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I looked online and couldn't find an answer. I was told it means something similar to "poker face" here in Taiwan. Do you know what this might mean?

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Do you mean "黄脸婆" in your title? If so, I suggest you change your title. –  fefe May 7 at 9:23
    
Did you mean the poker face expression of "面無表情" or was there some other phrase? –  Tommie C. May 7 at 15:23
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Can you please state the Chinese word? The answer has made some assumptions about it and might or might not be what you are looking for. -1 for 'unclear' from me. –  deutschZuid May 7 at 22:46

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I guess the term you mentioned, yellow wife, is referred to "黃臉婆" (yellow-face wife).

"黃臉婆" describes a woman who has married for a long time. The (face) color indicates that she has aged with the burden of housework. (Someone says, in ancient China, to cover the aging face, women misuse the cosmetics with lead and make their face getting yellow. The elder, more yellow.)

It's a negative term. Husbands use this term to describe their wife as love is fading out. Wives complain the houseworks and the relationship by calling themselves as "黃臉婆"

I think there's some differences between poker face and this term. : )

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Mostly agreed. But as to why the face has gone yellow, I think the reason is 1) the strain of housework has impacted her health so the microcirculation is no longer in good condition, and/or 2) the housewife has been too busy involving in housework that she does not have time to put on make up powders, which is usually white, to cover the yellow skin color. –  Rephinx May 7 at 10:07
    
Yes this was the phrase I heard. Thanks for the explanation. –  quipquopro May 8 at 12:54
    
Sounds dreadful and offensive saying that to your wife. –  user76935 Jun 4 at 22:43

男女青年结婚以后,由于开始持家,有的女子就不注意打扮,便有“结婚就是变黄脸婆”的说法。

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黄脸婆 [huáng liǎn pó] 古代女性所用的化妆品落后,一般所用的搽脸粉含铅,有毒性,长期使用会导致脸色变黄。所以年纪愈大的女性,受害时间愈长,受害愈深。故年长一些的女性就会呈现“黄脸婆”的症状。 the ancient women's cosmetics backward, face powder containing lead, generally used for toxic, long-term use can lead to pale yellow. So the older women, the longer the time injured victims, more deep. The older women will show a 'Huanglian Po.'. 现代的“黄脸婆”

①大龄女人卵巢功能减退,导致内分泌失调,在皮肤上形成黄褐斑,脸色泛黄。

②指女子因各种原因导致肌肤表面老化,黄黑色素的生成,细胞沉积。

③指男人对妻子的贬称,往往感情出了问题,男方厌倦女方,婚姻出现危机。

④指容貌不好看的女子,不一定是中年女子,带有贬义,一般是骂人时用的。 Modern 'wives' ①the older woman ovarian dysfunction, leading to endocrine disorders, melasma from forming on the skin, pale yellow. ② refers to women caused by aging of the skin surface, generating yellow melanin, cell deposition. ③The mean man of his wife's disparaging, often emotional problems, the man is tired of the woman, marriage crisis. ④The finger appearance woman is not good, is not necessarily the middle-aged woman, with a curse, is generally used

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