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! 

Contents

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. 

 


6 Ways to Say Hello in Chinese Like A Native

Did you know that “nǐ hǎo” is actually not how people usually say hello in Mandarin Chinese? Here are 6 ways that Chinese people actually do say hello.

 


9 Useful Ways to Say Goodbye in Chinese

Learn how to say goodbye in Chinese. Beginners and advanced learners alike will find new, useful ways to say goodbye in Chinese.

 


5 Ways to Say “Excuse Me” in Chinese

Learn 5 Ways to Say “Excuse Me” in Chinese. Even if you’re an intermediate learner, you may be surprised to discover something new!

 


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…

 


Just Say No! How to Say No in Chinese

Saying no in Chinese is harder than English. Here’s how to say no in Chinese in a variety of contexts and situations.

 


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…

 


To Have or Have Not? The Ultimate Guide to Mei You (没有) in Chinese

You might have learned that 不 (bù) means “no” in Chinese. But how do you say that you haven’t or didn’t yet do something? You’ll need 没有 (méi yǒu). Learn how and…

 


How’s the Weather? 20+ Chinese Weather Words and Phrases You Need to Know

These Chinese weather words, phrases and questions are your key to opening a conversation with any native Mandarin speaker.

 


Feel It Out! 20 Chinese Feelings and How to Express Those Emotions Like a Native Speaker

Learn to express your English feelings as Chinese feelings in this sentimental guide to emotions. Aside from learning 20 new words for both positive and negative emotions,…

 


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: A List of 50+ Mandarin Colors with Idioms and Cultural Notes | FluentU Chinese

Ready to learn lots of Chinese color vocabulary? With this mega list of 50+ Mandarin color words, 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…

 


The 4 Seasons in Chinese: The Words and Weather You Need to Know

Learn the seasons in Chinese, and discover important Chinese vocabulary associated with each one. We’ve also included a year-round guide to the weather in China and will…

 


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…

 


Chinese Numbers from 1 to 1,000 and Beyond | FluentU Chinese Blog

Check out this simple guide to counting in Chinese, which includes Chinese numbers zero to a billion, as well as tips for learning Chinese numbers, a vocabulary list of…

 


Beyond the Basics: How to Tell Time in Mandarin Chinese Like a True Native

Wondering how to tell time in Mandarin Chinese? We’ve got you covered round the clock. Day or night, you’ll know how to read the clock, tell the time and more!

 


How to Talk About the Days of the Week in Standard, Colloquial and Modern Chinese | FluentU Chinese Blog

Curious about how to say the days of the week in Chinese? We’ll teach you all three ways to say the days in Chinese (including how to pronounce them!), as well as…

 


How to Talk About the Months in Chinese (Gregorian and Lunar Calendars) | FluentU Chinese

Learn the Chinese words for the 12 months as well as for Chinese holidays. We’ll also cover how to talk about dates in Mandarin with useful phrases for describing time.…

 


50+ Essential Chinese Medical Terms for When You’re Feeling Under the Weather

A hospital is a scary place. It’s even worse when you don’t speak the language. Learn these 50+ Chinese medical terms and you’ll feel a little better about your next…

 


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.

Business

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: Job titles and positions

For you business moguls out there, our business Chinese vocabulary list covers job titles and positions. You’ve come to the right place.

 


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…

 


Congratulations in Chinese: How to Shower Praise like a Supportive Native Speaker

Learning how to say congratulations 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.…

 


Inside the Weird World of Chinese Number Slang

Chinese number slang is a major part of Chinese internet slang, so it’s worth any Mandarin learner’s time. Check out our guide to become proficient in numbers!

 


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. 

 


Chinese Food Vocabulary: 15 Famous Dimsum Dishes You Oughta Know

Are you learning some Chinese food vocabulary? Check out these 15 famous dimsum dishes that you should know!

 


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.

 


The Essential Chinese Vocabulary Word List for Drinks

To make sure you’re never thirsty in China, we’ve put together a comprehensive Chinese vocabulary word list for drinks and beverages.

 


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…

 


Chinese Food Vocabulary Word List – Shanghai Cuisine

Chinese vocabulary word list for Shanghai cuisine and other Chinese food. Read on for definitions, pronunciations, and PICTURES of every dish!

 


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.

 


How to Order Food in Mandarin and Never Go Hungry Again!

Need to learn how to order food in Mandarin? We’ve got you covered with this thorough 5-step guide to Chinese restaurant paradise!

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…

https://www.fluentu.com/blog/chinese/mandarin-chinese-chengyu-list/

 


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.

 


15 Chinese Proverbs About Love for the Romantic Learner

Discover the meanings behind 15 Chinese proverbs about love and romance while adding some new words to your vocabulary list. We’ll break down both the literal and…

 


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!

Shopping

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

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.

 


30 Essential Chinese New Year Greetings (Plus Cultural Traditions) | 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 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…

 


8 Must-know Phrases for Chinese Father’s Day

Want to celebrate Father’s Day in China? The celebrations are a bit different, so here are 8 handy Chinese phrases that’ll make the day a success!

 


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…

Travel 

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!

 


A Traveler’s Guide to Chinese: 30 of the Most Useful Phrases for Your Journey | FluentU Chinese

These 30 Chinese travel phrases are perfect for your next trip! From being at the airport to taking a taxi or getting checked in to your hotel, these phrases are…

 


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…

Love

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…

 


I Love You in Chinese: 17+ Romantic Phrases Mandarin Speakers Use to Express Affection | FluentU Chinese

Saying “I love you” in Mandarin may be more complicated than you think. “Wo ai ni” isn’t actually used that often, so check out these alternatives for showing your…

 


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 Hardest Chinese Words to Pronounce and How to Master Them

Sun, skirt, taxi… These words may be simple in English, but translated into Chinese, they’re some of the most difficult words for beginners to pronounce! Here are the 10…

 


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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