The Traditional Chinese characters for the word huài dàn, a Mandarin Chinese profanity meaning, literally, "bad egg"
Profanity in Mandarin Chinese most commonly involves sexual references and scorn of the object's ancestors, especially their mother. Other Mandarin insults accuse people of not being human. Compared to English, scatological and blasphemous references are less often used.
In this article, unless otherwise noted, the Traditional character will follow its Simplified form if it is different.
kuàxià wù (胯下物) = roughly equivalent of "the package" (lit. "thing under crotch")
yīnjīng (阴茎; 陰莖)= penis (scientific)
diǎo (屌 or substituted by 吊) = dick (the same character also means to have sexual intercourse in Cantonese, alternatively written as 𨳒)
lìn (闝) same as "屌", used in some southern areas such as Fujian and Guangdong. Also written as "𨶙" in Cantonese. It was misinterpreted as luǎn (卵) by Mandarin speakers, though sometimes "卵" is used instead for euphemism.
lǎo èr (老二) = penis (lit. "second in the family", "little brother")
nà huó er (那活儿; 那活兒) = penis, usually seen in novels/fictions. (lit. "That thing", "that matter")
xiǎo niǎo (小鸟; 小鳥) = used by people (mostly children) in Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore to mean penis (lit. "little bird"), often simplified to niǎo (鳥; 'bird')
guītóu (龟头; 龜頭) = turtle's head (glans/penis)
bāopí (包皮) = foreskin (literally: wrapper)
diǎosī (屌丝; 屌絲) = originally meant male pubic hair, but means an unprivileged nobody. Formerly Internet slang, now a popular word often used in self-mockery (lit. "dick silk/wire")
Note: One should note that in Middle Chinese the words for 屌 and 鳥 were homophones. The fǎnqiè of "屌" (丁了切) and the fǎnqiè of "simplified Chinese: 鸟; traditional Chinese: 鳥" (都了切) denoted the same pronunciation; both began with a voiceless unaspirated alveolar stop (/t/ in IPA and d in pinyin) and the same vowel and tone. Based on regular sound change rules, we would expect the word for bird in Mandarin to be pronounced diǎo, but Mandarin dialects' pronunciations of the word for bird evolved to an alveolar nasal initial, likely as a means of taboo avoidance, giving contemporary niǎo while most dialects in the south retain the Middle Chinese alveolar stop initial and the homophony or near homophony of these words.
There appear to be more words for vagina than for penis. The former are more commonly used as insults and are also more aggressive and have negative connotations:
xiǎojiě (小姐) = means "Miss" or "Small elder sister" in most contexts but, now in Northern China, also connotes "prostitute" to many young women, as it suggests expressions like zuò xiǎojiě (做小姐) or sānpéi xiǎojiě (三陪小姐), which refers to bargirls who may also be prostitutes. This connotation does not apply outside of the People's Republic of China.
jī (鸡; lit. "chick") = (female) prostitute
yā (鸭; lit. "duck") = (male) prostitute
xiǎo lǎopó (小老婆) = mistress (lit. "little wife" or "little old women"). Note: when combined with other words, the character 老 (lǎo; 'old') does not always refer to age; for example, it is used in the terms 老公 (lǎogōng; 'husband'), 老婆 (lǎopó; 'wife'), 老鼠 (lǎoshǔ; 'mouse'); or other, more rare cases such as 老虎 (lǎohǔ; 'tiger'), 老鹰 (lǎoyīng; 'eagle'), 老外 (lǎowài; 'foreigner'); or important persons such as 老板 (lǎobǎn; 'boss') or 老师 (lǎoshī; 'master / teacher'). "老 (lǎo; 'old') thus often carries with it a degree of familiarity.
