I read a very interesting book called 'China in War and Revolution' about the period from 1900-1949 in China. I am curious about the meaning of the word 'chee' in the passage below. I don't speak Chinese (at all) and the author doesn't give the character in any case, sorry.

After the Japanese were defeated and the civil war was under way the CCP faced the possibility of counter-revolution. At least in some areas, in spite of all attempts to soften rural elite opposition over the preceding years, landlords greeted early discussions of coalition government and a return of the Guomindang with glee. One landlord told one of his workers. “Heh! Still pressing us to pay grain tax. Fuck you. Chee! The Guomindang armies will be here in a minute. Gonna cut your little prick off! Chee!"

Edit: the quote is cited to ... where it appears exactly as Zarrow rendered it, still saying 'Chee'. In Esherick's article, it's cited to Guanyu Yangjiagou de tudi wenti, 1946.

I googled this title and it comes up with Yangjiagou de tudi wcnti” (On the land problem in Yangjiagou, 9 August 1946, Mizhi Archives, permanent juan 4. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=ib-sEZzxkb4C&pg=PA84&lpg=PA84&dq=Guanyu+Yangjiagou+de+tudi+wenti,+1946&source=bl&ots=9EQWEzteqt&sig=sS0e_s--cl8xXyzMDaTIZ3-Wvck&hl=en&sa=X&ei=201KVfj5EuPR7QaVrYG4Cg&ved=0CCcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Guanyu Yangjiagou de tudi wenti%2C 1946&f=false

So, can't go much further really. Chee! I mean, Ciao!

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    Sounds like an exclamation of discontent. We have 嗤(chi) or 切(qie) in modern Chinese. The meaning and sounding are quite similar. I can't be sure unless I have the original source.. Commented Jan 10, 2015 at 3:03
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    Looking at that book I see this passage is quoted from a book by Jerome Grieder Intellectuals and the state in modern China. And your book says "romanization modified." I think that to figure out what Chinese word that is supposed to be, you would have to look at Greider's version. It could be 嗤 as Wang Dingwei suggests. But "chee" is not a standard pinyin syllable at all and 嗤 makes little sense here unless it was a "sound effect" in Chinese, of a kind not used much in English. Commented Jan 10, 2015 at 3:49
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    urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=cheebye - it looks like "chee" might be a dialectical shift for the "chou" sound in Mandarin, assuming that "cheebye" is what I think it is.:P Commented Jan 11, 2015 at 0:55
  • I am not sure this book would use a Chinese dialect. But I will report the web site mysmu.edu/faculty/jacklee/singlish_C.htm#chee_bye gives the definiton of "chee bye" as Singapore or Hong Kong dialect for 阴物, Mandarin yīn wù, in an obscene sense. Commented Jan 11, 2015 at 2:32
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    I think my point is that they're quoting people who might not have been speaking in perfect Mandarin (not to mention people from a while back). That's also interesting... I thought it was 臭(尸穴) in Mandarin Commented Jan 11, 2015 at 2:53

1 Answer 1


I would guess that may have simply been chi4 "赤" (red), since 赤匪 (red bandit) was an derogatory term used by the KMT for the communists.

  • Good possibility. Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 1:11

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