From Kim Kardashian to Taylor Swift, every celebrity has a Chinese name and most of the times a nickname. This list is filled with 15 Chinese nicknames that will make you laugh so hard you’ll never see your favorite star the same way!
It’s amazing to see how Chinese people build relevant and cool (or sometimes brutally honest) names for foreigners. Every western celebrity has their own Chinese nickname and trust me, they’re quite funny sometimes! We’ve build a list of the 15 funniest Chinese nicknames for Western celebrities that will make you burst into laughter.
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#1 Avril Lavigne – 酵母 – Yeast
Avril Lavigne is probably one of the most famous Western singers in China. She has many fans there and gives several shows a year in the country. As Chinese people really love her, they gave her the nickname 酵母 jiàomǔ meaning yeast. I agree, it may seem weird, but actually, in Chinese, the word 酵母 jiàomǔ yeast and 教母 jiàomǔ godmother are pronounced the same way. So Avril Lavigne is more considered as a godmother than as yeast!
#2 Adam Levine – 骚当 – Flirty Adam
The famous American lead singer of the band Maroon 5 is seen as frivolous in China! Did you that? So much so that the Chinese people gave Adam Levigne the nickname 骚当 sāo dāng which can be translated as Flirty Adam as 骚 sāo means flirt. Wondering why? Come on, haven’t you heard his heart-melting voice? Add that to the fact he often appears shirtless on stage, and you now know why Chinese people think he’s sexy, frivolous and deserves the nickname 骚当!
#3 Calvin Harris – 高富帅 – Mr Perfect
Calvin Harris’ cool Chinese nickname is 高富帅 gāofù shuài which means literally:
高 gāo tall 富 fù rich 帅 shuài handsome
For the Chinese, Calvin Harris possesses all the good qualities and that’s why they’ve nicknamed him Mr. Perfect.
In Chinese 高富帅 is a common expression to talk about a man who seems perfect because he’s rich, handsome and tall.
#4 J-Lo – 箩霸 – Lord of Butt
Say what? You heard it, Jennifer Lopez’s funny Chinese nickname is 箩霸 luō bà Lord of Butt. This strange and not very PC nickname comes from her last name which is 洛佩兹 luòpèizī in Chinese. As you know, J-Lo is also very famous for her behind so this nickname fits Mrs. Lopez perfectly, especially since her last album came out with the Booty song, don’t you think?
#5 Justin Timberlake – 贾老板 – Boss Jia
Justin Timberlake’s cool Chinese nickname is 贾老板 jiǎ lǎobǎn Boss Jia. If you think that it’s only because he’s a legendary singer (alright, I’ll admit, I’m a huge fangirl), you’re wrong. Justin Timberlake invested a lot of money into various companies in the clothing industry, record labels and others and the Chinese view quite positively his industrious views. 贾 jiǎ also sounds like his name Justin (a little), making 贾老板 the ideal nickname for M. Timberlake. Now you know why the Chinese call him Boss Jia!
#6 Katy Perry – 水果姐 – Fruit Sister
Katy Perry’s Chinese nickname is 水果姐 shuǐguǒ jiě meaning Fruit sister. If you’re at all familiar with her music videos and style, it’s easy to guess why they call her that way. Cute fruits and food always adorn her clothes, especially in her video clips. In one of Katy Perry’s shows in 2011, she appeared wearing a fancy dress fashioned after a fruit salad, which remains memorable to this day and may be the reason behind Katy Perry’s imaginative Chinese nickname.
#7 Kim Kardashian – 金大妈 Aunty Gold
The TV reality star Kim Kardashian has become quickly famous around the world. In China she has actually two different funny Chinese nicknames, the first one being 金大妈 jīn dàmā Aunty Gold. People thinks that she likes money above all and earns easy money thanks to the TV reality show she belongs to, and it’s hard to dispute their claim.
Her second nickname is even funnier: 侃大山 kǎndàshān, which sounds just like her last name Kardashian but with a clever play on words/ characters. 侃 kǎn also stands for Kanye West who is Kim’s husband and 大山 dàshān means big mountains… Put the three together, let your imagination roam wild and you should definitely be able to understand why Chinese people call her that way.
The play on the words is even cleverer when you discover that in Chinese, the expression 侃大山 kǎndàshān means to talk about unimportant things. Yup, you heard it.
#8 Kristen Stewart – 面瘫女 – Stone cold face
The actress from the Twilight series is well known in China for not smiling often. Chinese people thinks a face is just as cold as stone and since hers doesn’t appear to move much, the Chinese gave her the nickname 面瘫女 miàntān nǚ stone cold face. Rock-solid?
#9 Lady Gaga – 康敏苏 – Coming soon
Lady Gaga’s Chinese nickname doesn’t mean anything in particular in Mandarin: 康敏苏 kāngmǐn sū sounds just like in the English expression “coming soon”. This nickname comes from the fact that her albums are always said to be coming soon, they’re expected but never actually released. Harsh!
