Chinese Slang: How do you say “girly” in Chinese? 娘

Today we bring you a Chinese slang word that is short but sweet: 娘.

娘 (niáng) traditionally has the following meanings:

  1. mother or mom
  2. form of address for older married woman
  3. a young woman (eg. 姑娘 – gūniang – ie. young girl; 新娘 – xīnniáng – ie. bride)

But among young people 娘 has also come to mean “girly,” mainly when describing guys. It’s a funny word and very similar in tone to “girly” so don’t be surprised if your Chinese friends crack a smile when you say it. (It might be better not to use it when you play basketball though.)

Observing 娘 in the wild shows 3 main usages.

First, you can just say that a guy is 娘, and  you can use the general modifiers (eg. 很,真,太,这么) to describe it. 

很 example:


“tái dāngjú guānyuán mà mǎ yīng jiǔ “hěn ~”,tiǎoxìnxìng yǔyán yǐnfā pīpíng 。”

“Taiwanese official’s provocative language draws criticism when he calls Ma Yingjiu ‘girly’”



“zhōngguó nánhái tài ~le ,zěnme zhěngjiù ?”

“Chinese guys are too girly – how do we save them?”

这么 example:


“jiěmì: nánrén wèishénme zhème “~””

“Cracking the code: Why guys are so ‘girly’”

Second, you can say that some behavior is 娘。You just say the behavior, and then add a 很娘, eg.:


“nánrén dǎ sǎn hěn ~?”

“Is it girly for guys to use umbrellas (to block the sun)?”

Third, some other phrases have appeared that build on top of 娘:

1) 娘娘腔 (niáng niáng qiāng): girly way of speaking


“wèishénme yǒude nánrén “~”?”

Why do some guys have a girly way of speaking?

2) 娘里娘气 (niáng lǐ niáng qì): broadly describing behavior, actions, and manner of speaking which lack manliness


“táng táng sān chǐ nán kěn zhǐ jiǎ ,shuí shòu déliǎo zhèzhǒng “~”?”

“Fully grown man biting his fingernails – who can stand such girliness?”

We hope you have fun with this word!

And we hope you’ll give FluentU a try!

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