Take the 2-minute tour ×
Chinese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Chinese language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

The phrase 他妈的 has been explained in this question. Since I'm a no-expletives guy, I don't feel comfortable so close to the f-word. :) I was wondering what would be the correct way to use some of the milder curse words I use daily like "damn", "bloody hell", "sh*t", "arse" etc.

I'm guessing most of these cannot be translated directly, so I guess what I'm asking is: What would be more-or-less socially acceptable way of cursing in Chinese when you stub your toe?

share|improve this question

4 Answers 4

up vote 9 down vote accepted

May I suggest checking out the ChinaSmack glossary? They have a huge array of colorful language, and there is sure to be something that meets your needs in terms of a curse word there.

Just to add, I always hear Chinese girls saying 讨厌 (taoyan) when they are annoyed or frustrated, but it's not exactly the most masculine of statements. 烦 (fan) also seems to be a common expression amongst both genders, although not exactly the meaning you are looking for.

Hope that helps.

share|improve this answer
    
Or if stubbing your toe, 哎呀,好疼! might be pretty acceptable. 哎呀is one of my personal favorite words, and probably lines up with what you are trying to express pretty well. –  Ciaocibai Dec 14 '11 at 20:46
    
However, both 讨厌 and 烦 will almost never be used for cursing situations. :P "讨厌" is like "leave me alone" in girly form. –  Flake Dec 14 '11 at 20:48
    
Yes, 哎呀 or simply "啊(ah..)". ;) But, seems not too many people really say "好疼". It is like written words in novels. –  Flake Dec 14 '11 at 20:50
    
You definitely may suggest! :) It's amazing how some of these expressions on ChinaSmack are exactly the same as those used in my country. I haven't seen this in any other language (English, German, Italian...) –  dr Hannibal Lecter Dec 14 '11 at 20:58
    
Maybe it's the people I hang out with; I have to say, I've heard people say 哎呀 more in the South of China than the North. –  Ciaocibai Dec 14 '11 at 21:20

For cursing:

  • "操" is pretty similar to "damn" or "sh*t" in such situation of cursing. Also similar as they should not be used in very formal situations. However, the meaning of "操" is same as the f word in its verb form.
  • "操" should be quite acceptable (or at least ok) in informal scenarios.
  • "靠" has very very close meaning as "操" in this situation. Actually, it is some thing more dirty in origin.

Just express it hurts e.g. when get a toe stubbed:

  • While in very formal situations, I would say "Ah!(啊!)" (same as "Ouch!") without cursing. Note: the ah sound is really short, something short than 1/2 second perhaps.
  • 哎呀 has the similar meaning while in my personal impression, 哎呀 is more used in situation of surprises than got hurt.
share|improve this answer
    
Hm, are you sure about 操 being "damn" or "sh*t", my dictionary only says "to f*ck (vulgar)"? Doesn't seem like something I'd like to say when my program won't compile! –  dr Hannibal Lecter Dec 14 '11 at 21:21
    
By "pretty similar to" I meant only its usage in the situation of cursing. It has real meaning of f word, but in Chinese, widely used for cursing. 靠 is almost the same too. Yes, you can curse using 操 when your program does not compile. But only when you are really annoyed, e.g. when you are close to a deadline or in bad mood. –  Flake Dec 14 '11 at 21:26
1  
A bit off-topic, but being Scottish, 哎呀 is great for me - if I stub my toe or whatever, I already automatically shout 'ai ya!' :) Well, that or something like 'ai ya f**cker!' :D –  Cocowalla Dec 14 '11 at 21:29
    
I think I understand what you're saying, we have the same thing in Croatian. However, this is exactly the thing I wanted to avoid, I'd like to get a bit more euphemistic if possible. For example, I like using "blast!", "cor blimey!" and other, more "British" expressions so to speak. –  dr Hannibal Lecter Dec 14 '11 at 21:31
    
@drHannibalLecter I've never actually heard anyone British say "cor blimey!" in real life, but I take your point :) –  Cocowalla Dec 14 '11 at 21:34

"靠" is more like it, in modern oral Chinese.

While "操" is literally the F-word since it's a homonym of "肏" which means the F-word.

If you are looking for a more speakable word, 倒霉, 该死 or 见鬼 would be more fit.

share|improve this answer
    
I did not put "靠" because it is actually "尻" which is even dirty as I presume. But anyway, they are almost the same to me. :P –  Flake Dec 14 '11 at 20:53
    
No, it's not. It's a pure exclamation nowadays. –  Kabie Dec 14 '11 at 21:16
    
As I understand, the relation between 靠 and 尻 and the one between 操 and 肏 are the same. They are all 通假字. Both 靠 and 操 are used as 通假 only after computer era. –  Flake Dec 14 '11 at 21:28
1  
@drHannibalLecter To me, "糟糕" seems only appear in novels and movies rather than in real life conversations. Meanwhile, the very similar things, "糟了" / "坏了", are used in the situations where one forgets something important or similar. E.g. when I forget my project report in a meeting to managers, I may say "糟了" or "坏了" or "靠" or "操" silently. –  Flake Dec 14 '11 at 22:05
1  
@dr Hannibal Lecter: Yes, 糟糕 is the word. However it usually is said softly and repeatedly, unlike a big, loud /dæm/ could frame the emotion. –  Kabie Dec 14 '11 at 22:07

I know some people might think 干 is not-so-mild, but I tend to hear it a lot in the sense of

Damn, all the way over there? That's a long way to go
干!那么远的地方?走过去要很久

or

That chick is hot, damn!
那个正妹好辣,干!
share|improve this answer
    
Can you add Chinese examples? –  ash Jan 27 '13 at 22:34

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.