Cryptic Chinese Quiz

This week’s quiz is a cryptic (隐晦的含义) one.

The following 14 words have been translated literally (character-by-character) from Chinese into English. Your challenge is to see if you can guess the original Chinese word, as well as the idiomatic English translation. You get double points if you can guess both languages.

  1. electric brain
  2. immortal palm
  3. husband and wife lung slices
  4. ear shit
  5. add oil
  6. 100 day cough
  7. yellow face lady
  8. walk in dog-shit luck
  9. foreign spring-onion
  10. lose love
  11. don’t want face
  12. avoid pregnancy cover
  13. shake-head pill
  14. release somebody’s pigeon




  1. electric brain:
    • Chinese: 电脑
    • English: computer
  2. immortal palm:
    • Chinese: 仙人掌
    • English: cactus
  3. husband and wife lung slices:
    • Chinese: 夫妻肺片
    • English: spicy beef slices with offal; beef and ox tripe in chili sauce (if anyone can think of a nice way of translating 肺片 let me know)
  4. ear shit:
    • Chinese: 耳屎
    • English: earwax
  5. add oil:
    • Chinese: 加油
    • English: come on! you can do it! go (somebody)!
  6. 100 day cough:
    • Chinese: 百日咳
    • English: whooping cough; pertussis
  7. yellow face lady:
    • Chinese: 黄脸婆
    • English: an ugly old woman; a hag
  8. walk in dog-shit luck:
    • Chinese: 走狗屎运
    • English: to fluke it
  9. foreign spring-onion:
    • Chinese: 洋葱
    • English: onion
  10. lose love:
    • Chinese: 失恋
    • English: to have one’s heart broken; to be jilted (formal)
  11. don’t want face:
    • Chinese: 不要脸
    • English: shameless
  12. avoid pregnancy cover:
    • Chinese: 避孕套
    • English: condom
  13. shake-head pill:
    • Chinese: 摇头丸
    • English: ecstasy
  14. release somebody’s pigeon:
    • Chinese: 放某人的鸽子
    • English: stand somebody up; pike on somebody (Aussie slang)

3 Comments to "Cryptic Chinese Quiz"

  1. Jean's Gravatar Jean
    13/11/2011 - 8:11 pm | Permalink

    This quizz was nice ! More accessible than the others, that are really very hard for me.

  2. Joseph's Gravatar Joseph
    21/11/2011 - 3:20 am | Permalink

    This was a really good one. I was able to figure out more of them than usual. Yay!

  3. Cata's Gravatar Cata
    06/10/2015 - 4:15 am | Permalink

    this was great! some I knew and some I didn’t. fun and educational. great job!

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