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10 Mandarin Chinese Slang Words You Have To Know

10 Mandarin Chinese Slang Words You Have To Know

In the English language, there are a lot of slang words. People use them in their everyday life, and it helps them interact better. In addition, new slang words are being constantly created so if you want to stay hip, you have to update your slang words database regularly.

When you learn a new language and culture, one of the best things you can do is to learn the slangs of that particular language. You not only acquire new words, but you learn the words and expressions people use on a regular basis. Imagine you being in a group and people starting to talk using slangs that translated make have no meaning. You would be confused, right?

Most American and English slang words have found their way in the Mandarin Chinese. The young generation, teens, young professionals, and trendsetters are the ones that use them the most. In this article, you will find the top 10 most used slang words and expressions in Mandarin Chinese.

1. 太棒了! (tài bàng le) - Awesome!

This is the literal translation of this popular American slang. It is used to express the feeling of extreme excitement or amazement. It can be used to describe an event or a person.


  • “我送给你一件礼物。.”
  • “Wǒ sòng gěi nǐ yí jiàn lǐ wù.”
  • (I’m giving you a present.)
  • 你太棒了!.”
  • “Nǐ tài bàng le!”
  • (You are awesome!)

2. 哥们 (gē men) – Bro

People use this term to refer to male best friends. 哥们 (gē men) can be used to refer to a group of bros or a singular bro. Even females use哥们 (gē men) if they are bros, with no romantic interest.


  • “介绍你认识两哥们。.”
  • “Jiè shào nǐ rèn shi liǎng gē men.”
  • (Introducing you to two of my bros.)

3. 亲 (qīn) – Bae

Bae is a colloquial shortened form of the words “babe” or “baby”. In Mandarin Chinese 亲 (qīn) is also an abbreviated form of the term of endearment which means “dearest” or “dear” - “亲爱的 (qīn ài de).” It is often used as a greeting in internet messages to create an affectionate and warm tone.


  • “亲!你在网上订的衬衫已经到了.”
  • “Qīn! nǐ zài wǎng shàng dìng de chèn shān yǐ jīng dào le.”
  • (Bae! The shirt you ordered online is here)

4. 养生狂 (yǎng shēng kuáng) - Health nut

We all have that friend who wakes up at 5 a.m., runs five miles, does Cross-fit, Pilates or aerobic, takes a lot of vitamins, eats all healthy and goes to bed at 11 p.m.. 养生狂 (yǎng shēng kuáng) is the perfect way of describing this, and is the literal translation of “crazy about health”. 


  • “他不吃糖类?有点像个养生狂.”
  • Tā bùchī tánglèi? Yǒu diǎn xiàng gè yǎng shēng kuáng.”
  • (He doesn’t eat sugar? Seems kind of like a health nut.)

5. 炫 (xuàn) - Show off

Xuàn is the Mandarin Chinese word to show off. The people can show off their luxury items, cars, money, and others. As social media tools have grown (Twitter, Weibo, Instagram, and others), it is a lot easier to xuàn (炫) about anything. Also, you have to always use the word with a noun.


  • “Steve 出来炫车了,你看他买的新兰博基尼!”
  • “Steve chū lái xuàn chē le, nǐ kàn tā mǎi de xīn
  • lán bó jīní!”
  • (Steve came out to show off his car, look at his new Lamborghini!)

6. 不是我的菜 (bú shì wǒ de cài) - Not my cup of tea

This is the Chinese counterpart to the English “not my cup of tea” and translates to “not my dish”. This term can also be used to explain why you not fit romantically with another person, or to decline something you are not interested in a polite way.


  • “谢谢,我不去,那不是我的菜。.”
  • “Xièxie, wǒ bù qù, nà bú shì wǒ de cài.”
  • (Thanks, I’ll pass, it’s not my cup of tea.)

7. 说曹操曹操到 (Shuō cáo cāo cáo cāo dào) - Speak of the devil

It is used the same way as the English “speak of the devil”. In the Chinese language, the expression refers to a Chinese general, 曹操 (cáo cāo), who had a vast network of spies.


  • “说曹操曹操到,刚才刚刚说起Mary, 她就来了。.”
  • “Shuō cáo cāo cáo cāo dào, gāng cái gāng gāng shuō qǐ Mary, tā jiù lái le.”
  • (Speak of the Devil, as soon as we talked about Mary, she arrived.)

8. 电灯泡 (diàn dēng pào) - Third wheel

The phrase literally means “light bulb.” When two people are on a date, they prefer a romantic and dim environment. That is when the 电灯泡 (diàn dēng pào) lights up the room with a 200-watt light bulb. 


  • “做电灯泡最讨厌了!
  • “zuò diàn dēng pào zuì tǎo yàn le!.”
  • (Being the third wheel sucks!)

9. 神级 (shén jí) - Top-notch

This is used to compliment someone for their top-notch skills (in foreign languages, sports or video games).  神级 (shén jí) literally means “God level.” This phrase is used to compliment people, not animals or objects.


  • “英国神级厨师做出可颂甜甜圈。.”
  • “Yīng guó shén jí chú shī zuò chū kě sòng tián tián quān.”
  • (A top-notch American chef created the cronut.)

10. 哇! (Wà!) - Wow!

This is used to express a feeling of shock or excitement. 


  • “哇! 好好吃!.”
  • “Wà! hǎohǎo chī!”
  • (Wow! So delicious!)

Now you have learned the most popular slang words In Mandarin Chinese. But keep in mind that slang is used mainly around people you are familiar or friendly with. It is considered inappropriate to use them with your professor or your boss.

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