:

A: 哟!Angel, 我们一起去逛街吧!yō !Angel, wǒ men yī qǐ qù guàng jiē ba !Yo! Angel, let’s go shopping!

B: 我不去了,我现在穷得只能吃土了!wǒ bú qù le ,wǒ xiàn zài qióng dé zhī néng chī tǔ le !I’m not going. I’m dirt broke now!

Example 2:

A: 看!我的新手机!kàn !wǒ de xīn shǒu jī !Look! My new phone!

B: 哇塞!你真有钱啊!wa sāi !nǐ zhēn yǒu qián ā !Wow! You’re so rich!

A: 才没有了。我的钱都花完了,我要吃土了!cái méi yǒu le. wǒ de qián dōu huā wán le ,wǒ yào chī tǔ le !Not at all! I spent all my money. I’m dirt broke.

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