chinese vocabulary

The Ultimate Chinese Vocabulary Guide: 80 Lists to Build Your Word Bank

One of the best ways to work on your fluency in Chinese is to build your vocabulary. The more solid a foundation you have with your vocabulary, the better you will be able to understand and navigate conversations.

This post will take you through 80 of the best Chinese vocabulary lists to help you build that core vocabulary in everything from greetings to slang to business lingo and even more! 


Common Words and Phrases 

These lists contain some of the most important vocabulary that you should know since you will use it in almost any Chinese conversation. 


7 Polite Ways to Say Thank You in Chinese for Any Situation | FluentU Chinese Blog

Thank you in Chinese is as simple as saying 谢谢 (xiè xiè) and bowing. Or is it? Here we show you seven different ways to say “thank you” in Chinese in a variety of…


Apology Accepted: 6 Ways to Say Sorry in Mandarin Chinese (and 4 Ways to Respond)

Arm yourself against accidental cultural faux pas with six ways to say sorry in Chinese. Learn when to use which phrase and how to respond when you’re the recipient of the…


And in Chinese: 11 Ways to Join Nouns, Verbal Phrases, Adjectives and Actions | FluentU Chinese Blog

There are lots of ways to say “and” in Chinese. 和 (hé) might be your go-to translation, but did you know that there plenty of other ways to connect two things in…


16 Ways to Say No in Chinese Like a Native Speaker | FluentU Chinese Blog

You need to know more than just 不 to say no in Chinese. Native speakers rarely use 不 on its own, and if you want to blend in, you shouldn’t either. Click here to learn…


Good Luck in Chinese: 29 Well-wishes and Blessings for Native Speakers | FluentU Chinese Blog

You might want to say “good luck” in Chinese for any number of occasions: Tests, weddings, new jobs… In Chinese, there are different ways to wish someone the best…


The Ultimate Guide to 没有 (méi yǒu) in Chinese | FluentU Chinese Blog

You’ll probably need 没有 (méi yǒu) when 不 (bù) doesn’t do the trick. Though both can be translated as “no” or “not” in a sense, 没有 will help you say that you…


Chinese Feelings: How to Express Your Emotions Like a Native Speaker | FluentU Chinese Blog

Learn these useful Chinese feeling words in this complete guide to emotions. Aside from learning 20 new words for both positive and negative emotions, you’ll learn how to…


33 Everyday Chinese Phrases That You Need To Know

Knowing these 33 everyday Chinese words and phrases will put you well on your way to making great friends and lasting memories while on your trip!


Colors in Chinese: 86 Mandarin Colors with Idioms and Cultural Notes | FluentU Chinese

Ready to learn lots of Chinese color vocabulary? Click here for a mega list of 86 Chinese colors, you’ll be able to talk about any shade from vermilion to beige. You’ll…


60 Animals in Chinese and Their Cultural Significance | FluentU Chinese Blog

Go beyond just learning the names of animals in Chinese and learn all their cultural significance and fascinating symbolism. This list of 60 animals in Chinese includes…


70+ Body Parts in Chinese: A Complete List of Body-related Words and Idioms | FluentU Chinese Blog

Let’s go beyond head, shoulders, knees and toes! This definitive list of over 70 words and expressions for Chinese body parts will take your vocabulary from preschool…


Seasons in Chinese: The Weather, Words and Holidays You Need to Know | FluentU Chinese Blog

Learn the seasons in Chinese, and discover useful Chinese vocabulary associated with each one. You’ll read about the weather in China and important seasonal holidays.…


34 Vegetables in Chinese, Plus Bonus Phrases and Vegetarian Dishes | FluentU Chinese Blog

We’re serving up 34 vegetables in Chinese for learners who are looking to add some essential vocab to their diet! Learn how to say common vegetables in Chinese, as well as…


How to Count Chinese Numbers 1-1000 and Beyond | FluentU Chinese Blog

Learning Chinese numbers is essential for achieving Mandarin fluency. Click here to read this simple guide to counting in Chinese, including Chinese numbers zero to a…


How to Tell Time in Chinese: Vocabulary, Times of the Day, Expressions and More | FluentU Chinese Blog

