31 ways to call someone an idiot in Chinese
When traveling, working or living in a country, there are important words and phrases to know, for instance, “Where’s the bathroom?” and “Do I want to know what meat is in this dish?”
And then there are the words that just add a bit more color to your day -- arguably just as essential.
Chinese language translation site Carlgene.com (a self-professed personal blog cataloging one person’s “journey from translation student to working professional”), is adding a bit more of that color to your routine, putting together a list of 31 ways to call someone stupid in Chinese.
The list starts with the basics like 白痴 (baichi), that would be your simple “idiot,” although it can also mean "idiocy as a disease," according to the site, and then moves onto the less formal terms like 傻子 (shazi) and its synonym 呆子 (daizi).
More creative terms like 傻瓜 (shagua) still mean “idiot,” although are more directly translated as “dumb melon,” which is a great visual.
Another descriptive term on the site is 木头人 (mutouren). It still has the same meaning as the other words on the list, but this is specific to someone “who stares blankly, as if in a trance.” The blogger points out that this term is a bit dated (so nix the idea of using it for your next painful cab ride where the driver stares blankly at the green light), it's still a useful and descriptive term floating around.
A more modern concept on the list is 脑残 (naocan). A newer addition to this group, it literally means “brain impairment” or “brain-dead.” But in today’s China it can also be used, according to the site, to put-down the 富二代 (fu'erdai), the supposedly “idiotic” children of wealthy families in China. Who knew the term idiot could get political.
More classic insults, numerical references and colorful imagery round out the list making sure you’re never at a loss for words again.
The next step: we’d like to see Shanghainese terms like 戆大 (ghang dhu), 戆搭搭 (ghang dak dak) and 寿头刮气 (shou dhou guak qi) added to the list.