#11 Mariah Carey – 牛姐 – Cow Sister
At first, you may think poor Mariah got stuck with a mean nickname, but not at all! They’re paying her a compliment! The Chinese call Mariah Carey 牛姐 niú jiě cow sister because in China when you want to praise someone you can say:
你好牛！ nǐ hǎo niú! You are awesome!
Being considered as 牛 is actually a compliment. So literally, her Chinese nickname indicates that Mariah Carey is an awesome sister!
Bonus: Do you know Ariana Grande? As she’s considered as the new and young version of Mariah Carey, Chinese people started to call her 小牛牛 xiǎo niúniú little cow, cute isn’t it?
#12 Angela Merkel – 默克尔 – Silent Granny
The Chancellor of Germany is also very popular around the world and as other famous persons, she inherited of a funny Chinese name which can be considered a nickname too. Silent Granny. Her Mandarin name is 默克尔 Mò kè ěr Merkel, here 默 comes from 默默 mòmò meaning not speaking, silent.
#13 Barack Obama – 奥巴马 – The Mysterious Wishing Horse
President Obama does not really have a crazy Chinese nickname, but the literary meaning of his Chinese name is pretty funny: 奥巴马 Ào bā mǎ means mysterious wishing horse. Chinese have chosen that funny name for Obama, because it sounds close to Obama, first of all but also because they thought he was very mysterious. They don’t horse around, do they?
#14 Nicki Minaj – 麻辣鸡 – Spicy Chicken
Nicki Minaj’s nickname is definitely the funniest according to me! The Chinese call her 麻辣鸡 málàjī which actually means Spicy Chicken! If you read 麻辣鸡 out loud, you’ll notice it sounds like Nicki Minaj. That’s the reason why Chinese people gave her that nickname. Spicy Chicken all makes sense when you take a look at her hot dance moves in her video clips and at her sexy appearance.
#15 Taylor Swift – 霉霉 – Unlucky / 公车霉 Bus
Last but not least, the very famous popstar Taylor Swift! The Chinese people gave her two Chinese nicknames that are sooo funny! The first one is: 霉霉 méi mei unlucky, because she has been several times disappointed by love and got dumped many times, or so the story goes.
The second nickname the Chinese have awarded her is: 公车霉 gōngchē méi bus little sister.
Why bus? Because according to the worldwide media, she’s dated a bus load of men. Ouch. As the list is extremely long, Chinese people have taken to just calling her Bus. Not really nice and a little mean, but funny too, don’t you think?
Bonus funny Chinese nicknames:
- Leonardo Dicaprio – Pikachu
Leonardo Dicaprio was not going to be spared the Chinese nickname treatment, of course. In Taiwan, he is well known as… Pikachu! Nothing to do with the Chinese translation of his English name or any such explanation. No, he got the Pikachu nickname after a TV reporter misspelled his name and called Leonardo Pikachu. The misspelling went viral on the internet and Taiwanese started to call him Pikachu! That’s actually cute.
Leo Dicaprio has also another nickname in mainland China which is 小李子 xiǎo lǐzǐ little plum. 李 lǐ stands for his name Leo, as for the whole thing, it’s a cute nickname people like to give in China.
And because I could not resist, here are two NSFW Chinese nicknames of well-known pop stars:
- Miley Cyrus – 舌婊 – Tongue Bitch
Miley Cyrus is very famous for her sexy appearances and one of her specific moves: sticking her tongue out! No wonder her Chinese nickname is 舌婊 shé biǎo tongue bitch then?
- Justin Bieber – 丁日 – Dick
Ouch! Justin Bieber’s nickname is certainly the worst we’ve come across in this collection of funny Chinese nicknames! Justin Bieber’s official Chinese nickname is 丁日 dīng rì. It does not mean anything in particular, Chinese people chose to call him that because the Chinese characters 丁日 look a little like his initials: J.B, can you see? So why is it translated as dick? The word 丁丁 dīngdīng means dick so some people decided to call him that way.
Final words about funny Chinese nicknames:
As you can see from the list, Chinese people are very good at giving funny names to Westerners. Sometimes cruel, sometimes overdoing it, the nicknames remain spot-on most of the time, don’t you think? We hope this post made you laugh as much it made us laugh writing it (especially Angela Merkel’s nickname). Let us know in the comments if you know other hilarious Chinese nicknames given to Westerners. You can also show us your Chinese name/nickname, we’ll be glad to see them!
Your turn now! Can you match the stars with their Chinese nicknames?
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Match the Chinese nicknames with their English counterparts
- Adam Levigne
- Nicki Minaj
- Calvin Harris
- Justin Timberlake
- Katy Perry
- Kim Kardashian
- Mariah Carey
骚当 (sāo dāng)
高富帅 (gāofù shuài)
箩霸 (luō bà)
贾老板 (jiǎ lǎobǎn)
水果姐 (shuǐguǒ jiě)
金大妈 (jīn dàmā)
牛姐 (niú jiě)