I can't find the difference between 生气 and 愤怒.

Oxford Dictionary says angry means 生气, but I found 愤怒 in the online dictionary. Both have more than 20 million hits on Google, both have pictures of angry people, and nowhere am I able to find if they have a different meaning or if using one or the other is preferred.

  • A good place to look for sentences with these words is, for example, dj.iciba.com/%E6%84%A4%E6%80%92-1.html Often, the English is appalling, but I presume the Chinese is good. Then you can see how the words are used in actual sentences, and maybe spot the differences yourself.
    – Pedroski
    Commented Apr 18, 2015 at 22:44
  • 生气 angry 愤怒 furious
    – John
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 2:12

5 Answers 5


In terms of degree of anger, 憤怒 is higher 生气.

In terms of context, 生气 is usually used in colloquial context, whereas 憤怒 is usually used in formal context.

Another term you may be interested in is 抓狂, which is a colloquial term with degree of anger higher than 憤怒

Here is an interesting joke that can hopefully help you understand better. I have quoted below the key phrases that denote the difference (forgive the offensive language used):



"F***ing psycho, go to hell!"



"You want some beef? F***, I dare you call again!"



"F*** your mom!" (three variations with the same meaning)

  • 1
    It should be noted that 生气 and 抓狂 are both less formal to 愤怒.
    – Xiaoge Su
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 22:04

The first, 生气,would mean angry in the colloquial sense. 愤怒 is a little more strong, and is not usually used in normal speech. You would say, 我生气了. 愤怒鸟 however, means Angry Birds in Chinese.

  • hello, thank you, do you mean 愤怒 is usually not used in normal speech because "it is not used in spoken chinese a lot" or because the word is more extreme and only used when someone is really really angry so it has less use cases?
    – Nannakina
    Commented Apr 18, 2015 at 23:16
  • @Nannakina Yes, you are correct. 愤怒 is stronger. Think of it this way: 愤怒=wrath. 生气=anger. Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 13:02

生气is slightly 愤怒, 愤怒is seriously 生气


They are different disagree in expressing "angry". 生气 means someone is angry, but it is not 愤怒。愤怒 means someone that is very angry.



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