How Do You Say a “Mischievous Child” in Chinese?

HSK 3 quiz

The word for mischievous or naughty child in Chinese is composed of “熊 (xióng)” which means bear and “孩子 (háizi)” which means kid, or child. Put those together and you get “熊孩子 (xióng háizi).”

Let’s break down the word.

熊 (Xióng) bear

(Nursery Rhyme – 三只小熊 (Sān zhī xiǎoxiónɡ) Three Little Bears)

孩子 (Háizi) kid, child

(Chinese Tongue – Twister 孩子和鞋子 (Háizi hé xiézi) The Child And the Shoes)

熊孩子 (Xióng háizi) naughty child, wild kid

So why do we use “熊孩子 (xióng háizi) bear-child” to describe a naughty child? The term is derived from the more northern Chinese dialects and generally refers to annoying, loud and mischievous children. What kind of children exactly?

Imagine for a second, those kids you might see in the stores going wild because their mom won’t buy them the candy they wanted or the child in the movie theater who is talking loudly and laughing or screaming while everyone else is quiet.

Everyone knows that kid who throws a fit the minute they don’t get their way, and don’t like to follow the rules. They might make a complete mess in the house, or maybe people can hear their screams resound throughout the whole neighborhood.

You can often hear these mischievous kids on the bus or train, or in restaurants making a racket or causing trouble.

In the aftermath of their mischievous behavior usually, there’s a parent or a loved one turning to people with a helpless look and saying, “那熊孩子啊! (nà xióngháizi a) such a naughty kid!” Because, after all, being naughty is in our nature!

Here are some examples of how to use “熊孩子 (xióng háizi)” in your daily life!

Nǐ zhège tiáopí de xióng háizi.
1. 你这个调皮的熊孩子。
You are such a naughty child.

Zhè qún xióng háizi bǎ jiālǐ nòng de yìtuánzāo.
2. 这群熊孩子把家里弄得一团糟。
This group of wild kids made a mess around the house.

Zhíyǒu dāng lǎoshī yánsù qǐlái, zhè qún xióng háizi cái huì guāiguai tīnghuà.
3. 只有当老师严肃起来,这群熊孩子才会乖乖听话。
Only if the teacher gets strict with them will the mischievous children actually listen to what she says.

Tā shì yíge xióng háizi.
4. 她是一个熊孩子。
She is a wild kid.

HSK 3 quiz
Read the dialogue and answer the question below.

Mom: Nǐ zhège xióng háizi, bǎ wǒ zuì xǐhuan de kǒuhóng gěi nòng duàn le.
Mom: 你这个熊孩子,把我最喜欢的口红给弄断了。

Xiǎo Míng: Māma, duìbùqǐ, wǒ búshì gùyì de.

1. Which of the following can be inferred from the dialogue? Please choose the best answer.

A. Mom was very angry because Xiao Ming broke her lipstick.

B. Mom was happy because Xiao Ming gave her a lipstick.

C. Mom was unhappy because Xiao Ming used her lipstick.

D. Mom was happy because Xiao Ming helped her find her lost lipstick.

See Answer Analysis

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