When Your Brain Is Fevered and Flustered, You May Be “脑子发热 (Nǎozi Fārè)”

HSK 3 quiz

It’s always fun to use Mandarin Chinese slang among Chinese friends. When we are joking around together, we often tease each other in a playful manner with “吐槽 (tǔcáo)” and lighten the mood. When we want to be self-deprecating regarding our sudden and impulsive behavior, there is another expression we can use: “脑子发热 (nǎozi fārè).”
脑子发热 (Nǎozi fārè) literally indicates that your head has a fever.

脑子 (Nǎozi) = a noun, meaning “head” or “brain;”

发 (Fā) = a verb, meaning to dispatch, or send out;

热 (Rè) = an adjective, meaning hot, or feverish.

In daily life, “脑子发热 (nǎozi fārè)” is used to describe someone who has become excited and does things carelessly or incorrectly. “脑子发热 (Nǎozi fārè)” is similar to the English words “volatile”, “impulsive” or “fevered.” The expression may refer to people who become very excited and then are unable to control themselves. During this time, they may do something unusual or abnormal and receive attention. Remember, when we have a “fever,” we are not always in our “right” mind and may act out of character. This is the mind frame of a fevered head, or “脑子发热 (nǎozi fārè)!”

Common Structure:

Somebody + 脑子发热 (nǎozi fārè) + verb.

Examples of “脑子发热 (nǎozi fārè)” in use:

Wǒ nǎozi fārè jiù bǎ shēn shàng de qián quán gěi tā le.
我    脑子 发热就 把   身     上    的   钱    全     给 他了。
My mind was so fevered that I gave him all of my money.

Nǐ búyào nǎozi fārè gàn shǎ shì!
你  不 要  脑 子 发热干   傻  事!
Don’t do stupid things under an impulse!

Extended knowledge points

Sometimes, people also say 头脑发热 (tóunǎo fārè).

头脑发热 (Tóunǎo fārè) = 脑子发热, 头脑 = 脑子 = head.


Wǒ tóunǎo fārè mǎi le yì běn shū, dàn què cónglái méiyǒu dúguò.
我    头  脑 发热  买 了 一 本   书,但    却   从  来  没  有   读 过。
I bought a book when I was impulsive, but I never read it.

Recently, some Mandarin Chinese classmates and I went to a popular shopping mall in Beijing to buy the latest iPhone on the first day of its release. One of our classmates had planned on buying one new iPhone, but changed his mind when we all saw the mad rush of buyers, eager to jump over each other to make the purchase while supplies lasted in the store. When our classmate finally made it to checkout, he decided to buy three phones instead of one! He told us he planned to sell two of them later on, but didn’t know how he would go about finding buyers. He made the sudden decision when his head was fevered by frantic and exciting situation in the store. We could say, “他真是脑子发热了 (tā zhēnshi nǎozi fārè le) he is so impulsive.”
Though we can sometimes use “脑子发热 (nǎozi fārè)” in some serious situations, with friends and as Chinese language learners, it is usually more fun and appropriate to use it among friends and especially in a self-deprecating manner.

HSK 3 quiz

1. Mike’s Chinese friend Lily updated a post on Facebook timeline and Mike can’t understand what it means because Mike doesn’t know Chinese. Can you help him? The post is:
Which of the following statements is true?
A. Lily cut all her hair because she got a cold.
B. Lily cut all her hair because she was impulsive at the time.
C. Lily cut all her hair because she got a headache.
D. Lily doesn’t want to cut her hair.

―Written by Philip Reed―

Philip Reed is a Mandarin Chinese student in Beijing. He has been studying for one year in China and before that had an interest in Chinese at university in the U.S. He loves Chinese music and culture and can sing a few Mandarin songs at the KTV when he has free time!

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