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).
xiǎo sān (小三), lit., "little three" (means a mistress, since she is supposed to be the third person in a relationship).
mīmī (咪咪; literally cat's purring "meow meow") is a euphemism for breast.
dà dòufu (大豆腐; literally "big tofu") slang for large breasts, more prevalent in Guangdong
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 (波霸), which refers to a woman with very large breasts.
fúshòu (福寿; 福壽); lit. "happy long life"
nāināi (奶奶) = boobies.
xǐmiàn nǎi (洗面奶) = motorboating (lit. "facial cleanser", where "奶" serves as both slang for breasts and a thick liquid, and pressing one's head between a woman's breasts vaguely resembles washing one's face)
hángkōng mǔjiàn (航空母舰; 航空母艦) - literally "aircraft carrier", referring to a flat chest. Compare with 战舰 (zhànjiàn), meaning battleship, which refers to larger-sized "chimneys" of the chest.
tàipíng gōngzhǔ (太平公主) means Princess of Peace, this was the actual title of a real princess. However 太 means great or extreme and 平 means flat or level. Hence, this phrase is a double entendre, i.e., "Extremely Flat Princess."
júhuā (菊花); literally "chrysanthemums") - anus. This term comes from the observation that the shape of an anal opening resembles a chrysanthemum flower, where the skin folds are comparable to the flower's small, thin petals. Although nowadays usage is mostly common amongst Chinese netizens, the euphemism has existed in Chinese literature from much earlier.
cào (肏/操) = to fuck (the first shown Chinese character is made up of components meaning "to enter" and "the flesh"; the second is the etymological graph, with the standard meaning being "to do exercise")
rì (入) (lit. "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.[full citation needed] It is also commonly seen on internet websites and forums as rì日, due to similar pronunciation and ease of input.
bàojúhuā (爆菊花) = anal sex. (lit. burst the chrysanthemum (anus)), i.e., insert the penis into the anus
dǎpào (打炮) = to ejaculate (lit. to fire the cannon)
gāocháo (高潮) = Sexual orgasm (lit. high tide, also used to describe a climax point in other domains)
chā (插）= to have sex (lit. to insert)
chǎofàn (炒飯; 炒饭) = to have sex (lit. "making stir-fried rice")
hēi xiū (嘿咻) = to have sex (onomatopoeia for grunting noises made when exerting effort, heave-ho)
dǎ huíhé (打回合) = to have sex (lit. "a round of a fight", but usually made into number of rounds if having sex multiple times, such as "打第三回合" or "round 3 of fighting" to mean "3rd time having sex")
zhēnzhū xiàngliàn (珍珠項鍊; 珍珠项炼) = ejaculating on a woman's chest after intramammary sex; pearl necklace
jiào chuáng (叫床) = moaning in bed
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 the Ming dynasty in the novel Jin Ping Mei). 操 is often 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, in modern Standard Chinese, is often substituted with 肏; the cào 肏 (fuck) has been substituted for 抄, which meant "confiscate all the property of someone and of his entire extended family." In China, ancestor worship is an important aspect of society, as a result of Confucianism, where filial piety and respect for one's ancestors is considered crucial; insulting one's ancestors is a sensitive issue and is generally confronting.
tā māde (simplified Chinese: 他妈的; traditional Chinese: 他媽的, IM: TMD) = [fuck] his mother's, or frequently used as "Shit!" (lit. "his mother's"; in the 1920s the famous writer Lu Xun joked 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).
The 中文大辭典 Zhōng wén dà cí diǎn (Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Chinese Language)), 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."
A "wángbādàn 忘/王八蛋" is the offspring of a woman lacking virtue. Another meaning of 王八 is 鼈 biē, fresh-water turtle. Turtle heads reemerging from hiding in the turtle's shell look like the glans emerging from the foreskin, 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. 龜頭 (guītóu, "turtle head") can refer to the glans of the penis.
"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 man 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.
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, because turtles were once thought to conceive by thought alone, making paternity impossible to prove. 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) = soft-shell turtle; this was an insult as early as the Song Dynasty.
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.
pāi mǎ pì (Chinese: 拍马屁) to suck up, to be a toady (lit. patting a horse's butt).
shén jīng bìng (simplified Chinese: 神经病; traditional Chinese: 神經病) Insanity. Literally "disease of the nervous system", or having problems with one's nervous system. In China, imbalance of the nervous system is commonly associated with mental illness (for instance, 神经衰弱Shenjing shuairuo, literally "weakness of the nervous system", is a more socially accepted medical diagnosis for someone who, in the West, would have normally been diagnosed with schizophrenia, due to the social stigma against mental illness in China). Now the word is used quite generally when insulting someone whose actions seem odd, rude, offensive, or inappropriate.