If you want to learn how to tell the time in Chinese, read this ultimate guide. You’ll find how to tell time, count the hours, minutes and quarters, use time-related…


Days of the Week in Chinese: The Standard, Modern and Colloquial Forms, Plus Sample Dialogues | FluentU Chinese Blog

Want to learn the days of the week in Chinese? We’ll teach you all three ways to say the days in Chinese: xīng qī, zhōu and lǐ bài (including pronunciation…


The Complete Guide to Months in Chinese (and the Lunar Calendar) | FluentU Chinese

Learn how to say all 12 months in Chinese, as well as the Chinese holidays. Additionally, we cover years and dates in Mandarin, along with useful phrases for describing…


50+ Chinese Medical Terms for Surviving Your Doctor’s Visit | FluentU Chinese Blog

If you’re ever in China, knowing medical terms in Chinese could be just as lifesaving as being able to ask “where’s the bathroom?” Click here to learn over 50 Chinese…


Who’s Who in a Chinese Family? 38 Vocab Words for Learners

Family is one of the first subjects Chinese learners should be fluent in! Here are 38 essential vocab words for navigating family and friend relationships.


The Ultimate Vocabulary Guide to Family Introductions in Chinese

Are you introducing your Chinese friend to your family? Or maybe you’re meeting your Chinese friend’s parents. Here are all the vocab and phrases you need for family…


Pastime Paradise: Discuss Your Hobbies in Chinese with 20+ Words and Phrases!

Learn how to talk about your hobbies in Chinese with this list of 20 common vocabulary words for various pastimes and interests. Plus, we’ll teach you some Chinese words…


The Ultimate Chinese Vocabulary List For Soccer/Football & the World Cup

Learning Chinese and love soccer/football? Look no further – here’s the ultimate guide to Chinese vocabulary for football/soccer & the World Cup.


Now that you have a good base, we can start getting a bit more specific.

Chinese can be extremely useful in the business world, so here are some great business vocabulary lists that will help you sound more professional!


Business Chinese Vocabulary List: Foreign Companies in Chinese

Are you looking for a business Chinese vocabulary list for foreign companies in Chinese? You’ve come to the right place.


How to Write an Email in Chinese: The Business-ready Guide | FluentU Chinese Blog

Wondering how to write an email in Chinese for business purposes, or just generally? Get all the basics down with our five-step guide! We’ve also included key Chinese…


The Business Chinese Vocabulary List for Consultants

Do you know how to say “online marketing” in Mandarin Chinese? Our business Chinese vocabulary list for consultants has you covered – enjoy!


Suit and Tie Chinese: 26 Essential Chinese Vocabulary Words You Need for Business

Chinese is a must-have language for international business. Learn these 26 important and practical Chinese vocabulary words today!


55 Words and Phrases to Talk About Money in Chinese with Ease | FluentU Chinese Blog

钱 (qián) is money in Chinese, but do you know other vocabulary and phrases to talk about financial exchanges? We’ll help you learn Chinese words and phrases that you…


21 Ways to Say Congratulations in Chinese Like a Supportive Native Speaker | FluentU Chinese Blog

Learning how to congratulate someone in Chinese is a simple yet important lesson. Offering praise, encouragement and support for others is a part of daily life, especially…

Chinese Slang

Now if you really want to start sounding fluent, it’s best if you learn how to talk like a native.

While a lot goes into achieving that skill, one of the best ways to work on it is to learn the common slang that Chinese speakers use. Here are some lists to help you with that:


Chinese Euphemisms: The Advanced Phrases You Need for Smooth Sailing Through 15 Delicate Topics

Want to show cultural sensitivity when talking about delicate topics in Chinese? Here are the advanced phrases you’ll need for the most important euphemisms!


Chinese Internet Slang: 18 Words to Get You Chatting Online Like a Native | FluentU Chinese Blog

While it may seem confusing at first, Chinese internet slang can be very rewarding to learn and opens up a whole new sphere of communication with fellow Chinese netizens.…


Chinese Number Slang: The Essential Guide to Mandarin Numerical Speak | FluentU Chinese Blog

Chinese number slang is a big part of Chinese internet slang, so it’s worth any Mandarin learner’s time. From 520 (I love you) to 250 (idiot), discover the meaning behind…


15 Mandarin Slang Words Your Chinese Textbook Isn’t Teaching You | FluentU Chinese Blog

When learning any language, it’s important to go beyond the textbook words and understand what’s going on in reality with the locals. Learning Mandarin slang words will…

Food and Drink 

Eating and drinking is a great social activity and also a huge part of Chinese culture, so it’s best that you know some words to use at the table.


