The Wackiest Chinese Nicknames for Celebrities

Often, Chinese netizens bestow Western celebrities with nicknames that barely correspond to their actual names.  After all, many direct name translations are long and cumbersome. Plus, it's so much more fun to come up with clever (and sometimes insulting) nicknames. Here are some of the weirdest:

‘Moldy’ Taylor Swift

Though it means ‘moldy,’ the word mei is also a homonym for ‘beautiful.’ It is also used in the phrase dao mei (倒霉), meaning 'unlucky.' Some consider Swift beautiful, but unlucky in love, hence the (slightly backhanded) nickname.

Moldy 霉霉 (méi méi)

‘Sweet Tea’ Timothée Chalamet

The clever nickname tian cha, which means ‘sweet tea,’ is a play on the first syllables of Chalamet’s first and last name, and a reference to his refreshingly unique look. The celeb has even encouraged his fans to continue calling him by that name 😉 (we couldn’t resist).

Sweet Tea 甜茶 (tián chá)

‘Tongue Bitch’ Miley Cyrus

If you know, you know: ‘Tongue bitch’ alludes to American singer-songwriter Cyrus’s signature pose in photos.

Tongue Bitch  舌婊 (shé biǎo)

‘Flirty’  Adam Levine

Sao means 'flirty' or 'sexy' while dang comes from the transliteration for Adam. China's nickname for the Maroon 5 vocalist is self-explanatory; in a recent scandal, it was discovered that Levine has been sexting other women while married.

Flirty/Sexy Adam 骚当  (sāo dāng)

‘Spicy Chicken’ Nicki Minaj

Ma la ji, which translates to ‘spicy chicken,’ just so happens to sound like Minaj. It also describes her sexy appearance and spicy music (think ‘Anaconda’).

Spicy Chicken 麻辣鸡  (málà jī)

‘Little Plum’ Leonardo DiCaprio

This cutesy nickname is a reflection of China's love of the Titanic actor. While li is a literal translation for Leo, it can also mean 'plum.' Meanwhile, xiao means 'little' and is often used as a term of endearment (case in point: Little Robert = Robert Downey Jr.’s Chinese nickname).

Little Plum 小李子  (xiǎo lǐzǐ)

‘The Rock’ Johnson

It’s a no-brainer that Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson has a similar nickname in Chinese. Ju shi means boulder (or more literally, huge rock). Qiang sen, the latter half of the nickname, literally translates to strong Johnson.

Rock Johnson 巨石强森  (jùshí qiángsēn)

Next, find out about what Chinese netizens are calling famous NBA players! Click the link below.