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) or pìyǎnr (屁眼兒/屁眼儿), one expression for anus, is not vulgar, but it occurs in various curses involving an imperforate anus
jiào nǐ shēng háizi zhǎng zhì chuāng (叫你生孩子长痔疮) – "May your child be born with hemorrhoids"
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—"old [but] won't die"—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. It is implied that they have outlived their usefulness, which conveys a deeper meaning of that person inconveniencing or hogging a resource or benefit that is beneficial to the insulter (such as a job promotion) by being alive; thus the insulter wishes for his death. The expression comes from the Analects of Confucius where 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 is said that they "are old but won't die."
lǎo zéi 老賊= lǎo bù sǐde
lǎo tóuzi (simplified Chinese: 老头子; traditional Chinese: 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 geezer" in English.
lǎo tài pó 老太婆, old hag.
xiǎo guǐ 小鬼," little devil," is used familiarly and (usually) affectionately (c.f. "rascal" in English).
xiǎo tù zǎizi 小兔崽子," little rabbit kitten," refers to someone young. Its usage is rather like such expressions as "little brat" in English.
As in the West, highly sexual women have been stigmatized. Terms for males who sleep around are rare.
chāng fù (娼妇) = bitch/whore
húli jīng (狐狸精) = bitch (overly seductive woman or a golddigger; lit. "fox spirit"or a female who attracts men in love and not in love)
sānbā (三八) = airhead, braggart, slut (lit. "three eight"). Used to insult women. One derivation claims that at one point in the Qing 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 8: International Women's Day. In Taiwan, the term has less of a misogynistic connotation, and means "silly" or "airhead."
sè láng (色狼) = womaniser, sex maniac (lit. "Coloured Wolf", in this context the adjective "colour" is a euphemism for "lewd")
sè guǐ (色鬼) = pervert (lit. "Sex Ghost", 色 can be read as both 'Color' and 'Sex')
Occasionally, slang words with a negative connotation are turned around and used positively:
wǒ cào (我肏) = An expression of impressed surprise or approval, akin to "holy fuck" or "holy shit!" in English (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, including NB, 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 the Jin Dynasty. Now it sometimes also means "fucking cool" or "fucking outrageous", thanks in large part to the pop star Jay Chou. Because of the substitution of "niǎo" which means bird, sometimes English-speaking Chinese in Malaysia sometimes use "birdie" as a 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".
diǎo sī (屌丝) = originally meant to mean male pubic hair, but means an unprivileged nobody. Originally an Internet slang, now a popular word often used in self-mockery (lit. "dick silk/wire")
fàntǒng (simplified Chinese: 饭桶; traditional Chinese: 飯桶) = useless person. Literally "rice bucket", the connotation being that, like a bucket, the person is only useful for storing food and nothing else.
er bai wu (Chinese: 二百五) = haven't got the full deck.
bàn píngzi cù (Chinese: 半瓶子醋): literally "a half-empty bottle of vinegar", used to address a person with limited professional expertise.
chuīniú bī (Chinese: 吹牛逼): lit. inflating (blowing air into) a cow's vagina. Used to address bragging activities. Often bowdlerized to chuīniú (Chinese: 吹牛) when speaking in public or in the presence of children.
chī bǎole chēng de (Chinese: 吃饱了撑的): lit. eats too much. Used to refer weird, nonsense or illogical deeds.
chī bǎo fàn méi shì gàn (吃飽飯沒事干) = same as chī bǎo le chēng de, but the literal meaning is different (lit. "just finished eating and there's nothing to do")
shārén bù zhǎyǎn (Chinese: 杀人不眨眼) stone cold killer.
xiǎo bàwáng zhōu tōng (Chinese: 小霸王周通) a wicked man.
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 term sājiào (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 the tilde as an Internet meme reflects the popularization of this style of speaking, which is often perceived as being cute or seductive.
niángpào (娘炮) = same as 娘娘腔 (above)
tàijiàn (太监) or gōnggong (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.
nǎi yóu (Chinese: 奶油) lit. meaning cream or butter
nán rén pó (Chinese: 男人婆) a female who behaves like a male. Tomboy
mu ye cha (Chinese: 母夜叉) a female Yaksha, an ugly and rough female; often domineering in personality.
