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?

  • 1
    Do you mean "黄脸婆" in your title? If so, I suggest you change your title.
    – fefe
    Commented May 7, 2014 at 9:23
  • Did you mean the poker face expression of "面無表情" or was there some other phrase?
    – Tommie C.
    Commented May 7, 2014 at 15:23
  • 1
    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. Commented May 7, 2014 at 22:46

3 Answers 3


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. : )

  • 1
    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
    Commented May 7, 2014 at 10:07
  • Yes this was the phrase I heard. Thanks for the explanation.
    – quipquopro
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 12:54
  • 1
    Sounds dreadful and offensive saying that to your wife.
    – user76935
    Commented Jun 4, 2014 at 22:43

黄脸婆 [huáng liǎn pó]

The ancient women's cosmetics are backwards, with face powder containing lead, and those generally used are toxic, long-term use can lead to pale yellowness. So in older women, the longer the time of injury, the more severe. The older women will show a 'Huanglian Po'. 现代的“黄脸婆”





Modern 'wives':

  1. Older woman have ovarian dysfunction, leading to endocrine disorders, melasma forming on the skin, pale yellow.

  2. Refers to women and is caused by aging of the skin surface, generating yellow melanin, cell deposition.

  3. The mean man disparages his wife, often causing emotional problems; the man is tired of the woman, leading to a marriage crisis.

  4. The appearance of women is not good, not necessarily for middle-aged woman, carrying negativity, is generally used.


All the answer mean 黄脸婆 yellow face wife. Normally would say it to Woman only.

  • 黃臉婆 (Traditional chinese, which is writing in Taiwan)
  • 黄脸婆(Simplified chinese, which is writing in China)

Poker face is

  1. 撲克臉(Traditional chinese), 扑克脸
  2. 面無表情

As for traditional and simplified chinese, and why there look similar yet different. Please search relevant info.

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