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The Anger Game: Phrases for Getting Angry in Chinese

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Question: If ordering food, asking for directions, and exchanging contact information are only beginner-level language skills, what makes an advanced-level Chinese learner?

Here’s my answer: Using the perfect Chinese phrases to express your anger. If you’ve experienced the frustration of not being able to defend yourself in a heated conversation because of your limited vocabulary, you know what I’m talking about.

In this article, you’ll find over thirty phrases and expressions to use in intense situations. These will help you understand what that angry Chinese man might be yelling about, as well as expand your vocabulary to help you express your own feelings and emotions more freely.

Before we proceed, I’d like to assure you that there are no overly vulgar or profane angry Chinese phrases below. That said, you should still be cautious when using any of these phrases—while they’re not too strong, they can still be offensive or rude, especially if used in the wrong context. If you’re curious about curse words in Chinese, you can read all about them in a separate lesson.

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Table of Contents

  1. Angry Imperatives
  2. Angry Warnings
  3. Angry Blames
  4. Describe Your Feelings
  5. Ways to Calm Down When You’re Angry
  6. Final Round: Apologizing
  7. Conclusion

1: Angry Imperatives

Complaints

When annoyed, we tend to give impatient and harsh imperatives. For example, in English, we say things like “Shut up,” “Cut it out,” or “Get out of here.”

In Chinese, some of these phrases have translations with the exact same meanings, while others vary a bit.

走开! (Zǒukāi!)

This phrase literally means “Walk away,” but it’s really a stronger phrase to tell someone: “Get out of the way!”

滚蛋! (Gǔndàn!)

The literal translation of this phrase sounds a little too cute (or yummy): “to roll an egg.”

滚 (gǔn), meaning “to roll,” here is asking someone to “get lost.” The word 蛋 (dàn), or “egg,” in Chinese slang is often associated with something indecent, such as 王八蛋 (wángbādàn), the equivalent of “bastard,” and 妈蛋 (mā dàn), the equivalent of “crap.”

滚 and 蛋 together is a common phrase that translates as “Get the heck out of here!”

闭嘴! (Bìzuǐ!)

Just like its literal translation, this phrase means “Shut your mouth!”

To make this command, or any of the others, stronger and angrier, stick the phrase 你给我 (nǐ gěi wǒ) before the verb.

你给我 (nǐ gěi wǒ) literally means “you give me,” but in imperatives, it’s short for “I’m ordering you to do …” This is a tone intensifier that presumably makes the speaker feel more powerful.

你给我闭嘴!(Nǐ gěi wǒ bìzuǐ!)

闭嘴 (bìzuǐ), as we mentioned earlier, means “Shut your mouth.” Adding 你给我 (nǐ gěi wǒ) doesn’t change the meaning. Instead, it only makes the tone stronger.

你给我滚蛋!(Nǐ gěi wǒ gǔndàn!)

As explained earlier, 滚蛋 (gǔndàn) means “Get the heck out of here!” 你给我 (nǐ gěi wǒ) only makes 滚蛋 more potent, similar to the English “Get the hell outta here!”

The subject 你 (), meaning “you,” can be omitted.

给我滚蛋! (Gěi wǒ gǔndàn!) has the same meaning and effect.

你给我听好!(Nǐ gěi wǒ tīng hǎo!)

This literally translates to “You give me listen well!” But it means something more like: “You better listen to me carefully!”

To sternly order someone not to do something, like a parent would tell a child not to interrupt, we can use the 不许 (bùxǔ) + verb pattern.

A Girl Getting Scolded by a Parent

不许 (bùxǔ) means “not allowed.” Here are some examples using the 不许 before verbs:

不许插嘴。(Bùxǔ chāzuǐ.)

This literally means “Interrupting is not allowed.” It translates as “No interrupting.”

不许胡说。(Bùxǔ húshuō.)

胡说 (húshuō) means “to talk nonsense.” 不许胡说 is telling someone to stop making stuff up.

不许说脏话。(Bùxǔ shuō zānghuà.)

This phrase is typically used by a parent telling his or her child not to say bad words.

脏话 (zānghuà) means “dirty words” or “bad words.”

2: Angry Warnings

When the angry imperatives don’t work, it might be time to upgrade to some intimidating warnings. These warning phrases are a great way to show someone you’re about to get very angry in Chinese.

Woman Pointing Finger at a Man with a Mug

别惹我。(Bié rě wǒ.)

The verb 惹 () means “to provoke,” but here it means “to mess with” or “to irritate.”

别惹我 is used to warn someone: “Don’t mess with me.”

你给我小心点。(Nǐ gěi wǒ xiǎoxīn diǎn.)

