Commonly Used Chinese Curse Words and Insults 

 July 8, 2020

By  Ellen

Sometimes curse words and insults are the kinds of expressions that a language newbie would first learn.

And these words are also a part of the country’s culture, what they insult is either what they detest, or what they mostly care about.

WARNING: Some of the words in this article are highly offensive, which bugs people to even look at. The more you read on, the nastier they get.

Please note that we don’t encourage the use of any such language.

Most Chinese people that you meet will be very friendly, and knowing how to say 你好 (Hello) and 谢谢 (Thank you) would be enough to survive.

Chinese Insults Related to Numbers


Despite the number two, this character could also mean “different” or “disloyal”. 二is commonly used to express “stupid/foolish” in various dialects.

And compared to other words on our list, this could even be described as “cute”. If you hear “你真二” from your friend, don’t get angry yet as this could translate to “You are so silly”. With a special tone, it might even be flirting.

Then there’s also 二刈子/二椅子 (èr yǐ zi), which originated from the eunuch, meaning that someone is “neither man nor woman”.

三八(sān bā)

三 (three) + 八 (eight) used as an insult originated in the Qing Dynasty (清朝), traditionally meaning that someone has bad behavior, or use rude language.

However, since this also matches the date of International Women’s Day—March the 8th, it has been used to insult a woman for her gender. It is also used to describe meddlers and gossipers, applying to both men and women.

二百五(èr bǎi wǔ)

The full form should be 二百五十 to mean “two hundred and fifty”, which is used to express that a person is stupid, ignorant and stubborn.

Some say that it originated from a story of the Warring States Period (战国时代). A similar word is 二五仔 (èr wǔ zǎi ), which means “informer/traitor”.

Chinese Curses With Specific Meanings

bái chī
hùn zhàng
zhì zhàng
Mentally handicapped/Retarded
zá zhǒng
biàn tài

The Very Common “Eggs”

Why do Chinese people have so many curse words regarding 蛋 (dàn) “egg/balls”? I was curious myself and did a little digging.

It is said that 王八蛋 (wáng bā dàn) originated from “忘八端 (wàng bā duān)”.

八端 indicates the eight characters: “孝 (filial)、悌 (love and respect siblings)、忠 (loyalty, dedication)、信 (credibility)、礼 (etiquette)、义 (personal loyalty)、廉 (honest and upright)、耻 (shame)”, which is the whole essence of Confucius’ moral education.

Forgetting (忘) those eight characters indicate that someone forgot how to be a “person”.

王八蛋 (wáng bā dàn)

No, they are not calling you a king (王) of eight (八) eggs (蛋), or a 王八 (tortoise) egg. This once means “a man who depends on prostitutes for a living” and was extended to “a cuckolded man”. Now it indicates “a person who acts or behaves unethically or badly”.

笨蛋(bèn dàn)、傻蛋(shǎ dàn)、蠢蛋(chǔn dà)

These “stupid”, “silly” and “dumb” eggs are used to call someone a fool, an idiot, or a moron—which are far less offensive.

As though 傻瓜 (shǎ guā) “silly melon” is also used to express someone is stupid, it could even be a pet name between lovers.

坏蛋(huài dàn)

“bad egg” is another common word that is not too offensive, meaning “scoundrel/badass”, or used to refer somebody is a “bad person” in any situation. Could also be used as a pet name or flirting.

混蛋(hún dàn)

“Mixed egg” means to “mix up a lot of issues and cannot see what the problem is”, and to be unreasonable, which also refers to an unreasonable person or a bad guy. Some also say that “mixed egg” indicates “mixed-blood” or “bastard”.

滚蛋(gǔn dàn)

“Rolling egg”, means “piss off” or “go away”, which is slightly less offensive than the “F*ck off” in English. But it’s still a rude way of telling people to leave you alone.

A similar expression is 滚开 (gǔn kāi) “get lost”, a dialect version is 玩蛋去 (wán dàn qù) “Go play with your egg and leave me alone”, and there’s also the shortcut version of 滚 “get away”.