Bottoms Up! A Chinese Vocabulary Word List for Alcoholics

Want to really impress your Chinese friends? Next time you go out, order a mojito in Mandarin Chinese. Our Chinese Vocabulary Word List is just what you need.


Top 5 Phrases Used While Wining and Dining

We all know the simple 干杯 and 买单. However, the next time you out with a bunch of Chinese friends, try these top 5 phrases that come in handy during eating. You…


Food Me! The Most Important Chinese Restaurant Phrases for Hungry Students

Our key Chinese restaurant phrases will help you eat your way through China, from street food to fine dining. Order, eat and pay like a native Chinese speaker!


How to Order Coffee in Chinese Like a Local

Want that caffeine fix quick? Better learn how to order coffee in Chinese like the locals do. Here’s your guide to ordering drinks, sizes, add-ons and more.


Idioms and Proverbs

Similar to slang, knowing Chinese idioms will not only help you sound more fluent, but will also help you understand more if you hear them from someone else!


Chinese Idioms: 34 Useful Chengyu to Improve Your Mandarin Fluency | FluentU Chinese Blog

Stumped by Chinese idioms? What does “nine cows, one cow hair” even mean?! Well, this post is for you. It includes 34 chengyu, their English meanings, a brief explanation…



10 Inspiring Chinese Proverbs for Chinese Learners

Want to learn about Chinese proverbs? Here are detailed explanations of 10 Chinese proverbs that will inspire you.


14 Chinese Proverbs About Love for the Romantic Learner | FluentU Blog

Learn 14 Chinese proverbs about love and romance while expanding your vocabulary in Chinese. Read on for a fun guide that breaks down each of these Chinese phrases, with…


9 Funny Chinese Words and Phrases You’ve Gotta Learn

Want to hear some hilarious Mandarin expressions? These 9 funny Chinese slang words and phrases will help you achieve fluency faster!


Play n’ Chill: Learn Chinese Phrases for All Your Weekend Plans

Do you have plans for the weekend yet? Learn these Mandarin Chinese phrases for eating, drinking, partying, shopping, dating and hanging out with friends!


Even if you’re not a big casual shopper, you will definitely end up at a grocery store or convenience store, so it’s best that you know some things to help you communicate with the cashier!


15 Essential Mandarin Chinese Phrases for Shopping in China

Going shopping in China? For the best bargains, arm yourself with these must-know Mandarin Chinese shopping phrases!


15 Chinese Brand Names That Smart Shoppers Must Know

Many international brands have entered the Chinese market—and succeeded. Here’s how they’ve translated their brand names into powerful Chinese names. Cool!


Ultimate Chinese Vocabulary Word List for Clothing

Do you know how to say “pants” in Chinese? How about “cufflinks”? If you’re curious, we’ve got that and more in this Chinese vocabulary word list for clothing


Holidays are always great fun to celebrate, but you don’t want to miss out due to not understanding the vocabulary surrounding the festivities!

Here are some of the most important holiday vocabulary lists so that you can always join the fun!


14 Chinese Words and Phrases for Valentine’s Day Using the Word Heart

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here are 14 useful Chinese vocabulary words and phrases using the word “heart”!


Top 10 Chinese Vocabulary Words for the Ghost Month

Do you know about the Chinese ghost month? Here are 10 Chinese vocabulary words about the ghost month, which is the seventh month of the lunar calendar.


Top 8 Words for Qingming Festival, the Tomb Sweeping Holiday in China

The Tomb Sweeping Qingming Festival is one of the biggest holidays in China! Learn the top 8 vocabulary words for the Qingming Festival.


