Guest Blog: 11 Common Chinese Slang Words

Have you ever found yourself thinking and wondering what somebody meant when he or she used a certain phrase? For instance, if your friend told you to “belt up”, what does he or she mean? Or if he or she said you are “cheeky”. Although these phrases are pure English and you are from the US, you’d be left wondering what your friend meant.

This is because slang words originated from the United Kingdom. Therefore, it can be quite difficult for you to understand what the other person is saying.

Learning and understanding slang is not as easy as most people think because of its informality. In most cases, slang is passed through word of mouth and not writing. Also, it’s normally restricted to a few people and this makes it difficult to learn.

If you want to communicate with a native speaker, it’s crucial for you to learn and understand slang. While learning slang is tricky, it can be an exciting and rewarding process in the long run because you’ll not only understand native speakers clearly but also become a fluent speaker. You’ll understand the true world language and get away from Chinese textbooks.

According to a report by an best essay writer, the rapid advancement of technology has made it easier for you to understand the meaning of slang words without having to ask anyone for help. Technology can keep you entertained and informed while others struggle with textbooks.

Today, we are going to discuss the fifteen common Chinese slang words in the 21st century. You’ll be amazed by the phrases and their meanings. But first, let’s discuss why leaning Chinese slang is important.

Importance of Learning Chinese Slang

If you’ve ever learnt any new language, you’ve probably discovered that the textbook version is quite limited in many respects. People who learn a new language using textbooks alone can only communicate with learned people in the city.

When it comes to communicating with locals, these people have a very hard time. Learning a new language effectively requires you to go out and talk to all types of people. When you talk to different kinds of people regularly, you will build your vocabulary overtime. And your vocabulary will include slang.

According top essay writing services, learning slang can help you avoid embarrassments. There is nothing as embarrassing as your friends talking about the person they met last night only for you to start talking about your cat or dog. Since culture and language is changing regularly, it’s important to keep up with the Chinese Slang.

You can do this by listening attentively and figuring out the meaning. Since speaking Chinese with your friends is quite different from formal or classroom language, texting or communicating with your Chinese friends online will vary depending on what you’ve been studying.

If you are new to Chinese language, slang is not something preserved for experienced communicators. You should start learning them as early as possible. If you are having a hard time understanding what other people are saying, it’s best to look for a guide who understands the meanings. All the slang words discussed below have clear explanations to help you understand them clearly.

Development of Chinese Slang

Several years back, a huge portion of Chinese slang words were developed by listening to ancient stories which were passed down from generation to generation. The rapid advancement of technology has led to the rise of new forms of communication such as texting which have led to further advancement of language.

According to Assignment Masters, one of the key traits of Chinese slang is the tonal aspect. From the beginning, learners have to understand and master the four tones of Chinese language. Mispronouncing a word can lead to a change in meaning. Fortunately, the new generation has used this weakness to their advantage.

When mixed with English meanings, the Chinese characters start taking new meanings. For instance, a phrase like 玻璃 (bo li– glass) is now used in reference to a gay lover. This happened because gay lovers are called “boy love” which is abbreviated as “BL”.

When you type “BL” on your phone, you’ll see this phrase showing up (玻璃). This is how slang phrases are created by the younger generation in China. Here are fifteen common Chinese slang words.

1. 250

This term is used to refer to a moron or idiot. It originated from the ancient Chinese stories. In ancient China, copper coins contained holes which were used to string them together. One thousand coins stringed together was popularly known as “diào”. People used to refer to idiots as half a diào. Chinese scholars went a mile ahead by breaking the half into another half (250).

2. 阿猫阿狗 (a mao a gou)

This is a common phrase in China which means the same as Tom, Dick and Harry. In essence, it means everyone. In ancient china, the words a mao and a gou were used as people’s nicknames.

3. 算了 (suan le)

This slang means to forget something. It is normally used in different situations to refer to different things. It can mean a casual “whatever” or letting go of something.

4.去你的! (qu ni de!)

This phrase can be used in several different situations. It can mean a playful “go away” or something very offending like “off with you!!” As uk writers recommends, you should be careful when using this phrase to avoid offending your loved ones.

5. 不咋的 (bu za di)

In short, bu za di means awful or not that great. It can be used to describe a location, situation or people.

6. 爱谁谁 (ai shei shei)

This phrase is used when someone has a nonchalant attitude. It means “do what you want” or “who cares”. It’s very popular in Beijing because it originated from there.

7. 丑八怪 (chou ba guai)

This is one the phrases you should be careful when using in China. It is normally used when someone is trying to describe an ugly person in an extreme way.

8. 花心 (hua xin)

The direct translation of this phrase is “flower heart”. However, it used when a person is referring to “wandering eyes”. It’s normally used to describe men however; it can be used to describe women as well. When someone uses it in a phrase he or she might be referring to someone who is unfaithful in a relationship.

9. 土 (tu)

If you are still learning how to speak Chinese, you probably know the meaning of this word as “dirt”. It’s normally used to describe a person who does not have a sense of fashion. This word was used to refer to people who worked with soil such as peasants. Such people did not have a sense of style or elegance. According to dissertation writing service, this word is no complement therefore, you should be careful when using it.

10. 没门儿 (mei menr)

This phrase is a direct translation of 没门儿 which means “no way” or “no entrance”. It’s meaning is closer to the English phrase “Not a chance!”.

11. 眼皮底下 (yan pi di xia)

When translated directly, this phrase means “under the eyelids”. It is normally used to mean “under one’s nose”.


There you have them! Eleven popular Chinese slang words that will make you communicate like a pro with Chinese natives. If you are still learning Chinese, you might be wondering how you are going to use them correctly. It’s not as difficult as it seems.

All you have to do is put to practice every word or phrase you learn. If you have Chinese friends, they can accelerate your learning process by making things easier for you to understand.

While you might be in a hurry to learn this amazing language, remember, everything worthwhile takes time. Learning a new language happens gradually. Don’t be in a rush to understand multiple concepts at one time otherwise you’ll end up tying up your laces together and falling.

As you were reading this article, you might have bumped into a slang word that made you laugh or one that is your favorite. Feel free to share and comment.

Interested in learning some more slang? Check out our Word on the Street Article or our article on Chinese Lingo on the Internet!

Being curious doesn’t cost anything, just interested in knowing more about Hutong School, and what we can offer? Get in touch with us and learn more. Or maybe you’re ready to dive straight in and start your China journey? Click here to get started!


Sharon is a blogger, essay reviewer and a digital marketer in Australian Writings who specializes in email and social media campaigns. Sharon writes about all marketing-related issues, but she is no stranger to other topics such as self-improvement and career development. Sharon is a mother of two lovely kids and a passionate long-distance runner.

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