“Ask me what my t-shirt says in Chinese”


See what she wrote on the sheet of paper she’s holding. Tian, who sent me the link, tells me the characters on her shirt mean Motherf*cker. It’s nice to see hanzi in America being put to good use!

The Discussion: 65 Comments

Help for struggling Chinese student please: on the blue shirt the bottom characters are “ni ma de” (I’d ask why “ma” is half traditional and half-simplified but the answer would probably just confuse me). But what’s the top one, qu4 £¨È¥£©written funny? If so I’ve learned a new expression today…

March 26, 2005 @ 6:55 pm | Comment

Okay, I still can’t figure out how to write characters in Haloscan…


March 26, 2005 @ 6:57 pm | Comment

Dear “Other Lisa”,

The character 媽, in the 馬 partial, the four dots have been replaced with one horizontal stroke. That is just a simplified way of writing it. If you have seen 草体 (grass font), often various characters are simplified in same manner.

去 means “go (away)”.

去你的 depends on the context, it would mean “get (you/yourself) away”, or “f*ck off”.

去你媽的 means “motherf*cker”.

I hope it was helpful. Feel free to email me if you have any further questions.

March 26, 2005 @ 7:19 pm | Comment

I thought CAO was an essential part of that particular phrase.

I would probably have translated this as go do/to (F*&K) your mother. This slogan sounds like an instruction to me rather than a description.

Then again, my Chinese is even worse than my English, so I shouldn’t really make comparisons.

Now, where to buy one?

March 26, 2005 @ 8:17 pm | Comment

Thanks Tian – I didn’t know you could use “qu4” that way…see, these are the kinds of questions I can’t ask my Chinese teacher…

Now if only I could figure out how to write characters in Haloscan…

And I’d like to buy one too!

March 26, 2005 @ 8:24 pm | Comment


操 is also acceptable.

操你媽的 is the equivalent of 去你媽的. But it is more degrading, since it is used to describing a forceful phyiscal act. While 去你媽的 is only verbal illustration.

March 26, 2005 @ 8:46 pm | Comment

Is that NYC? I see the blue license plate.

March 26, 2005 @ 9:25 pm | Comment

È¥Äã‹ŒµÄ means more like f*ck off, it is more polite than others.

March 26, 2005 @ 9:30 pm | Comment

The white van behind this young lady has “Cascade Water Service” and a partial phone number of “516-932-####”. Since the company is located in Hicksvilla, New York, therefore the photo is taken in NY area.

March 26, 2005 @ 9:36 pm | Comment

Ps. I have watched way too much “Law and Order” to figure out locations with small clues.

March 26, 2005 @ 9:37 pm | Comment

Are you Chinese or white? male or female? For some reasons, I am always confused.

March 26, 2005 @ 9:42 pm | Comment


I am Chinese, but on my mother’s side, my great grandmother is Russian. Too bad she is not Native American, otherwise I could start open my own casinos here in the states.

I am male. 28 years old and counting.

I have one cat (actually joined custody) named Jane:


I have two websites:




March 26, 2005 @ 9:50 pm | Comment

thank you for your explanation, tian is a beautiful Chinese name, but kinda like a girl name, maybe thats why I thought you’re a girl.
The name also reminds me of Christian.

March 26, 2005 @ 9:58 pm | Comment

Very nice photos of your cat, you must love your cat a lot. I used to have over 50 cats in my house at one time. Can you imagine?
I used to breed and show Persian cats, but cats breed like rabbits. It became a full time job, I got off the business after 2 years with 3 of the original Persians and Himalayan.

March 26, 2005 @ 10:08 pm | Comment


you are absolutely right about “Tian” (恬) being a girl’s name.

The typical translation for 恬 is “quiet, calm, tranquil, peaceful”, but if it was used in a phrase such as 恬不知恥, which means “brazen-faced; totally devoid of sense of shame”. And 恬不為怪 means “not surprised at all”.

Regardless, I am secure with my masculinity and quite fond with my “girlish” name.

I am unique just like garlique.


March 27, 2005 @ 12:20 am | Comment


It is interesting you mentioned about “Christian”. As you may know, many Chinese have names that are difficult for Westerners to pronounce, therefore some of them would use English names.

