How to Say “Funny” in Chinese: 6 Common Words
There are several ways to say “funny” in Chinese.
To start off, you have 好笑, 可笑, 幽默—and more.
These actually have important differences, so don’t get them mixed up!
In this guide, I’ll go over common words that all mean “funny” in Chinese, with examples so you’ll be clear on when exactly to use them.
好笑 (hǎo xìao)
This is the most basic, vanilla way to say “funny.” It can be a neutral or positive word, and it works for most situations that you find funny. If you’re not sure how to say “funny” in Chinese, this is the default word to use!
当他演戏的时候，你会觉得很好笑。(When he acts, you’ll find it really funny.)
这个故事看上去很好笑。(This looks like a very funny story.)
可笑 (kě xiào)
可笑 (kě xiào) is typically used for people or incidents that are especially stupid or ridiculous. So don’t confuse it with 好笑—you might insult people around you.
To put it another way, if you call someone 好笑, then you are usually laughing with them. But if you say they’re 可笑, then you’re laughing at them. So typically, when you’re talking to someone, you use 可笑 to refer to a third party so that you and your friend can laugh at them together.
那个论点实在是太可笑，完全没有道理。(That argument is simply ridiculous and makes no sense at all.)
他的装扮看起来太可笑了，像是个小丑。(His outfit looks too ridiculous, like a clown’s costume.)
幽默 (yōu mò)
幽默 (yōu mò) is a very different word since it means “humorous.” Like “humorous,” 幽默 sounds more sophisticated. You can think of Mark Twain or the awesome and Jimmy O. Yang as 幽默 (yōu mò).
幽默 also has a positive tone. You can compliment a person by saying they’re 幽默, which means they’re being witty and good at making people laugh. Of course, you can also describe shows, books and situations as 幽默.
A related word is 幽默感 (yōu mò gǎn), which means “sense of humor.”
他的幽默感染了每一个人。 (His sense of humor infected everyone.)
这个卡片上的笑话很幽默。(The joke on this card is very humorous.)
滑稽 (huá jī)
滑稽 is a more nuanced word that means something is goofy, silly, or absurd. You can think of it as the Chinese word for “comical.”
滑稽 can describe humor that’s exaggerated or even ridiculous, like funny faces, slapstick comedy or clownish antics. A good example would be a cartoon character who waddles or wears oversized shoes.
孩子模仿大人的样子，真是滑稽极了。 (The child mimicking the adult is extremely comical.)
他穿着一套动物装扮出现，看起来非常滑稽。(He showed up wearing an animal costume, looking very amusing.)
搞笑 (gǎo xiào)
This is a casual term that means “funny” in a lighthearted way.
Unlike 可笑, it’s not negative or mocking. There’s also a sense of it being done on purpose—搞 means “doing” or “making,” so the phrase literally means “making people laugh.” You can even use it to describe your own silly mistakes.
明星在节目中经常通过搞笑来吸引观众。(Celebrities often engage in funny antics on the show to attract viewers.)
我居然把车钥匙锁在车里了，真是搞笑。(I actually locked my car keys in the car; how ridiculous of me.)
逗 is a more playful word for “funny.” It can also describe the act of teasing or joking.
Unlike 搞笑, which implies an active attempt to be funny, 逗 is used more broadly for anything that’s amusing. Friends might say 别逗了 (Stop teasing) to each other, and parents might tell their kids warmly: 我来逗逗你 (I’ll play with you).
这本漫画书真逗，让人忍不住笑出声来。(This comic book is really funny; it makes you burst into laughter.)
那只小狗太逗了。(That puppy is so amusing.)
As you can see, there are several ways to say “funny” in Chinese. The catch-all word for “funny” is 好笑, but as you get more comfortable with Chinese, you can start trying out the other terms for more nuance. While you’re at it, check out Chinese comedy and jokes too so you can understand Chinese humor better.
Hope you enjoyed this post!