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Slow Chinese 每周漫闻 is an entertaining weekly dose of interesting words, phrases and idioms from the week’s news for learners of Chinese who want to take their language skills to the next level.
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Different ways to offend and be offended in Chinese – 骂 (Mà)3 min read

29 March 2021 2 min read

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Different ways to offend and be offended in Chinese – 骂 (Mà)3 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

There are many different ways to have a go at somebody, be offended or describe how angry you are in Chinese.

骂 (Mà), to shout at, ‘scold’ or have a go at someone, is a versatile word. Here are three ways to use it that were common in these two stories:

  • 辱骂 (Rǔ mà) – abuse, insult

    面对网友质疑,客服也站队辱骂杨笠!when questioned by Netizens the Intel customer service team also joined with those abusing Yang Li!

  • 谩骂 (Màn mà) – abuse (rude words aimed at a particular target)

    在网友谩骂声中,英特尔官方微博连夜下架了该代言内容 with the criticism of netizens Intel took down all content related to the brand ambassador in a single night

Confusingly there’s another word that sounds exactly the same as Màn mà but means something slightly different:

  • 漫骂 (Màn mà) – to hurl abuse at (normally without grounds, and not aimed at a particular person); similar to 乱骂 – randomly hurl abuse

    他破口谩骂一气 – he opened his mouth and started yelling abuse

Much like the many ways to say hate in Chinese, 骂 (Mà) can also be combined with other words like ‘pain’, ‘anger’ and ‘blame’:

  • 痛骂 (Tòng mà) – painfully having a go (shouting so loud it hurt)
  • 怒骂 (Nù mà) – angrily having a go
  • 责骂 (Zémà) – blaming and having a go (angrily accusing)

Similarly, there are also lots of different ways to say you are offended, hurt or insulted:

  • 侮辱 (Wǔ rǔ) – to insult – headlines of Yang Li and Li Dan both included this word

    不少网友认为让一个侮辱男性的人,来给以男性群体为主要用户的英特尔做宣传,不合适!many people believe that allowing someone who is [known to be] insulting of men promote a product that is largely aimed at men is inappropriate!

    这句话被广大的网友认为是在侮辱女性 – this sentence made many believe that [he] was insulting to women

  • 侵犯 (Qīn fàn) – infringe upon (rights, privacy etc)

    严重的侵犯到了众多的女性的权益 – this has infringed upon the rights of many women

  • 冒犯 (Mào fàn) – offend

    必然会冒犯到别人 – this will of course offend others

    很多男性觉得被冒犯到了,其实,那也只能说杨笠击中了他们内心的痛点 – many men felt offended; but really what it shows is that Yang Li right and they know it

After feelings have been hurt there’s the inevitable action taken by netizens, the brands and the celebrities which follow a well-established formula – seen at least twice this week:

  • 抵制 (Dǐzhì) – boycott or resist (actions of the people)

    大家纷纷抵制消费这款内衣 people started to boycott buying this underwear

    男性们怒了,在微博上激烈抵制 – men were furious and started to angrily boycott it through Weibo

    展开了对抵制者们的骂战 engaged in a war of words with those that had boycotted [the product]

  • 下架 (Xià jià) – to take off the shelves (actions of the brands) – remove products – also a busy week for this

    上杨笠代言英特尔,得罪了男客户;下架代言广告,得罪了女客户 hiring Yang Li as brand ambassador to Intel offended male customers; firing her as brand ambassador offended female customers [note: this is a nice use of the structure: 上….. 下…..]

    英特尔下架相关宣传就是在否认女性客户 removing Intel’s Yang Li branding is rejecting its female consumers

  • 滑跪 (Huá guì) – to kneel down under pressure, apologise (actions of celebrities)

    倒不如尽快在社交媒体上“滑跪”,才是一个明星能作出的,最得体的认罪 – quickly kneeling down before [their fans] on social media is the thing that celebrities can do, and the most appropriate way to to admit they are wrong

Finally, there’s lots of idioms to talk about being angry or emotional if you really want to get colourful. Here are three:

  • 沸沸扬扬 (Fèi fèi yáng yáng) – bubbling with noise, fervently

    英特尔找脱口秀演员杨笠代言一事闹的沸沸扬扬 the issue of Intel’s brand ambassador is causing quite a stir

  • 来势汹汹 (Lái shì xiōng xiōng) – to bear down menacingly

    网友的吐槽来势汹汹,异常猛烈 – angry complaints from netizens are particularly strong

  • 义愤填膺 (Yì fèn tián yīng) – be filled with righteous indignation

    女性朋友们更是义愤填膺 – women were even more indignant [than men]

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