I actually had people ask me if “Tian” was an abbrivation of “Christian”.

also, there are websites and organizations used the term “ex-tian” to describe people that no longer believe in the Christian faith.

March 27, 2005 @ 12:25 am | Comment

For added insult:

qu ni nainai de:
go (unsaid but understood:@*%^) your grandma’s (unsaid but understood: c-nt)

To be completely crude and graphic:

wo cao ni ma bi:

I’ll @*%^ your mother’s c-nt

March 27, 2005 @ 10:20 am | Comment

qu ni nainai de:
Can you type that in Chinese? I don’t understand.

March 27, 2005 @ 10:45 am | Comment

Ah, thank you Schticky Rice for further enriching my vocabulary. Have you all seen the book, “Outrageous Chinese – Beijing Street Language”? It’s a few years old now but is a lot of fun.

March 27, 2005 @ 11:52 am | Comment

JR :it’s probably 去你奶奶的

(..richard, your site is becoming a course in Chinese profanities …)

March 27, 2005 @ 5:53 pm | Comment

“richard, your site is becoming a course in Chinese profanities …”

Cool. Something’s gotta help me boost site traffic.

March 27, 2005 @ 6:09 pm | Comment

well, you’re just not allowed to go on vacation, Richard…speaking of which, I’d love to hear more about your trip.

March 27, 2005 @ 6:23 pm | Comment

this is really eye-opening

March 27, 2005 @ 7:17 pm | Comment

These are the information one will never learn from the textbook published by the Fu Dan University.

how was the master hairdresser doing?

Richard, get it? 😉

March 27, 2005 @ 7:32 pm | Comment

Tian, that is an “in” joke that only you and I will get. Ni yao meirong ma? 🙂

March 27, 2005 @ 8:04 pm | Comment

And Lisa, more on the vacation to come, I promise. Patience. 🙂

March 27, 2005 @ 8:06 pm | Comment

I’d translate ????Bush (qu tamade Bush) as just “Fuck Bush”.

March 28, 2005 @ 2:23 am | Comment

I wonder if she’s giving them out for free

March 28, 2005 @ 7:05 am | Comment

Other Lisa,

Mei wenti. I’ve always felt that the different ways of expressing profanities in different languages are direct windows into the respective cultures. Anglo-Saxon profanities tend to be direct, no nonsense, graphic and anatomical. French profanities tend to be expressions of religious blasphemy that appear completely inocuous to non-Catholic ears. Chinese profanities are mostly inocuous in what is explicitly stated, but highly vulgar in what is implied. Self-censorship has a long Chinese tradition.

I have not read Outrageous Chinese – Beijing Street Language. Where can I get a copy?

March 28, 2005 @ 10:41 am | Comment

“Outrageous Chinese” is available on Amazon.com, used $29.98.

ISBN: 0835125327

March 28, 2005 @ 11:31 am | Comment


I’d agree with you if it was actually qu tamade Bush, except that’s not what’s actually printed on the shirt: qu nimade Bush.

ta, the third person, would imply something in general.
ni, the second person would implicitly mean that Bush is the one doing the action. Therefore, the best translation would be ” Go (f*ck) your mother’s (bush), Bush”.

March 28, 2005 @ 12:02 pm | Comment

Dear Schticky,

I forget where you are geographically, but i have seen copies of Outrageous Chinese in of all places the Beijing Friendship Store bookstore in recent years. Sad that it’s out of print and so expensive now (the original price is 9.95 USD). Someone really should do an update.

March 28, 2005 @ 12:38 pm | Comment


Thanks for the Amazon link, but US$29.98 for a used book?

I’m in Ottawa, Canada. I’m afraid I’ll have to wait for the second edition. Perhaps it will be out in print next time I visit Beijing. Hard to believe it’s been 16 years since my last visit.

March 28, 2005 @ 5:31 pm | Comment

Dear Schticky,

You will not recognize the place. Believe me. When I went back for the first time after a long absence, i was just stunned.