Insulting One’s Mother and Family

This is the “insult-what-you-love-and-care-about-so-that-I-could-express-my-anger-and-piss-you-off” section, which is gonna get really mean.

I sincerely hope you never need to use or hear them.

你妈/你妈的(nǐ mā de)

Literally translates to “your mother’s”, a similar English expression would be “damn it.”

When used in conversations it definitely means to insult, but when seeing online it’s “just an expression”. An extension would be 去你妈的 (qù nǐ mā de) “go to your mother.” 你 (you) could be replaced with 他 (he/him), and妈 (mother) could be replaced with 大爷 (elder uncle).

狗娘养的(gǒu niáng yǎng de)

Literally translates to “born and raised by (养的) a dog (狗) mother (娘)”, meaning “son of a bitch”. Highly offensive and intolerable at any time. However, it is interesting that the two cultures share some similarities in this sense. 

你丫的/你丫挺的(nǐ yā tǐng de)

Originated from Beijing dialect, the original intention was to call the other person a bastard, translated as “you are born and raised by a servant girl (丫头)”.

But now this is used as a modal particle (语气助词), sometimes with close friends, sometimes referring to people that they don’t like. 

祖宗十八代(zǔ zōng shí bā dài)

This means “your ancestors to the eighteenth generation” which is often used in connection with another dirty word that we will later come to.

Sex-Related Curses and Insults

This is where I need to warn you again about very dirty and mean words. Consider stopping now or “skim and scan”.

As you can see, even the Chinese people think they are too offensive and found replacement characters as shown after the slash (/).


This originally means “butt”, but now people use it to express surprise, such as 我靠 indicates “f*cking awesome!” or “holy sh*t!”. 


The genitalia of a female creature, which has been used quite “creatively”. 牛逼 (NB) “cow vagina” means “F*cking awesome!”. 二逼 (2B) means “extremely stupid”. 傻逼means “idiot”. 你妈逼 “your mother’s vaginal” is also highly offensive, which is comparable to “f*ck you”. 

What’s interesting is that on the internet, people would use 我去年买了个表 (I bought a watch last year) to express “feeling unbalanced and unfair”, which originated from 我去你妈了个逼 (I screwed your mother), as the beginning letters of their Pinyin (拼音) is both WQNMLGB.


Originally meant sexual intercourse or male genitalia. Now used to describe “awesome” or “amazing”. A relevant word is 屌丝 (diǎo sī) “male pubic hair”, which means “loser”.


If you look at the original word, the upper part was 入 (enter), and what’s underneath was 肉 (meat), which vividly means “f*ck”. People would use it to express surprise, such as 我操/卧槽/我艹 (I f*ck) or even the cyberspeak 我屮艸芔茻, all meaning “What the f*ck!”. 

What’s more offensive would be 操你妈 “F*ck your mother” or 操你祖宗十八代 “F*ck your ancestors to the eighteenth generation”. Characters with the same meaning are 干 (gàn) or 日 (rì).

贱人(jiàn rén)/贱货(jiàn huò)

Meaning “slut” or “bitch”, both expressions include the word 贱 “cheap”, referring to an easy woman or a cheap person. 人 means “person” and 货 means “goods”, clearly the latter is more offensive. A similar word is 婊子 (biǎo zǐ) “bitch/whore”.

小姐(xiǎo jiě)

The last one is much more like a reminder. In Mainland China, whether you are calling a waitress or trying to get some help in the street, never use 小姐 “miss” to call a girl because this is a synonym for prostitute. 鸡 “chicken” has the same meaning, and to be “fair”, 鸭子 “duck” is used specifically for boys.

Of course, there are many more mean words and expressions, but it’s safe to say that we have the most common ones here already. As a matter of fact, despite China’s “national” curse word 他妈的 (his mother’s), meaning “damn it”; only 靠 (f*ck) will be heard more often. Both used to express that something unexpected happens which we are not fond of. And both are said to oneself rather than another.


Ellen is a language specialist from China. She grew up in the US and received a master’s degree from the St Andrews University of UK. The multicultural experiences attributes to her understanding of the differences and similarities between the English and Chinese language. She currently works as an editor specialized in Language learning books.

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