31 Words For Idiot In Chinese

It seems I’m a bit obssessed with synonyms.

Just for fun, here is a list of 31 ways to say “idiot” in Mandarin, ranging from most common to least common.

1. 白痴 báichī – An idiot. Can also mean idiocy as a disease.

2. 傻子 shǎzi – Idiot. Less formal.

3. 呆子 dāizi – Same as 傻子 shǎzi.

4. 愚人 yúrén – Idiot in 书面语 shūmiànyǔ (formal/written language); literary register.

5. 蠢货 chǔnhuò – Idiot, a “stupid commodity”. Used as a term of abuse.

6. 蠢才 chǔncái – Same as 蠢货 chǔnhuò. Alternative form: 蠢材.

7. 傻瓜 shǎguā – Idiot, used either as a term of abuse or jokingly between friends. Literally, “dumb melon.”

8. 呆瓜 dāiguā – Same as 傻瓜 shǎguā.

9. 笨蛋 bèndàn – Idiot, as a term of abuse.

10. 二百五 èrbǎiwǔ – A simpleton. Slang. Literally, “two hundred and fifty” – have no idea why.

11. 蠢人 chǔnrén – Idiot.

12. 木头人 mùtourén – Idiot, specifically one who stares blankly, as if in a trance, or one who is slow in understanding. Dated.

13. 傻帽儿 / 傻帽 shǎmào[r] – Idiot or idiotic. Colloquial.

14. 草包 cǎobāo – Idiot. Literally, “straw bag”. Dated.

15. 脑残 nǎocán – Idiot. New and popular slang. Literally, “brain impairment.” Can also function as an adjective: “brain-dead”. Is often used to put-down the 富二代 fùèrdài – the supposedly idiotic children of wealthy families in China.

16. 饭桶 fàntǒng – A good-for-nothing – a “rice bucket” – that is, someone who can only eat but not doing anything of note.

17. 傻逼 shǎbī – Idiot. A popular new slang expression. Literally, “stupid cunt”. Probably derives from 牛逼 niúbī, “cow’s cunt”, another popular expression, which equates to “fucking awesome” in English. Appropriately vulgar, but extremely common. Alternative/polite form: 傻B.

18. 蠢驴 chǔnlǘ – Idiot. Literally, “stupid donkey.” Term of abuse.

19. 低能儿 dīnéngr – Idiot. Can also mean one who gets high marks in school but fails at life. Wenlin lists a third meaning as, “sb. with little or no ability in a certain area.”

20. 笨家伙 bènjiāhuo – “Stupid guy.”

21. 无知者 wúzhīzhě – Long-winded form of idiot – same as 愚人 yúrén.

22. 憨子 hānzi – Idiot. Rare, regional slang.

23. 笨瓜 bènguā – Same as 傻瓜 shǎguā and 呆瓜 dāiguā.

24. 笨贼 bènzéi – Idiot. Uncommon. Literally, “stupid burglar.”

25. 愚氓 yúméng – Idiot/fool. Uncommon.

26. 痴汉 chīhàn – Idiot/fool. Uncommon – probably another dictionary-only word.

27. 胸大无脑 xiōngdàwúnǎo – Not just an idiot, but a big-breasted bimbo. Slang.

28. 脑缺氧 nǎoquēyǎng – Literally, “brain lacks oxygen.” Refers not just to an idiot, but specifically one who can’t express oneself. You might say to such a person, 你脑子进水了 nǐ nǎozi jìnshuǐ le, meaning, “Your brain is flooded.”

29. 笨货 bènhuò – Idiot. Literally, “stupid commodity.”

30. 大傻个儿 / 大傻个 dàshǎgè[r] – Idiot. Northern slang, meaning, “big dumby.”

31. 笨伯 bènbó – Idiot. Uncommon. 书面语 shūmiànyǔ (formal/written language).

15 Comments to "31 Words For Idiot In Chinese"

  1. 18/11/2010 - 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Great, i think it covers almost all of ways to say idiot in Chinese, it would be good to know, but it won’t nice to say them.

  2. 13/01/2011 - 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Haha! I love this!

    I got myself into trouble in China when bartering, offering ¥250 and not budging! Eventually, after a little embarrassment, the 售货员 explained that I was insinuating he was an idiot and that he would happily take ¥249 or ¥251! When I questioned him, he explained that this saying came from a time when there were ¥500 notes. By calling someone 二百五 you are saying that they are only half of 500. This equates to saying something like ‘not all there’ or ‘one short of a six pack’ etc.

  3. Noleen's Gravatar Noleen
    02/08/2011 - 10:59 am | Permalink

    HaHa, very interesting.

    But I think 流氓 is normally describe a guy who is disrespectful (to girls). And 傻B is a very rude word~~ Don’t use it if you don’t know how to use in China~~ otherwise you may get into trouble~~ LOL

  4. Noleen's Gravatar Noleen
    02/08/2011 - 11:01 am | Permalink

    there is an other one: 你脑袋一半是水,一半是面粉。haha~ understand?

  5. 27/08/2012 - 1:32 am | Permalink


  6. Austin's Gravatar Austin
    07/04/2013 - 6:31 am | Permalink

    二百五 is slang for common person because it is said that there are only 250 common surnames in Chinese e.g. the pervasiveness of Wang, Li, etc.

  7. David Lloyd-Jones's Gravatar David Lloyd-Jones
    17/04/2013 - 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Stupid in English: “Has great potential.”


  8. Shenmebi's Gravatar Shenmebi
    13/12/2013 - 9:11 pm | Permalink

    You left off 2B…

  9. Tao Hong's Gravatar Tao Hong
    28/12/2014 - 7:02 am | Permalink

    I don’t quite remember the story but something like,
    Someone accidentally killed the emperors dog/horse whatever.
    The emperor wanted to know who it was.
    He sent out a message to people like he was someone else, telling people that the emperor was stupid and deserved to get his dog/horse whatever killed.
    The person who stepped forward to admit it was him would get 1000 Yuan.
    Stupidly, four people said they did it, got 250 each and then killed…
    Something like that…

  10. Aku's Gravatar Aku
    23/11/2016 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    How would you say “idiot” as in to your significant other, in kind of a loving manner?

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