Other insults accuse people of lacking qualities expected of a human being:
chùsheng (畜生) = animal; it literally means "beast", a likely reference to the Buddhist belief that rebirth as an animal is the result of karma conditioned by stupidity and prejudice. The word is also used in Japanese, where it is pronounced "chikushō", often used as an expletive, akin to "hell!"
qín shòu (禽兽) = beasts (lit.: "bird and animal"), often used as qín shòu bù rú (禽兽不如) = worse than beasts
nǐ bú shì rén (你不是人) = you're not human (lit.: "you are not a person"). This could also mean that the person is so mean/cruel that they are not human. In this instance, one can say "你还是人吗" nǐ hái shì rén ma (lit.: "are you still human")
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)
qù sǐ (去死) = Lit. "Go die!", comparable to the English phrase "Go to hell!"
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.
zhǎo sǐ (Chinese: 找死): literally "look [for] death" (i.e. "looking to die"). Roughly equivalent to the English phrase 'asking for trouble'.
qù xià dì yù (去下地狱) - Lit. "Go to hell"
The words "屎" (shǐ) (= turd, dung), "粪" (fèn) (= manure, excrement) and "大便 (= stool, poop)" (dà biàn), all mean feces but vary from blunt four letter to family-friendly, respectively. They 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. The word "pì" (屁; lit. "fart") or the phrase is commonly used as an expletive in Mandarin (i.e. "bullshit!").
qù chī dà biàn (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.)
chī shǐ (吃屎) = Eat shit!
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 the Yuan dynasty.
'ge pì (个屁) = A common variation of 放屁, also meaning "bullshit" (as in lies, c.f. English "my ass!"). This term is used because "fang pi" can be taken literally to mean Flatulence. Often tacked on to the end of a sentence, as in "XYZ 个屁!"
méi pì yòng (Chinese: 没屁用) = no damn use (lit. "to have no fart use")
yǒu pì yòng (Chinese: 有屁用) = no damn use, to be of damn-all use (lit. "to have fart use")
yǒu huà kuài shuō, yǒu pì kuài fàng 有話快說，有屁快放 = an expression meaning to stop beating around the bush (lit. If you have something to say, hurry up and say it; if you have a fart, hurry up and let it out)
shǐ bǎ ba (屎㞎㞎) - Children's slang term for faeces, similar to English "poo-poo" or "brownie". A variant of this term is 㞎㞎 (bǎ ba), while 便便 (biàn bian) is also used as a children's term, albeit less frequently used.
pìtóu (屁头) = fart.
In a 1968 academic study of Chinese pejorative words, more than a third of the 325-term corpus of abusive expressions compare the insulted person with an animal, with the worst curses being "animal" generally, "pig, dog, animal", or "animal in dress", which deny the person of human dignity. The expressions contain metaphorical references to the following domesticated animals: dogs, cows, and chickens (12 or 11 terms each), (8 times), horse (4), cat (3), and duck (2), and one each to sheep, donkey and camel. A variety of wild animals are used in these pejorative terms, and the most common are monkey (7 times) and tiger (5 times), symbolizing ugliness and power respectively.
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 a bitch")
gǒu pì (狗屁) = bullshit, nonsense (lit. "dog fart"); in use as early as 1750 in the Qing Dynasty novel Rulin waishi [The Unofficial History of the Scholars].
gǒurìde (狗日的) = son of a bitch (from Liu 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 the Song dynasty. Due to Western influence, as well as the similar sound, this has become a synonym for bullshit in some circles.
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. Often used in the 20th century by communists to refer to client states of the United States and other capitalist powers.
The Chinese word for bird "niǎo"(鸟) was pronounced as "diǎo" in ancient times, which rhymes with (屌) meaning penis or sexual organ. It also sounds the same as "penis" in several Chinese dialects. Thus, bird is often associated with 'fuck', 'penis' or 'nonsense'：
A tigress or 母老虎 (Mǔ lǎohǔ) refers to a fierce woman, usually someone's strict wife.
A dinosaur or 恐龙 (Kǒnglóng) has been used as Internet slang to describe an ugly girl.
wútóu cāngyíng (無頭蒼蠅) = someone running around with no sense of direction (lit: "headless fly", or similar to "chicken with its head cut off" in English)
hudu chong (糊涂虫) = absent-minded person, a scatterbrain (lit. "confused insect"), compare with wútóu cāngyíng
gēn pì chóng (跟屁蟲) = someone that aimlessly follows someone around, usually for the purpose of flattery (lit: "butt-chasing insect")
Certain words are used for expressing contempt or strong disapproval:
qiáobùqǐ (瞧不起) = To look down upon or to hold in contempt.
wǒpēi (我呸) = I boo in disapproval. Pēi 呸 is a spoken onomatopoeia that represents the action of spitting.
wēnshén (瘟神) = troublemaker (literally "plague god"). Compares the insulted person to a disliked god.
wǒ de tiān a (我的天啊) = Oh my God (literally "Oh my sky").
