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.
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!