Toll Free - U.S.& Canada:  1-800-791-9386   Hong Kong:  800-930-623   Australia:  1-800-779-835
Free online Chinese learning support
  • Follow us on Facebook!
  • Watch Our YouTube Videos!
  • Follow us on Twitter!
  • Follow us on WeChat!
    Follow Us in WeChat by Scanning!
    Follow Us in "WeChat"
    by Scanning
  • Follow us on LinkedIn
  • Explore Our Instagram Videos & Photos!
United Kingdom:  0-800-086-8969   Germany:  0-800-180-0341   Singapore:  800-130-1652
France:  0-805-080-689   Spain:  900-838-906    

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is with “耍嘴皮子 (shuǎzuǐpízi)”

Nov. 16, 2018

HSK 3 quiz

In daily conversation, you will hear common phrases that are meant to describe a situation or person but the meaning can easily get lost in the literal translation if you have never heard it before. So today I’ll introduce you to “耍嘴皮子 (shuǎzuǐpízi).”

Essentially, it can be used in a couple of different types of situations. One is for that person that talks about doing something but doesn’t act upon those words. For example, there are people who boast about a great business idea and how they will get rich but never take steps to make it happen. We all have met somebody like this. They can be described as “耍嘴皮子 (shuǎzuǐpízi).” The other is someone who shows off their persuasive abilities.

Let’s break it down:
耍嘴皮子 (Shuǎzuǐpízi): mere empty talk, words without actions, talk glibly.

嘴皮子 (Zuǐpízi): lips, eloquence

耍 (Shuǎ): frolic, play, amuse, play with

嘴 (Zuǐ): mouth, lips

皮 (): skin, fur, feather, outer

子 (Zi): offspring, child, fruit, the seed of

Take a look at some of these examples to solidify the various meanings and proper applications of “耍嘴皮子 (shuǎzuǐpízi).” In the first dialogue, it is interpreted as being all talk and no action. This is the most common use of the phrase.

Dialogue 1:
Xiǎo Hóng: Xiǎo Míng, nǐ shàngcì tídào de jiànshēn jìhuà jìnxíng dé zěnmeyàng le?
小红:小明,你上次提到的健身计划进行得怎么样了?
Xiao Hong: Xiao Ming, how was the fitness plan that you mentioned last time?

Xiǎo Míng: Hái méi kāishǐ ne.
小明:还没开始呢。
Xiao Ming: It hasn’t started yet.

Xiǎo Hóng: Guāng shuǎzuǐpízi shì búgòu de, nǐ děi xíngdòng qǐlái ya.
小红:光耍嘴皮子是不够的,你得行动起来呀。
Xiao Hong: It’s not enough to just talk, you have to take action.

Yet, the alternative meaning is someone who shows off their persuasive abilities. Some people are a little manipulative while wielding their eloquence while others are simply able to talk their way through any situation.

Dialogue 2:
Lì Lì: Nǐ tīngshuō le ma? Xiǎo Lǐ chénggōng de shuō fú le lǎobǎn.
丽丽:你听说了吗?小李成功地说服了老板。
Li Li: Did you hear that? Xiao Li succeeded in persuading the boss.

Xiǎo Xīn: Tiān na! Tā shuǎzuǐpízi de gōngfu zhēn lìhài ya.
小新:天哪!她耍嘴皮子的功夫真厉害呀。
Xiao Xin: Oh my God! She’s really good at talking.

A few more examples to consider include:

Example 1:
Yígè zhī huì shuǎzuǐpízi de rén, chángcháng búhuì bèi lǎobǎn xǐhuān.
一个只会耍嘴皮子的人,常常不会被老板喜欢。
A man who only talks without action is often not liked by the boss.

Example 2:
Tā shì wǒ jiàn guò de zuì huì shuǎzuǐpízi de rén.
他是我见过的最会耍嘴皮子的人。
He is the most talkative person I have ever seen.

Example 3:
Zài zhè chǎng yǎnjiǎng zhōng, tā yìzhí zài shuǎzuǐpízi.
在这场演讲中,她一直在耍嘴皮子。
In this speech, she shows her gift in talking all the time.

HSK 3 quiz

Take this quiz to demonstrate your understanding of the meaning by reading the dialogue below and answering the question.

Lǐ Huá: Nǐ bié zài yì páng shuǎzuǐpízi le, kuài diǎn guòlái bāngmáng ba!
李华:你別在一旁耍嘴皮子了,快点过来帮忙吧!

Zhāng Lì: Hǎo ba, wǒ mǎshàng lái!
张丽:好吧,我马上来!

According to the dialogue, what does the phrase “耍嘴皮子 (shuǎzuǐpízi)?” mean?

A. Talk loudly
B. Talk without action.
C. Play lips game
D. Flick his mouth

See Answer Analysis

— Written by Julia Liu —
Julia Liu teaches Chinese with eChineseLearning. She has been successfully teaching
for 5 years and loves reading and practices her passion for drawing in her free time.

Most Popular Chinese Traditional Stories You Might Be Interested in:
“辣眼睛 (làyǎnjīng) Spicy Eyes”—Hilarious Internet Slang
What It Means to Have a “玻璃心 (bōli xīn) Glass Heart”
Learn the Meaning Behind the Phrase “吃土 (chītǔ) Eating Dirt” (Beginner)

Got questions? Take a free 1-to-1 lesson with one of our professional teachers by signing up below:
Name: 
E-mail: 
Country/Region: 
-select-

search no result

Tel: 
By clicking Submit, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
Your email address and phone number
will be kept STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.
Submit

Write a comment

Your Name: 
Your Email:  Your email address will not be published.
Comments: 
Verification Code:  Verification Code Unclear? Try another one
By clicking Submit, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
Email This Article
Recipients' email addresses:
(separate recipients with comma)
Your name:
Your e-mail address (optional):
Your message (optional):
Verification Code:
By clicking Send, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.


Get 11 FREE Mandarin E-books
Sign up for a free trial now!
Get more information about our Chinese lessons through live chat
Get a FREE live 1-to-1 lesson and FREE e-books. Complete the form below:
Name:
E-mail:
Country/Region:
-select-

search no result

Tel:
By clicking Submit, you agree to our
Terms of Service
and Privacy Policy.
Your email address and phone number
will be kept STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.