March 28, 2005 @ 5:56 pm | Comment

“I’d agree with you if it was actually qu tamade Bush, except that’s not what’s actually printed on the shirt: qu nimade Bush.

ta, the third person, would imply something in general.
ni, the second person would implicitly mean that Bush is the one doing the action. Therefore, the best translation would be ” Go (f*ck) your mother’s (bush), Bush”.”

qu nimade bush – refers to bush himself

qu tamade bush – refers to what bush represents, his thoughts or policies

March 29, 2005 @ 2:06 am | Comment

also, the change of “cao” shows how big the influence from taiwan is

people who used to say “cao” now prefer the taiwanese version “kao”, which is not that direct and rude

“cao” is like “f**k” but “kao” is more like “shit” or “faint”

as a matter of fact, more and more young guys use “shit” instead of “kao”, and some of them start to use “shi” instead of “shit”

on the web people like to use TNND or TMD to refer these bad words

the great tradition of bad words in china seems losing their grounds …

March 29, 2005 @ 2:16 am | Comment


I never learnt any of this when I was studying Chinese, for some inexplicable reason my teacher chose not to teach us curse words.

Out of interest is Cao puerly a verb, or can it be used as an exclamation, as in OH Cao, when you drop something heavy on your foot.


Has your site taken a sudden dive in hits thins month? like maybe 200 or 300 hundred a day below average.

March 29, 2005 @ 4:39 am | Comment

ACB, my traffic has been very steady at around 1,000 a day

March 29, 2005 @ 6:48 am | Comment

According to my Chinese friend Anna (who has lived in the states a while so her slang may be out of date), you can say “Wo cao!” which is kind of like “Oh f*ck me,” not literally, but you can say that when you screw something up and are annoyed with yourself.

And thanks, Bingfeng, for the additional explanations! Where else are we diligent students of Mandarin going to learn such necessary things?

March 29, 2005 @ 11:06 am | Comment


Which “kao” or “gao” are you referring to?

拷 or 搞

I understand the mainlanders’ mandarin pronounciations are a little different than the Taiwanese.

屎 is a good choice for “sh!t”, what about 大糞 or just 糞?

March 29, 2005 @ 5:50 pm | Comment


I don’t know “wo cao” (我操) would translate as “f*ck me”, perhaps it should be “cao wo” (操我)?

Also, 早操 means “morning exercise” not “morning f*ck”, even though most of us would rather spend the time in bed “test the mattress spring”. 😉

March 29, 2005 @ 5:56 pm | Comment

do you notice that Chinese word for shit is •³ meaning to share the rice field. Isn’t that a prophetic word for communism?

March 29, 2005 @ 6:18 pm | Comment

bingfeng can correct me if i’m wrong, but i think “kao4” is just a different way of pronouncing “cao4” (‘€) — they say “kao” for “cao” in hong kong movies, too: “wo kao!” (see stephen chow movies for lots of this….)

also, it may be good to point out that slang across china varies a lot. for example, in beijing people say “sha3 bi1” (idiot/assh*le/f*cker) or “niu2 bi1” (awesome/cool) a lot… in beijing “bi” is a very uncouth way of referring to a female body part, but, from what i understand, “bi” is pretty much meaningless in other parts of china….

March 29, 2005 @ 11:09 pm | Comment

Boy there’s some money to be made here..a little anyway…all you native Chinese speakers should get together and compile a new version of Outrageous Chinese…I’LL buy it!

March 29, 2005 @ 11:47 pm | Comment


the simplified 糞 is now 粪, which is just 米 on top of 共. I don’t know if you are familiar with Chinese history, but when the Communist party took control, they have divided all properties among the people. There is no private properties, aka 田.

Isn’t that interesting?

March 30, 2005 @ 12:09 am | Comment


Bi1” can be used as “vagina”, “pussy”, and “cunt” all depeneds on the context. I have never seen the character in the modern Chinese dictionary, but it exists. And its meaning is well known through out China.

March 30, 2005 @ 12:15 am | Comment

Well, one more plug for OUTRAGEOUS CHINESE – it has an interesting explanation about how Cao4 was originally written, as well as Bi1 (which he says is usually just written as “X” these days). He had to draw the characters because I guess they’ve been expunged from modern written Chinese. He says the original version of Cao4 used Ru4 – enter and rou4 – meat/flesh. Bi1 used shi1 – recumbent body, combined with xue2 – cave or orifice.

March 30, 2005 @ 12:41 am | Comment


here is the character for the original “cao”:


and the original “bi”:


March 30, 2005 @ 1:07 am | Comment

Dear Tian,

What a cool site! I’m bookmarking it. Thanks.