Some expressions are harder to explain:
èrbǎiwǔ (二百五) = stupid person/idiot (see 250) Note that the number 250 would normally be pronounced liangbǎiwǔ.
shūdāizi, (simplified Chinese: 书呆子; traditional Chinese: 書呆子) roughly equivalent to "bookworm" or, possibly, "nerd". It is used to portray a studious person as lacking either hands-on experience or social skills. Often used academically to describe one who is too by the book, and unable to adapt to changing circumstances that invalidate book theory. Unlike "nerd", shūdāizi is rarely used in the context of hobbies.
gāo bízi (Chinese: 高鼻子) — "high nose", a slur for Caucasians.
máo zi (Chinese: 毛子) - Ethnic slur against Russians. (Literally "fur".) Alternatively 红毛子 (hóng máo zi, red (communist) fur), 俄毛子 (é máo zi, Rus fur). Similar concept to "hóng máo guǐzi" above.
lǎo mĕi (Chinese: 老美) — literally "old American", an anti-American slur and pejorative term for Americans. The slur is similar to the term yank, used by people from English speaking countries such as Canada, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand as a pejorative towards Americans.
yáng lājī (Chinese: 洋垃圾) - "Foreign trash", an ethnic slur for unemployed and uneducated foreigners, especially Caucasians from English speaking countries looking to seek jobs in China. The slur is similar to the term White trash, used in the United States.
lǎo wài (Chinese: 老外) — "foreigner", literally "old outsider", slang term for Caucasians in Mainland China, especially Caucasians from English speaking countries. Since this term is quite often used colloquially without malicious intent (even directly to foreigners proficient in Mandarin), its meaning is highly context specific. As a rough guide, however, it is best to avoid using the term outside China.
mán zi (simplified Chinese: 蛮子; traditional Chinese: 蠻子) — foreign barbarians; This historical term, when mixed with the word "south" (南) is also used as an ethnic slur by northern Han Chinese against someone thought to be from southern China.
Against Other East Asians
Demonstrators in Taiwan host signs telling "Japanese devils" to "get out" of the Diaoyutai Islands following an escalation in disputes in 2012.
xiǎo Rìběn (小日本) "Japs" — Literally "little Japan[ese]". This term is still commonly used as a slur toward Japanese among Chinese but it has very little impact left. This term was historically by the Chinese associating the Japanese with dwarfism and the historical lower average stature of Japanese in comparison with the Han Chinese.
dōngyáng guǐzi (simplified Chinese: 东洋鬼子; traditional Chinese: 東洋鬼子) — Literally "Oriental devil". An anti-Japanese variant of yáng guǐzi, and similar to Rìběn guǐzi above. (Note that whereas the term 東洋 has the literal meaning of "Orient" in the Japanese language, the characters themselves mean "eastern ocean", and it refers to Japan exclusively in modern Chinese usage—since Japan is the country which lies in the ocean east of China.)
Wō (倭) — This was an ancient Chinese name 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. See Wa (Japan).
Wōkòu (倭寇) — Originally referred to Japanese pirates and armed sea merchants who raided the Chinese coastline during the Ming Dynasty (see Wokou). The term was adopted during the Second Sino-Japanese War to refer to invading Japanese forces, (similarly to Germans being called Huns). The word is today sometimes used to refer to all Japanese people in extremely negative contexts.
