It is a commonly used idiom that means rude; no respect for one's elders.

However, I wonder why it is called 没大没小. I would like to know its origin.

2 Answers 2


大小 means the seniority or generation.


Regardless of seniority or generation.

Regardless of seniority or generation.
To describe a lack of propriety and ignorance of rules.

典故出處 Origin: 《Journey to the West》
Good son-in-law! So impolite! Even want your mother-in-law too.


Chinese is like internet slogans; most of the time, you can't find its origin, but there is always a reason for it. For instance, 不分黑白, can't distinguish black or white? Black is bad and white is good, so somebody 不分黑白 means he/she is too foolish to tell who is good or bad. Of course, you there are many ways that you can say that in Chinese, such as, 不懂黑白,不知黑白,不明黑白,不别黑白,but these are awkward to pronounce, so eventually, people picked "不分黑白"。

The same thing for your case. For, 没大没小,it's similar, of which has the meaning of can't distinguish who is older or younger. You can say, 不分大小,the same thing。不懂大小,不知大小,不明大小,不别大小 are all okay. Eventually people pick up 没大没小 as a more popular choice. 不懂尊卑 is also widely used in Hong Kong gangster movies. 尊=Big; 卑=Small; see?

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