7+ Funny Chinese Words and Phrases to Sound Like a Native Mandarin Speaker
This article will introduce you to the top 10 most popular funny Chinese phrases to use daily. By using them, you'll not only show off your Chinese language skills, but your Chinese friends will find you super funny!
1. 你吃错药了吗？(Nǐ chī cuò yào le ma?)
This phrase in Mandarin Chinese can be translated to "Did you eat the wrong medicine?" in English. In other words, it's a way of saying, "What's wrong with you?" You can use this funny Chinese phrase when you think someone's acting strange.
2. 沉鱼落雁 (chén yú, luò yàn)
In Mandarin Chinese, if you want to describe a beautiful girl, she won't just be drop-dead gorgeous. She could be "dazzling enough to make the fish drown, and the geese fall from the sky." (沉鱼落雁, chén yú luò yàn) It's an odd compliment that describes someone as so beautiful that they literally are murdering people with their looks.
This phrase originates from the ancient Taoist author 莊子 (Zhuāng Zǐ), who coincidentally has written a lot of stuff about fish (proverbs, idioms, stories, etc.) For example, the Chinese proverb 得鱼忘筌 dé yú wàng quán (literally translated as catch fish then forget the trap, meaning to take help for granted) also comes from Zhuang Zi.
Taoist author 莊子
Though this phrase is often used to describe incredibly beautiful women, you can also use it to describe particularly handsome men.
There are other funny Chinese idioms involving fish, is 缘木求鱼 yuán mù qiú yú. It means "to climb a tree to catch a fish," and native Mandarin speakers use it to refer to doing something impossible.
3. 落汤鸡 (luò tāng jī)
This funny Chinese phrase's literal meaning is "a chicken who fell into the soup."
落汤鸡 (luò tāng jī), a person who usually makes a mistakes
You can use this phrase like this, 雨太大了，我成了落汤鸡。
This word is used to describe someone soaking wet or, in general, being distressed.
4. 有钱就是任性! (yǒu qián jiù shì rèn xìng!)
"有钱就是任性!" is a famous expression to describe wealthy Chinese people or an average Joe who just received their paycheck and begins to behave immaturely or recklessly without caring for anything. It's also used to complain about injustices caused by people who do whatever they want just because they are rich.
This expression comes from a true story about a pharmaceutical company defrauding a rich man. Long after he realized it was a scam, the man kept going because he wanted to see how far they could get away with it; he was so incredibly rich that it didn't matter. This story was so widespread that it became a meme a couple of years ago.
5. 二百五 (èrbǎiwǔ)
The number 205, which is pronounced as 二百五 (èrbǎiwǔ). This word is commonly used as internet slang and is similar to the English word 'idiot.' You can call someone a 二百五 when you believe they're doing something pretty stupid.
To understand this phrase, you must know a little about Chinese culture: one explanation for this phrase comes from diào, a currency unit of ancient China. During that time, the money used was copper pieces tied together through square holes in their center. Originally, 1000, a currency unit, was called a 弔 diào. The term 半弔子 bàndiàozi means "half a diào," which also indicates a person with poor cognitive abilities. Therefore, modest Chinese disciples sometimes call themselves "bàndiàozi" to humbly depreciate their expertise. In this case, bàndiàozi does not necessarily have a negative meaning. Nevertheless, "250" (èrbǎiwǔ), a quarter of diào, has become an offense and an insult in China.
6. 笨蛋 (Bèndàn) or 傻蛋 (shǎ dàn)
笨蛋 has the same meaning as 二百五, but it has a less offensive connotation. As you can see, many funny Chinese words are related to stupidity. This one can be translated into "dumb egg," which means "idiot." However, it's quite cute to say someone is a bit dumb.
傻蛋 (shǎ dàn) is also a common and lowkey hilarious insult in Mandarin. 傻蛋 means "stupid egg." Depending on the situation, it can be a harmless and playful insult when a friend does something dumb. Otherwise, it can be straight-up fightin' words if said to a stranger.
傻蛋, stupid egg
7. 长舌妇 (cháng shé fù)
This phrase implies a woman who enjoys gossiping about others' business and personal lives. In Mandarin, such a woman would be 长舌妇, meaning "long tongue woman," "sharp-tongued woman," "busybody," or "buttinsky."
8. 吃醋 (chī cù)
The literal translation is "eating vinegar;" a figurative meaning is being jealous.
Here are some example phrases to say, "Why are you jealous?":
你吃什么醋啊? nǐ chī shén me cù ā ?
你为什么吃醋? nǐ wéi shén me chī cù ?