Chinese New Year Greetings and Cultural Traditions to Celebrate China’s Biggest Holiday | FluentU Chinese Blog

Chinese New Year greetings are a must if you’re learning Mandarin, have Chinese friends or plan to take a trip to China in the wintertime. Click here to learn 30 Chinese…


Chinese vocab word list | Christmas and New Year’s

Complete Chinese vocab word list for Christmas and New Year’s – everything from Santa to eggnog! Just one of our many Chinese vocabulary word lists!


8 Christmas Words For Your List

You can’t have Christmas without knowing these phrases. Grab some eggnog, here goes!


Merry Christmas and More! 10 Warm Chinese Christmas Greetings and Traditions | FluentU Spanish Blog

Learn 10 of the most popular Chinese Christmas greetings and traditions (cultural context included), and prepare to spread holiday cheer through Chinese language and…


Chinese Father’s Day: 8 Phrases to Put a Smile on His Face | FluentU Chinese Blog

Want to celebrate Chinese Father’s Day? Similar in spirit to the American holiday, Father’s Day in China is celebrated on August 8. Click here for 8 phrases you can tell…


Happy Birthday in Chinese: Greetings, the Birthday Song, Traditions and More | FluentU Chinese Blog

How do you say “happy birthday” in Chinese Mandarin? The simplest way is 生日快乐 (shēng rì kuài lè), but there are plenty of others! Use the Chinese birthday…


Odds are that you will get the most use of your Chinese while you are traveling, so it’s necessary to know some travel lingo to avoid any confusion!


How to Ask for Directions in Chinese: Everything You Need to Find Your Way | FluentU Chinese Blog

Knowing how to ask for directions in Chinese is a vital skill to have. You do not want to be lost and not even be able to ask for help! We’ve put together a complete guide…


So you found a Chinese-speaking cutie but don’t know how to let them know your feelings?

Not to fear, here is some of the most important vocabulary to use for your flirty interactions. 


The Subtle Art of the Mandarin Chinese Pick Up Line

Mandarin Chinese pick up lines don’t really exist. Instead, picking someone up in Chinese is a subtle, delicate art. Here’s how to do pick up lines in Chinese.


Love Beyond Language Barriers: How to Flirt in Chinese

A language barrier can be most frustrating when you’re trying to cross it for love. Here are 20+ phrases plus key cultural context for flirting in Chinese.


32+ Common Chinese Terms of Endearment You Need to Know | FluentU Chinese Blog

The more you learn Chinese, the more you’ll come across these Chinese terms of endearment. They’re charming nicknames Chinese people give their loved ones to show…


Chinese Vocabulary | Responding to compliments

If you speak Chinese and have been to China, you probably know that Chinese people love to compliment foreigners on their Chinese. Next time you get complimented, instead…

Miscellaneous Vocabulary

These may not necessarily fall into a particular category, but are still super useful to know. You can never know too many words!


13 Beautiful Chinese Words with Fascinating Hidden Meanings

Learn 13 beautiful Chinese words with unexpected origins! When you break down the characters of these simple Chinese words, you’ll find surprising and beautiful hidden…


The 10 Hardest Chinese Words to Pronounce (with Audio and Pronunciation Guides) | FluentU Chinese Blog

What are the hardest Chinese words to pronounce? We’ve listed them down here, with audio and step-by-step explanations so you’ll get the hang of saying them! Master…


27 Chinese Words Commonly Used in English That You Already Know | FluentU Chinese

Chinese words are found all over English vocabulary. We’ll cover 27 terms used in English and what words they come from in Chinese. From dog breeds to delicious food…


22 Chinese Animal Sounds You’ve Gotta Try Saying

Do you know how to bark in Chinese? Here are 22 Chinese animal sounds you’ll love learning and saying!


10 Common Types of Chinese Onomatopoeia You’ll Love Saying

Zing! Boom! Tic toc! Can you buzz and tweet in Chinese? Here are 10 main types of Chinese onomatopoeia that you’ll have fun saying!


The Top 10 Chinese Measure Words You Need to Know: 包 (bāo), 对 (duì) and More | FluentU Chinese Blog

Learn all about the most common Chinese measure words and how to use them correctly so you can be confident with your Chinese. Cigarettes, pants, people, beers—there are…


There you go — now you have several vocabulary lists that provide you with hundreds of words practice. Better start memorizing!

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