Rìběn gǒu (日本狗) — Literally "Japanese dogs". The word is used to refer to all Japanese people in extremely negative contexts.
dà jiǎo pén zú (大腳盆族) — Ethnic slur towards Japanese used predominantly by Northern Chinese, mainly those from the city of Tianjin. Literally "Big Feet Bowl Race".
huáng jūn (simplified Chinese: 黄军; traditional Chinese: 黃軍) — a pun on the homophone "皇军/皇軍" (huáng jūn, literally "Imperial Army"), the definition of 黃 (huáng) used is "yellow". This phrase 黄军/黃軍 ("Yellow Army") was used during World War II to represent Japanese soldiers due to the colour of their uniform. Today, it is used negatively against all Japanese. Since the stereotype of Japanese soldiers is 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), 黄军/黃軍 is also often used to pull jokes on Chinese people with these characteristics, and thus "appear like" Japanese soldiers.
zì wèi duì (simplified Chinese: 自慰队; traditional Chinese: 自慰隊) — A pun on the homophone "自卫队/自衛隊" (zì wèi duì, literally "Self-Defence Forces"), the definition of 慰 (wèi) used is "to comfort". This phrase is used to refer to Japanese (whose military force is known as "自衛隊") being stereotypically hypersexual, as "自慰队" means "Self-comforting Forces", referring to masturbation. The word 慰 (wèi) also carries highly negative connotations of "慰安妇/慰安婦" (wèi ān fù, "Comfort women"), referring to the use of sex slaves by the Japanese military during World War II.
wěi jūn (伪军）- Literally "pretender army." The word is used as an insult to collaborationist Chinese forces during World War II, but is occasionally used to refer to Japanese forces as well. It is used officially by Chinese historians, and is specifically spoken towards those people, making it a rare and ineffective insult against Japanese people in general.
Gāolì bàng zǐ (simplified Chinese: 高丽棒子; traditional Chinese: 高麗棒子) — A neutral term used against all ethnic Koreans . 高丽/高麗 refers to Ancient Korea (Koryo), while 棒子 means "club" or "corncob", referring to how Korean security guards hired by the Japanese during WW2 were not given guns, only clubs/batons as they were untrustworthy. The term is modernized sometimes as 韓棒子 (hán bàng zǐ, "韓" referring to South Korea)
sǐ bàng zǐ (死棒子) — A mean expression. Literally "dead club" or "dead plank" with the sexual innuendo of a "useless or dead erection"; refer to 高丽棒子 above.
èr guǐ zǐ (二鬼子) — (See 日本鬼子) During World War II, 二鬼子 referred to Traitors among the Han Chinese hanjian and Koreans in the Imperial Japanese Army, as the Japanese were known as "鬼子" (devils) for massacring innocent children and women. 二鬼子 literally means "second devils". Today, 二鬼子 is used to describe ethnic Koreans who had been absorbed into Japan and joined the Japanese Imperial Army. It is rarely used as a slur in recent times
tái bāzi (台巴子) — Slur and slang term for Taiwanese, especially advocates of Taiwan independence. The term originated from Mainland China as a pejorative towards Taiwanese. The term "Bazi" can mean a clitoris or (in baby-talk) a "wee-wee" (the penis of a little boy).
Against South Asians
lǎo yìn (老印) - Literally "Old Indian", slang term for Indians common among the Mandarin-speaking crowd in Mainland China, Taiwan, and Overseas Chinese.
yìndù ā sān (印度阿三) — A euphemism to Indians. It means "Indian, Hassan".
ā chā (阿差) — A popular term common among the Cantonese in Hong Kong to refer to Indians. The term derives from the frequent uttering of ācchā 'good, fine' by (Northern) Indians (cf. Hindi अच्छा) Originally referring to the Punjabi "singhs" security force who used to work for the British government during colonial era. Nowadays, any South Asian is referred to as "ā chā". In Cantonese, "Ah" means "Dude", so "Ah Cha" means the dude called "Cha". It is not an ethnic slur, it is used because Cantonese cannot pronounce "Indian" as it derives from a Mandarin term that sounds too formal.
gālí rén (咖喱人) - A much more common contemporary term used to refer to Indians, derived from the use of curry in Indian cuisine and the perception that Indians eat food to some Chinese find to have a strong smell, and which Indians eat with their hands, a practice that many Chinese find to be dirty and unclean. For these two reasons, it is applied as a derogatory term to Indians.