You just learned that 你给我 (nǐ gěi wǒ) intensifies an imperative. It also intensifies a warning.

小心点 (xiǎoxīn diǎn) literally means “to be a little careful.” Together, the phrase 你给我小心点 translates to “You better watch out.”

我警告你,这是最后一次。 (Wǒ jǐnggào nǐ, zhè shì zuìhòu yí cì.)

This is a firm warning that says: “I’m warning you, this is the last time.”

我的忍耐已经达到极限了。(Wǒ de rěnnài yǐjīng dádào jíxiàn le.)

This one means: “My tolerance has reached its limit.”

别怪我不客气。(Bié guài wǒ bú kèqi.)

The phrase 不客气 (bú kèqi) here has a different meaning than the 不客气 that’s used to say “You’re welcome.”

客气 (kèqi) is a unique and almost untranslatable word in Chinese. It has the positive meaning of being courteous, nice, and formal. Its negative form, 不客气 (bú kèqi), means “not nice” or “without any courtesy or etiquette.”

别怪我 means “Don’t blame me.” Together, the phrase 别怪我不客气 means something like “Don’t blame me for being mean.”

This is a common phrase used in trash talk.

3: Angry Blames

Two Girls Fighting

When it’s time to really get angry in Chinese, angry blames take the stage. During the exchange of angry words and phrases, putting blame on the other person and name-calling always bring tension to the next level. We’ll introduce these phrases, but hope you never have to use them.

The common blaming and name-calling phrases in Chinese we’ve listed below are in order from least harsh to most harsh.

你太过分了。(Nǐ tài guòfèn le.)

This phrase means: “You crossed the line.”

你这个人真是莫名其妙。(Nǐ zhège rén zhēnshì mòmíngqímiào.)

莫名其妙 (mòmíngqímiào) is a Chinese idiom, or 成语 (chéngyǔ), that means “confusing” or “can’t be explained.”

你这个人真是莫名其妙 translates as “You are such an oddball,” implying that you don’t understand why the person is doing what they’re doing.

你活该。(Nǐ huógāi.)

This phrase is just like the English “You deserve it.”

你算老几?(Nǐ suàn lǎojǐ?)

A little cultural background before we break down this phrase:

When a family has more than one child, the children are referred to not only by name, but also by their birth order. The firstborn is 老大 (lǎodà), the second is 老二 (lǎoèr), the third is 老三 (lǎosān), and so on. The oldest child, 老大 (lǎodà), is usually put in charge when the parents aren’t around. Therefore, 老大 also means “boss” in slang.

The phrase 你算老几? literally means “You are what number down the line?” implying “You’re not the one in charge.” Oftentimes, it’s translated as: “Who do you think you are?”

你脑子有病吧?(Nǐ nǎozi yǒubìng ba?)

The literal translation is “Is your brain sick?” It could also be translated as: “What the heck is going on with you?” but with a slightly stronger tone.

Calling someone 有病 (yǒubìng), or “sick,” is one of the most common ways in Chinese colloquial language to vent anger. This is by no means vulgar, but still serves the purpose of expressing your despise and disgust.

Another way of calling someone sick in the head is 神经病 (shénjīngbìng), meaning “psycho.”

After “sicko” and “psycho,” the list of name-calling slang words goes on. Below are some commonly used name-calling words, also in order from least to most harsh:

大嘴巴 (dà zuǐbā)

This is literally “big mouth,” but it refers to someone who can’t keep a secret.

铁公鸡 (tiě gōngjī)

This literally translates to “iron rooster,” referring to someone who is cheap and stingy.

This term comes from the 歇后语 (xiēhòuyǔ), or “two-part saying”:

  • 铁公鸡 — 一毛不拔
    Tiě gōngjī — yīmáobùbá.
    “An iron rooster — never pulls out a feather.”

It’s used to describe the same type of people.

自恋狂 (zìliàn kuáng)

This word literally means “self-love maniac.” This is someone who thinks the world of themselves, always posts their selfies on social media, and can’t stop staring at themselves in the mirror.

It could translate to “egocentric” in English.

戏精 (xìjīng)

This word is similar to “drama queen.” It refers to the type of person who likes to over-exaggerate and make a scene.

妈宝男 (mā bǎo nán)

The literal translation of this phrase is “mom’s baby man,” which is similar to “mama’s boy” in English. But it only applies to adult men who are spoiled by their mothers, and who still rely on their mothers whenever something comes up.

白痴 (báichī)

This refers to someone who knows nothing. An idiot.

二百五 (èrbǎiwu)

“Two hundred fifty” is not an ordinary number in Chinese. It’s a symbol for stupid people.

