Learn Chinese Through Funny Chinese Puns!

We love puns, don’t you? How about Chinese puns? Do you know what puns are called in Chinese?

Usually we talk about it as 双关语 (shuāng guān yǔ) or 押韵 (yā yùn) – you know you are an “insider” when you can play with puns in the language. For so many of us who are bilingual, we often play “across” languages too. 

The Power of Puns in Language Learning

Puns really help us remember because they are fun and make us laugh. And that helps us develop a positive relationship with the language. Stephen Krashen, the expert in second language acquisition calls this the “affective filter”. When we can laugh and play in the language, we will feel much better about using the language.

Here are a few fun examples of puns in Chinese you can share with your friends!

Example 1


Yào yòng shén me zhuāng mìfēng?

What should be used to contain bees?


mì fēng dài

Plastic sealed bag

The answer “密封袋” (mì fēng dài) sounds like “蜜蜂袋” (mì fēng dài), which means “bee bag.”

Example 2


Nǎ ge háng yè zuò cài bú yòng chǎn zi?

In which industry do they not use a spatula for cooking?


bú dòng chǎn

Real estate

Because 產 and 鏟 sounds the same, 不動鏟 means to not use a spatula or a shovel, and 不動產 is the real estate industry. 

Example 3


shén me zhí yè yào lián xù shàng bā tiān de bān?

What profession requires you to work for eight consecutive days?


tiáo jiǔ shī


This is actually a cross-language pun. It is a play on the similarity in pronunciation between “八天的” (bā tiān de), meaning “eight days of,” and the English word “bartender”, which is “調酒師” (tiáo jiǔ shī).

Example 4


shén me dōng xī zuì yǒu kòng?

What has the most free time?




This is actually a cross-language pun arising from the phonetic similarity between “corn” and “空” ( free time ) . This is because many Chinese speakers use an “ng” sound at the end of “corn” instead of an “n” sound. So, “corn” is pronounced “kong” by many Chinese speakers.

Example 5

Q: 谁煮的面最难吃?

Shéi zhǔ de miàn zuì nán chī?

Who cooks the worst noodles?


Zhīzhū xiá, yīn wéi shì `shībài de miàn’

Spiderman. Because they are failed noodles.


Another super fun cross-language pun – because “失败的面” which literally means “failed noodles”, also sounds like Spiderman in English – in this case, it would be pronounced “Shi-Pai-De-Mian”.

May your Mandarin-learning journey be filled with delightful puns! Share your Chinese or cross-language puns with us on IG @dimsumwarriors

Don`t copy text!