Chinese Slang 101: “Color Wolf”

Have you ever been approached at a club by someone who seemed like a womanizer? There’s Chinese slang for that!

The phrase 色狼 (sèláng) literally translates as “color wolf”. This has no real meaning in English but most closely means “womanizer” or “sex maniac”. There is also a female version of this – 色女 (sènǚ), which can be used to refer to a femme fatale. To understand where these phrases come from, we need to take a closer look at the characters.

A breakdown of the characters in 色狼 (sèláng) and 色女 (sènǚ):

色 (sè): color (eg 黄色 – huángsè – yellow)
狼 (láng): wolf (eg 狼人 – lángrén – wolf man)
女 (nǚ): female (eg 女儿 – nǚ ér – daughter)

The character 色 (sè) is really pivotal here. The meaning goes beyond just “color” and can reflect appearance, looks and even sex. This most likely has its roots in Buddhism, which tends to view color as a spiritual expression of the earthly being. So, it has a long association with physical desire. This has trickled down into the Chinese language through 色 (sè). For example, 色情 (sèqíng) means “erotic”.

The meaning of 狼 (láng) is a little bit easier to understand. It refers to the wild and animal-like nature of a lustful person or a sex maniac.

Let’s go through a few examples to get a feel for how 色狼 (sèláng) is used in everyday speech.

Example 1)

“从少年到成年, 我一直在做一个好人还是做一个色狼之间左右摇摆.”

“cóng shǎonián dào chéngnián, wǒ yīzhí zài zuò yīge hǎorén háishì zuò yīge sèláng zhījiān zuǒyòu yáobǎi.”

“Since I was a child, I have vacillated between acting like a good person and a sex maniac.”

Example 2)


“hǎo sèláng huà bù duō.”

“A good womanizer is a man of few words.”

Example 3)


“tiānqì rèle, chūxíng shí chuānde zhuāngbèi yě zài jiǎnshǎo, sèláng yě kāishǐ chǔnchǔn yù dòng.”

“The weather is hot, people are wearing less clothing outside and sex maniacs are on the prowl.”

Example 4)


“nèige sèláng yòu chūxiànle? tā ràng wǒ húnshēn qǐ jī pí gēda.”

“That pervert showed up again? He gives me the creeps.”

Hope you like this Chinese slang! 

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