I looked up a dictionary and

插,刺,捅,扎 are all translated as "sting".

Any difference between them? For example some are more casual while others are not...

  • 1
    some users are wondering which dictionary would have only one word as entry for each of these verbs,cf."汉语水平考试词典":**插** 乙(动)[义1]把细长或片状的东西扎进、挤进别的东西(stick in;insert):~花|~曲|~头|~图|~页|~座|安~|~翅难飞|见缝~针|蛋糕上~着几支生日蜡烛。[义2]中间临时加入,参与(interpose;insert):~手|穿~|自觉一点,别插队!|对不起~一句话|早已开学了,你只好做~班生了。**刺**乙(动)用针或尖头的东西去扎(sting;stab):~绣|拼~|针~|他用针在手臂上~了一朵花|警察被歹徒~伤了。[义2]刺激(irritate;stimulate):~鼻|~目|~眼|刀在钢板上刮的声音常~耳|明亮的灯光~得他眼睛也睁不开。[义3]偷偷的杀死;暗杀(assassinate):~客|行~|美国总统肯尼递是被~杀的|他在途中遇~身亡.
    – user6065
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 12:22
  • [义4]暗中打听(detect;spy):工业间谍专门~探经济情报。[义5]用挖苦的话嘲笑别人(criticize;satirize):不要去随便讽~别人|他够伤心的了,你别再拿话去~他。**捅** 丁(动)[义1]用尖而长的东西戳、扎(poke;stab):不小心~了个漏子|凶犯~刀在他肩上,血流了出来|把信从门缝里~进去|这人太凶了,没人敢去~这个马蜂窝。[义2]碰(stir up;give a nudge):用指头轻轻地~了他一下|老李腰部受伤了,别~他的腰。[义3]揭露;说出来让人知道(disclose;give away;let out):小李把单位里的事都~到外面去了|我给你讲的悄悄话,可别到处乱~。**扎** 乙(动)[义1](用)尖的东西刺、插入(prick;stab):~手|~针|手上~了一根刺|在小女孩耳朵上~孔儿戴耳环。[义2]钻进去、投入(plunge into;get into):一头~进水里|他在农村已经~根了。[义3]驻扎(pitch):稳~稳打|安营~寨|部队在草地上~营。
    – user6065
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 12:23

2 Answers 2


cha, usually use it as, fork, you stick fork into food. you stick your finger into your mouth, etc. its usually not aggressive.

ci, the second one, basically as, needle, eg: the fish bone hurt my finger... when you are having a shot from doctor, etc.

tong, I feel this is like, you use weapon firmly stick into something, a bit aggressive. for example, the knife sticked into your body...etc

zha, this one is like an accident, you accidentally hurt your finger, by a very small, sharp thing, for example: the glass hurt me, you can use "zha", also "zha" usually is not deep, its like hurt you on the surface...

just a brief explain.


I would say, 刺 and 扎 highlights the acuteness of the things that is stabbing. If there has to be a difference, 刺 can be done with something pointing or sharp, but 扎 usually refers to only pointing things. But 捅 isn't necessarily sharp. Instead, 捅 usually implies a rapid and forceful movement. 插 can be the mildest and the most casual action of the four, and it also sometimes implies that their is already a slit or a hole before putting into something, like a plug, a card slit, or a blank.

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