One of everyone’s favorite vocabulary topic to learn when studying a new language is swear words. In Chinese, there are a fair amount of curse words and insults based off of Chinese foods. In English they don’t really make too much sense, but in Chinese they make perfect sense.
Pretending to Be Garlic 装蒜
How to say it: Zhuāng Suàn (pronounced Joo-ang Swan)
The Food: Garlic
Explained by a Chinese Person: Back in Traditional Chinese medicine, it was thought that keeping garlic in your pocket could lift your positive “Qi,” which is now known to not actually do anything.
What it means in English: You’re acting dumb! Stop playing!
Example Usage: I just saw you break that lamp. Don’t lie to me, don’t 装蒜. I know you did it!
Dirt Turtle 土鳖
How to say it: Tǔ Biē (pronounced Too Bee-eh)
The Food: Chinese soft shelled turtle often found in Chinese dishes
Explained by a Chinese Person: a dirty softshelled turtle
What it means in English: a country bumpkin/someone who is from the country and doesn’t know anything about the luxury of the city.
Person A: Oh that’s a nice bag. What brand is it?
Person B: What? You’ve never seen a Gucci bag before? You’re such a 土鳖!
Radish with a Flower Heart 花心大萝卜
How to say it: Huā Xīn Dà Luó Bo (pronounced Hwah Sh-een Dah Lw-uo B-uo)
The Food: Radish
Explained by a Chinese Person: When a radish get’s old, the inside gets empty and all that remains are a bunch of fibers, that look like flowers.
What it means in English: You’re a player (in the bad way). On the outside you look like a nice guy, but on the inside your heart is empty like the “flower” inside an old radish.
Example Usage: How can you cheat on me with her? I thought you loved me! You’re such a 花心大萝卜.
Which Green Onion Are You? 你算哪根葱？
How to say it: Nǐ Suàn Nǎ Gēn Cōng? (pronounced Knee Swan Nah Guh-en Ts-ong)
The Food: Green Onion
Explained by a Chinese Person: Do you think you are a very good green onion?
What it means in English: Who do you think you are?
Example Usage: You can’t just do whatever you want! There are rules, you know. 你算哪根葱?
Green Tea B***ch 绿茶婊
How to say it: Lǜ Chá Biào (pronounced Loo Ch-ah Bee-ow)
The Food: Green Tea
Explained by a Chinese Person: You look like green tea but you’re actually alcohol.
What it means in English: On the outside you’re an innocent, plain girl, but on the inside you’re a not so innocent or nice.
Example Usage: That girl over there wearing the long white dress and the perfectly straight hair may look normal but she’s for sure a 绿茶婊.
Dead Fish Eyes 死鱼眼
How to say it: Sǐ Yú Yǎn (pronounced Sih Yoo Yen)
The Food: Fish eyes
Explained by a Chinese Person: You have the eyes of a dead fish.
What it means in English: Your eyes are as expressionless and soulless as a dead fish.
Person A: Do you think that girl over there is attractive?
Person B: No, she looks like she has no soul. She has 死鱼眼.
Soft Persimmon 软柿子
How to say it: Ruǎn Shì Zi (pronounced Roo-an Shih Tzih)
The Food: Persimmon
Explained by a Chinese Person: You are mushy like a soft persimmon.
What it means in English: You are spineless and easily manipulated; a pushover
Example Usage: You just let him walk all over you like that and tell you what to do? You are weak. You are a 软柿子.
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