Against Southeast Asians
Huanna (Chinese: 番仔; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: hoan-á) – a term in Hokkien literally meaning "foreigner or non-Chinese". Used by most Overseas Chinese to refer generally to non-Chinese Southeast Asians and Taiwanese Aborigines. In the Philippines, this term is used by Chinese Filipinos towards indigenous Filipinos. It is considered racist.
yìnníbazi (印尼巴 or 印泥巴子) — lit. "Indonesian mud", an ethnic slur towards that refers a play on "印尼" (Indonesia) and "泥巴" (mud), where 尼/泥 are homophones, thus associating Indonesians as being primitive, backward, and dirty.
lǎo yuè (老越) - Literally "Old Vietnamese", or "Old Guy from Vietnam". It is not an anti-Vietnamese slur but rather a familial slang term for Vietnamese.
Xiǎo Yuenán (小越南) Literally "little Vietnam[ese]". This can be used in a derogatory context, referring Vietnam's smaller geographical size than China and the lower average stature of Vietnamese in comparison with the Han Chinese.
Yuenán houzǐ (越南猴子) Literally means "Vietnamese monkeys". An derogatory insult used by the Chinese towards Vietnamese associating them as being uncultured, barbaric, dirty, primitive, and backward. This term also alludes to the historical region of Nam Viet (南越 which in Chinese translates to "land of the southern barbarians"), a province that was ruled by the Chinese Han dynasty during the First Chinese domination of Vietnam; when mixed with the word "southern barbarian" (南蠻) is also used as an ethnic slur by the Han Chinese.
lǎo hēi (老黑) — Literally "Old Black", a racial slur towards black people or people of Sub-Saharan Black African descent.
lǎo mò (老墨) — "Old Mexican", an ethnic slur used towards Mexicans. 墨 should not be confused with "ink", which bears the same character and pronunciation from "墨" in 墨西哥 (Mexico).
hēi guǐzi (黑鬼子) or hēi guǐ (黑鬼) — Literally "Black devil", racial slur directed towards black people or people Sub-Saharan Black African descent. The term is similar to the English term nigger as an ethnic slur directed at black people.
tǔbāozi (土包子) — Literally "Mud baozi/muddy baozi". An insult directed at those seen as uncultured or backward, implying that the insulted person comes from a peasant background. Roughly equivalent to the English phrases "country bumpkin" and "hayseed". The term can also be used without any negative connotations to denote someone who is new, unfamiliar and inexperienced in any profession or activity, roughly similar to the English internet slang "noob".
nóng (农) — A contraction of "nóngmǐn" (农民), the Chinese word for peasant. This insult refers to those displaying rude, disruptive and/or disgusting behavior. As with "土包子", calling someone a "nóng" implies they come from an uncultured rural background.
xiāngjiāo rén (香蕉人) — 'Banana People' - Overseas Chinese who have lost any true Chinese trait. As the insult implies, they are like bananas: Yellow (Chinese) on the outside while white (western) on the inside (c.f. "oreo" for African Americans or "coconut" for Hispanic-Americans).
gòngchǎndǎng (共產黨) — Official, academic and commonly used Chinese translation for communist parties. In Taiwan it is considered a shame to be a communist. A Taiwanese legislator was charged with public defamation for calling a protester "gongchandang".
gòngcǎndǎng (共慘黨) — By replacing the middle character with "慘", a near-homophone to "產", meaning sad and pitiful, the name of the Communist Party changes to mean "a party which causes everyone to suffer" (lit. "Everyone Suffers Party"). This term has seen increasing usage in internet communities critical of the Communist Party of China.
There are various circumlocutions in Mandarin Chinese for homosexual, 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). An analogous story, of a sleeve being cut off so as not to disturb a sleeping cat, is told of both Confucius and Muhammad, and perhaps others.
Bōlí (玻璃, glass) — lit., "glass" person. It comes from a passage in the Dream of the Red Chamber in 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 comes off as an effeminate slur when referring to men. 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 (simplified Chinese: 男风; traditional Chinese: 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."
Tóngzhì (同志) (lit. "comrade") was recently adopted in Hong Kong and Taiwan to mean homosexual, and is sometimes used on the mainland. Literally the term means "one having same aspirations".
Tùzi (兔子) lit., "bunny," but used to refer to catamites. (See Herbert A. Giles, A Chinese-English Dictionary, entry 12,122) See also Tu Er Shen.
^Note: The character 㞎 may not be supported on all browsers. It is a 巴 ba below a 尸 corpse radical, and appears as . The character is present in the HKSCS. In the case where the correct character cannot be rendered, the phrase can also be colloquially shown as 屎巴巴 otherwise.