Common Chinese Adjectives to Describe a Person's Personality and Appearance (2023)

Common Chinese Adjectives to Describe a Person's Personality and Appearance (1)

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You're pretty, you're tall, you're smart, you're this, you're that.

Each language has its own scope.Vocabulary listdescribe someone, both in terms of personality and appearance.

Learn some of these key terms and you can greet your Chinese host family with a compliment orflatter the owner of a hotelsaying how beautiful she looks today.

We'll show you some common terms you can use to speak positively of others; It's sure to earn you some brownie points.among the locals.

Of course, we'll also mention some not-so-positive adjectives to use when you're complaining about your annoying coworker or need to talk your boyfriend out of a bad date.

Before we dive in, let's grab onelook at the grammarYHang tagsto describe people in Chinese. Please note that this post uses traditional Chinese characters.

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Use 很 when describing a person

It is quite easy to describe a person in English. You use the verb "to be" followed by the adjective (for example, he is young; you are a hard worker).

In Mandarin, the closest equivalent of "to be" is 是(SEy)A simple example would be I am your friend(wshì nǐ de peng yǒu- I'm your friend).

ButBe careful when describing other people.!Beginners may think that a phrase like "he is tall" means 他是高 in Mandarin(tā shì gāo).This is wrong, or as you would say in Mandarin, 不對(Payment of damages).The correct way is to use 很(They are).

This character is the English equivalent of "very". In some cases it is used to increase the intensity of a thought or feeling. For example 我很想你(wǒ hěn xiǎng nǐ– I miss you so much), instead of simply: I miss you(wǒ xiǎng nǐ .)- I miss you).

However,很 is also used in place of 是 when describing a personSo you would use that is big(tahen gao) to say: "He is tall."

If you insist on using 是, you can do so by adding 一個(your war)and people(de ren)between the verb So you could say that he is a great man(tā shì yī gè gāo de rén—He is a big man). This is more verbose and spoken conversations often use simply 他很高(tahēn gāo).

Etiquette for not so positive descriptions

In western culture, would you tell someone to their face that they are fat? I guess you would if you were intentionally trying to offend or show tough love. However, in a normal conversation you would use more politically correct terms so as not to offend that person. This can include terms like "curvy" or "full figured."

It is the same in Chinese culture.Certain terms are used to describe a person more delicately.

For example, instead of bluntly and callously saying "she's fat" or 她很胖(distress.)), a more appropriate formulation would be, is plump(also hěnfēng mǎn) Plump means "bulging." Another appropriate word would be smooth.(counterfeit yuan)redondo).

It is also generally considered offensive to make a quick phone call to someone. Just like in Western culture, people don't like to be told they're going to have a vertical challenge. So you don't want to say 她很矮(tā hěn ǎishe is short). A more polite term would be 娇小(jiao xiǎo), which can be better translated as "small".

With that label in mind,Be aware of the impact negative adjectives can havebefore using any of the following!

General terms used to describe a person's personality.

positive adjectives

In civil society, it is polite to comment. Here are some positive terms to describe personalities.

intelligent(Cong ming intelligent)

generous(Kang kǎi.)generous)

optimism(to the guanoptimistic)

Trust(Zi Xin.)self-confident)

vertical(gěng zhíhonest and fair)

loyalty (zhōng chéngfell)

to the earth(ta shi.)to the earth)

Carefree(he sitslocker, locker)

learned(wrap)learned and formed)

negative adjectives

With the positive comes the negative. We all have traits that we know can be improved. You may notice these less than desirable traits in other people. You can use negative terms to describe people you don't like.

To cheat(benduration)

hypocrite(xū wěifalse, hypocritical)

Lazy(lǎn duòlazy)

mean(I'm sorrycheap, stingy)

ignorance(wú zhīignorant)


period(Yeah)clumsy, stupid)

self-abasement(zì bēiself-humiliation, self-deprecation)

ing(Xiao Ai)anxious)

Remember that you can also describe someone negatively just by putting 不(Damage payment)before any of the positive terms listed above. Can you say 他不聰明(Ta compens cong Minh .)) say"not smart", which is essentially the same as 他很笨(tahěn like this –he's stupid) or "he's an idiot".

Note that when using 不(Damage payment), very(hn)not used

General terms used to describe a person's appearance

What about describing a person's physical characteristics? As with personalities, we'll list some positive traits followed by some perceived negatives.

positive adjectives

bonito(piao liangnice, beautiful) to describe a woman

good looking(Look.)handsome) to describe a man

Bonito(Cannedgood looking)



If you want to compliment someone's appearance without pointing out anything special, you can simply say 身材好(shn das ho), which literally means "good body" or "good figure".

What about 瘦? As in Western culture, the word "thin" can be positive or negative, although it is usually the former, as being thin is considered a desirable trait, especially for women. In Chinese culture, the term is generally positive by default. In fact, you can make a woman happy by saying 你很瘦(nǐ hěn shòuyou are thin/thin).

However, the term can also be negative. If someone said 你太瘦了(n shòu le talent.)You're too skinny), would imply that you should probably eat a little more. FurtherWomen in China are starting to eat lesshow they aspire to that skinny supermodel image, but that's another topic entirely.

negative adjectives



feo(that's allfeo)

As mentioned above, there are more politically correct terms for"bold" and "short"..“As for 难看, yes, I don't think there is a better word for it. Interestingly, the term is used quite often to describe babies. Parents will not hesitate to use this term when describing what their children were like as babies.

Adjectives with different meanings in Western and Chinese culture.

adjectives are alloweddiffer in meaning in Western and Chinese culture. What is considered a positive quality in one society may not be so in another.

Take the word "gullible" for example.

In English, the term has negative connotations, as it describes someone who is easily fooled or tricked. In Mandarin, a corresponding word is 老实(that's all). However, this term is not exactly negative. Describe someone whoalthough maybe a bit naivehe sees the good in other people and is quick to trust someone. Native Chinese generally do not use the term negatively.

Another word is introversion.(nei xiang)introvert). In Chinese culture, this is a fairly neutral term that only refers to someone who is shy and reserved. In English, "introvert" can mean more or less the same thing. However, some also use the term to describe someone who is antisocial or lacks confidence in front of other people. 內向 does not have that context.

In any case, neither in English nor in Mandarin are the terms necessarily black and white. Watch this video and jump to the 11 minute markwhere the trainers discuss various culturally ambiguous personality traits.

Compliment or even join in the local gossip with these new vocabulary words to describe people. Now you can assign attributes to family, friends or your favorite celebrity. I can say that about my favourite, for examplemandopopÍdolo Jolin Tsai: Jolin Tsai is sexy(put yī)— ¡Joline Tsai is sexy!).

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