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Know the Warning Signs of Being a 妻管严(qīguǎnyán) in China

Oct. 19, 2016


A recent study named men in Shanghai as the most submissive, or “henpecked,” in China. The English term “henpecked” is often used to describe these males whose feathers have been “plucked” by their women (his hen). These “henpecked” husbands and boyfriends are controlled by their women, consistently following her demands and advice and often ignoring their own male friends in favor of her needs.

This now-famous study of Chinese men in Shanghai became a popular topic in online forums, with Chinese netizens pointing out how Shanghai men are often seen carrying their wives bags at the airport, doing household chores traditionally allotted to women, and allowing the women to choose all the dishes at a restaurant. These men who are controlled, or ordered around, by their women are called “妻管严 (qīguǎnyán) henpecked” in China. It’s a popular household term and has gained more prominence in recent years.

Let’s break down “妻管严 (qīguǎnyán)”:

妻 () is a noun meaning “wife.”
管 (guǎn) is a verb meaning “to take care (of) / to manage / to run.”
严 (yán) is an adjective meaning “tight (closely sealed) / strict,” we put them together and get:
妻管严 (qīguǎnyán) meaning “henpecked male.”

Some examples of “妻管严 (qīguǎnyán)” used in a sentence:

Tā shénme dōu tīng tàitai de, suǒyǐ tā de péngyou dōu jiào tā “qīguǎnyán.”
他    什么    都    听  太太 的,所以 他 的   朋友       都  叫   他  ”妻管严”。
He does whatever his wife tells him, so his friends all say that he’s henpecked.

Jack zài wàimiàn hěn niú, zài jiā lǐ shì gè “qīguǎnyán.”
Jack 在   外面      很  牛,在 家 里 是 个   “妻管严” 。
On the exterior, Jack seems really free, but at home he is totally henpecked by his wife.

How do you know if you or someone you know is a “妻管严 (qīguǎnyán)?” Here are some characteristics, or “warning signs”:

    Shénme dōu tīng lǎopo de.
1. 什么        都   听  老婆   的。
   No matter what the wife suggests, the husband will obey.

    Měi gè yuè gōngzī quánbù jiāo gěi lǎopo.
2. 每  个   月   工资    全部      交   给  老婆。
    He hands over all the salary to the wife every month.

    Jiā lǐ jiāwù huó ér quán bāo le.
3. 家 里 家务  活  儿   全    包  了。
    He does all the housework.

So, guys: beware the warning signs of being a “妻管严 (qīguǎnyán).” And, ladies: be careful not to create a “妻管严 (qīguǎnyán)” through your demands!


1. Which one is not an example of what a “妻管严 (qīguǎnyán)” does:

A. Shouting at his wife when quarrel
B. Spending all day Saturday doing household chores
C. Handing over his entire salary to his wife
See Answer Analysis

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