9 Funny Chinese Proverbs that will Turn You Into a Comedian
Chinese is a language packed with centuries of cultural wisdom and storytelling tradition. It’s only natural that there exists a slew of funny Chinese proverbs designed to give you a chuckle.
These proverbs are a terrific way to catch a break from your language studies and they give both literal and figurative meaning to words by effectively organizing the structure of the sentence or phrase.
Here are 9 funny Chinese proverbs to make your Chinese language learning experience a heck of a lot more entertaining!
A Chicken falls in soup
The characters read ‘fall’, ‘hot water’, ‘bird’. When translated accurately it means “A Chicken falls in soup.” It is ironic, because no sensible chicken would willingly boil itself in hot water. I guess when applied to life it can also mean “A person who made a mistake”.
A mouth like running water
While this Chinese proverb is beautiful when it comes to the character composition, the meaning is still a bit of stretch when translated. The characters read ‘heaven’, ‘flowers’, disorder/chaos/riot’, ‘fall’. This unique combination of characters means to talk as if flowers were raining down from heaven in a chaotic fashion. Simply speaking it can be translated to an English idiom. “A mouth like running water.” or, ‘a chatterbox’.
Pīnmìng kāichē de rén yídìng huì dàodá nàli
A Man who drives like hell to get there
This one is for all you speed demons out there who drive like it is your last day on earth. Whenever I ride in my brother’s car, I accept my faith before I step in car because I know he is going to be doing 80mph in a 40mph zone while texting on his phone. I always tell him “You’re driving towards your end.” This proverb, while amusing is a clever way of cautioning reckless drivers.
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Chinese is a fascinating language and making the lifelong decision to learn Chinese can change your life for the better. Furthermore, you’ll be able to take advantage of these funny proverbs (hopefully without managing to offend anyone either.)
Similar to Chinese jokes, funny Chinese proverbs hold a unique meaning in the language, because of the cultural value behind them. Language individually cannot stand by itself, it needs the support of the culture that’s hosting it. Why not take a short break from your intense studies and get a good “HAHA” or “Ohhhh” from these classic funny Chinese proverbs?
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Yòng yígè kuàizi chīfàn de rén shì è de
A man with one chopstick goes hungry
Have you ever tried eating with one chopstick? Not only is it impossible, but it’s impossible (see what I did there?) I would call this a funny Chinese proverb because it is truly frightening to think about sitting in front of a big bowl of gyoza and steamed rice with one chopstick. On a more figurative level this proverb is saying “Find the balance in your life.”
Yí gè nán rén zài diàn zhà lán shàng xiǎo biàn jiāng huì dé dào lìng rén zhèn jīng de xiāo xi
A man who pees on a fence, receives shocking news
Who in their right mind pees on a fence, an electrical one in fact? If I had to convey a figurative meaning for this “shocking idiom” it would be “Don’t try to solve a problem, while you’re creating your own.”
Yí gè zài chuáng shàng chī bǐng gān de nán rén xǐng lái gǎn jué hěn zāo gāo .
A man who eats crackers in his bed, wakes up feeling crummy
Admit it, this is comedic gold…crummy? OK, maybe that was a bit sarcastic. Anyways, the only thing I can think of when I hear this proverb is to not be greedy and eat too much food, especially before bedtime.
NSFW Funny Chinese Proverbs for Private Laughs
These are Chinese proverbs that are specifically made for short outbursts of laughter. These are not so commonly used in casual conversation; however, you might see them somewhere in a slang book due to the slightly “NSFW” nature of them.
Yí gè yú chǔn de nán rén gěi le tā de qī zǐ yí jià sān jiǎo gāng qín zhì zhě gěi qī zǐ yí gè zhèng zhí de qì guān .
A foolish man gives his wife a grand piano. A wise man gives his wife an upright organ
HINT: It is not the organ in the church.
I am just here to share the joke, don’t go crazy in public talking about “upright organs”.
Shǒu zhěng tǐ chā zài kǒu dài lǐ de rén guò fèn zì xìn .
Man with a hand in pocket feels cocky all day
Okay, okay settle down kiddies. This one speaks for itself and can go in several ways depending on your interpretation. Nonetheless, it’s extremely clever and Confucius ought to be proud of this creation. I’m just re-reading this and noticing how funny this Chinese proverb is. The literal and figurative meanings blend so perfectly, its comical!
Yì tiān dào wǎn hè qī zǐ chǎo jià de nán rén wǎn shang shén me dōu dé bú dào
A man who fights with his wife all day doesn’t get any piece at night
If you’re wondering if I typed that right, I did. At first it took me a while to get it, then I remembered that English is a language with a lot of homonyms. The word “piece” in this scenario means something other than what you think it means… “piece of what?”
Kiandro has a B.A in Asian Studies and enjoys studying foreign languages. He’s proficient in Japanese and currently has Chinese, Spanish, Swahili, and Esperanto on his plate.