March 30, 2005 @ 1:28 am | Comment


I actually have that book (Chinese Characters: a Geneology…). I bought it my first year of class but it was sort of more than I was ready for. I’ll have to have another look at it now…who knew it was so useful? 🙂

March 30, 2005 @ 1:32 am | Comment

the week of sex

the week of sex

March 30, 2005 @ 6:46 am | Comment

Oh, man, I’m getting in on this late. A while ago, I had an idea for a textbook called “流氓中文 (Hoodlum Chinese): A Niu Approach” – the joke being that all Chinese textbooks have “A New Approach” or something of the sort after the colon in their titles, and niu is the more acceptable version of niubi, which I glossed in a blog entry a while back.

“去你妈的 BUSH” is more like “Screw you[r mother], Bush” than “Say no to Bush,” which would just be “对布什说不!” Also, on the subject of words for “fuck,” I’m a big fan of the original form of cao, 肏, which is, etymologically, “enter meat.”

March 31, 2005 @ 6:42 pm | Comment

Thanks Tian. After all these years I’ve finally learned how to write, and not just say the ‘bi’ word. My mom had my mouth washed out with soap the first time I uttered those words after picking it up from a neighbourhood kid nicknamed, I’m not making this up, tiedanr ( Ìúµ¯¶ù), which roughly translates to “balls of steel”, a very working class name indeed.

As for my mom, the only cuss words I’ve ever heard coming out of her mouth was goupi (dog fart)…the Chinese equivalent of bullshit I guess.

March 31, 2005 @ 6:45 pm | Comment

You all are very welcome. I am glad my service was helpful. Perhaps I should start a ÖÐÎÄÙ_Ô’ÅàÓ–°à?

April 1, 2005 @ 1:17 am | Comment

This may be a little ®‹ÉßÌí×ã, but “asshole” in Chinese is ƨÑÛ (pi4 yan3).

ƨ = to break wind; to fart
ÑÛ = eye; eyelet, hole, opening

you can also use ¸ØéT (gang1 men2), which means “anus opening”. It is usually used in the medical field, not crass enough.

I am expecting everyone to use these phrases freely, there will be a quiz later.

April 1, 2005 @ 1:30 am | Comment

Tian, I definitely think you should add an adjunct site to one of your blogs on this subject…I’ll bet you it will be very popular.

April 1, 2005 @ 4:30 pm | Comment

the week of china sex (adults only)

the week of china sex (adults only)

April 1, 2005 @ 7:57 pm | Comment

But Mandarin’s a pretty disappointing language for cursing, I think, compared to Spanish or English.

April 1, 2005 @ 10:35 pm | Comment

piyan is correct, but ji1pi4yan3r (chicken fart orifice) is more prevalent in common usage. I’m not sure why the chicken adjective is thrown in, or if it has anything to do with the alternative meaning of ji: prostitute (usually female, as opposed to ya1, or duck, which usually refers to a gigolo)

April 2, 2005 @ 12:33 pm | Comment

The act of male raping another male is called 雞姦 (ji1 jian1).

April 3, 2005 @ 6:36 pm | Comment

Would like to read your interview with a 1989 demonstrator, but I can’t open the link in China. Could you send it to my mailbox?

April 27, 2005 @ 12:53 am | Comment

re Outrageous Chinese is available at
$9.95+$7.00 shipping

May 2, 2005 @ 4:38 am | Comment

I’m an American HS teacher and I periodically ask one of my students from Shanghai to help me out with my mandarin–he gave me this one:
gan ni lao mu ¸ÉÄãÀÏĸ
“do your old lady”

May 26, 2005 @ 11:51 pm | Comment

Brendan, I won’t be lining up to buy your book.

The suffix “de” attached to any verb-object compound creates a NOUN – normally a noun to describe or holler at the person who regularly performs this action.

mai rou de! = butcher!

zuo fan de = cook/chef

qu ni ma de = A person who goes with his own mother (noun)

It should not be translated as “go fuck your mother”. For that leave off the “de”.

I think its in Book 1 of “A new approach to modern Chinese”;)

December 3, 2005 @ 1:52 am | Comment

More Mandarin profanity here.

February 20, 2006 @ 11:25 am | Comment

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