绿茶婊 (lǜchá biǎo)

This literally means “green tea b*tch.” It’s used to call the type of girl who appears innocent and harmless like a cup of refreshing green tea, but deep down they’re calculating or could even be evil.

脑残 (nǎocán)

This word literally means “brain handicapped” or “mentally disabled.” They’re the kind of people, usually young folks, who make stupid decisions.

To use the above name-calling words in sentences, you can use the 你就是个… (nǐ jiùshì ge…) pattern.

  • 你就是个妈宝男。
    Nǐ jiùshì ge mā bǎo nán.
    “You’re such a mom’s boy.”
  • 你就是个戏精。
    Nǐ jiùshì ge xìjīng.
    “You’re such a drama queen.”
  • 你就是个二百五。
    Nǐ jiùshì ge érbǎiwu.
    “You’re such an idiot.”

4: Describe Your Feelings

Negative Verbs

Arguing and fighting is exhausting, especially with all the yelling and name-calling. It may be hard to do, but always try to tell the other person how you feel instead of saying something you’ll regret later—or for the rest of your life.

Here are some examples of phrases you can use to express that you’re feeling angry in Chinese, or to tell someone about your other negative feelings:

  • 我实在是受够了。
    Wǒ shízài shì shòu gòu le.
    “I’m so fed up.”
  • 我对你太失望了。
    Wǒ duì nǐ tài shīwàng le.
    “I’m so disappointed in you.”
  • 我不想跟你吵架。
    Wǒ bùxiǎng gēnnǐ chǎojià.
    “I don’t want to fight with you.”
  • 我只想一个人静一静。
    Wǒ zhǐ xiǎng yīgerén jìngyījìng.
    “I just want to be alone and have some quiet time by myself.”
  • 你为什么要这样对我?
    Nǐ wèishénme yào zhèyàng duì wǒ?
    “Why are you treating me like this?”

5: Ways to Calm Down When You’re Angry

Yoga Namaste Pose

When none of the above actions can resolve the issue and you’re only finding yourself getting more angry, try to walk away and do something to distract yourself.

To calm yourself down, you can try:

1. 深呼吸。 (Shēn hūxī.)

“Take a deep breath.” Getting some cleansing air into your body usually helps to slow down your heart rate and lower your blood pressure.

2. 走一走。 (Zǒuyizǒu.)

“Take a walk.” Go for a walk outside to get your mind off the things that upset you. It gives you a chance to slow your mind down and think about what made you so mad and if it’s really worth being upset over.

3. 听音乐。(Tīng yīnyuè.)

“Listen to music.” Music has the power to heal. Either cry it out with some sad music, or crank up the dance music to let the negative energy out.

4. 写下来。 (Xiě xiàlai.)

“Write it down.” Write down in your journal, or on a piece of paper, about what happened, why it happened, and what you could have done better. When you read it back to yourself, you’ll be surprised to find how silly and trivial these things are.

You can also try to write a letter or message to the person you had a fight with. When people communicate through written words, it often turns out to be more calm and logical than the face-to-face confrontations.

5. 记住:生气就是用别人的错误惩罚自己。(Jìzhu: Shēngqì jiùshì yòng biérén de cuòwù chéngfá zìjǐ.)

“Remember: Getting angry is punishing yourself for the mistakes of others.”

6: Final Round: Apologizing

A sincere apology is magical. It ends fights, mends relationships, and heals wounds. After you manage to calm down, chances are you’ll feel sorry for being angry and using hurtful words that were totally unnecessary.

Couple Hugging

Here are some soothing apologies you can use:

  • 对不起。
    Duìbuqǐ.
    “I’m sorry.”
  • 我错了。
    Wǒ cuò le.
    “I was wrong.” Or “It was my fault.”
  • 我向你道歉。
    Wǒ xiàng nǐ dàoqiàn.
    “I apologize to you.”
  • 我也有不对的地方。
    Wǒ yěyǒu búduì de dìfang.
    Literally: “I also had improper places,” meaning “I also did something improper.”
  • 我们和好吧。
    Wǒmen hé hǎo ba.
    “Let’s make up.”
  • 我们以后都要有话好好说。
    Wǒmen yǐhòu dōu yàoyǒu huà hǎohǎo shuō.
    Literally: “We should always talk to each other peacefully,” meaning “Let’s communicate without yelling in the future.”

7: Conclusion

As much as we don’t want you to use the angry and strong Chinese words and phrases introduced in this article, they’re still something you need to understand and know how to use, just in case. Seeking peace and co-existence is one of the essential philosophies in Chinese culture. So try to avoid disputes and fights when you’re in China.

To learn more about the language, the people, and the culture of China, explore ChineseClass101.com for more hidden treasures!

Before you go, let us know in the comments how you calm yourself down when angry. We’d love to hear from you!

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