How to Say “Dumb” in Chinese: Formal and Informal Ways

Welcome! If you’re interested in learning how to say “dumb” in Chinese, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll explore both formal and informal ways of expressing this concept in Mandarin Chinese. While Mandarin is the official language of China, it is important to note that there might be regional variations across different Chinese-speaking communities. However, we will focus on widely understood and common terms, adding regional variations where necessary. Let’s dive in!

Formal Ways to Say “Dumb” in Chinese

When you wish to express the concept of “dumb” formally in Chinese, the term you can use is “愚蠢” (yú chǔn). This term is widely understood and used across various contexts. Here are a few examples of how you can incorporate this term into sentences:

  • Example 1: 这个决策真是愚蠢的!(zhè ge jué cè zhēn shì yú chǔn de) – This decision is truly dumb!
  • Example 2: 不要做愚蠢的事情。(bú yào zuò yú chǔn de shì qíng) – Don’t do dumb things.
  • Example 3: 这是一个愚蠢的错误。(zhè shì yí ge yú chǔn de cuò wù) – This is a dumb mistake.

Informal Ways to Say “Dumb” in Chinese

Informally, there are a few commonly used terms in Mandarin Chinese to express the concept of “dumb.” These words might be more casual and familiar, suitable for conversations among friends or peers. Let’s take a look at some informal ways to say “dumb” in Chinese:

  • Example 1: 傻 (shǎ) – This term is commonly used to imply “dumb” or “silly” in an informal context.
  • Example 2: 笨 (bèn) – Similar to “dumb” in English, this word is used to describe someone who is not very smart or clever.
  • Example 3: 二百五 (èr bǎi wǔ) – This phrase’s literal translation is “250,” but it is used figuratively to denote someone who is not very bright.

Regional Variations

While Mandarin Chinese is the official language spoken in most parts of China, there might be slight regional variations when it comes to informal terms like “dumb.” Here are a couple of regional variations worth mentioning:

In Cantonese, which is primarily spoken in Guangdong province and Hong Kong, the phrase “dumb” can be expressed as “冇大腦” (mou5 daai6 nou5). This compound term literally means “no brain” and carries the connotation of “dumb.” For example, you could say “佢係冇大腦嘅” (keoi5 hai6 mou5 daai6 nou5 ge3) to mean “he/she is dumb.”

Tips for Using the Terms

When using these terms, it’s important to consider the context and relationship with the person you are addressing. If you’re unsure about the level of familiarity, it’s generally safer to use formal terms, such as “愚蠢” (yú chǔn). In informal conversations, you can incorporate words like “傻” (shǎ), “笨” (bèn), or “二百五” (èr bǎi wǔ). Additionally, remember that tone of voice and body language can significantly influence the meaning and impact of these terms.


In conclusion, we have explored both formal and informal ways to say “dumb” in Chinese. The formal term is “愚蠢” (yú chǔn), while the informal options include words like “傻” (shǎ), “笨” (bèn), or “二百五” (èr bǎi wǔ). It’s essential to be mindful of the context and familiarity with the person you are speaking to when using these terms. Remember, communication involves much more than just vocabulary, so pay attention to tone, body language, and cultural sensitivity. Happy learning and communication!

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