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Comprehensive Guide to Nouns Ending With 的 de

This post is about a very special type of noun in Mandarin – the noun which ends with 的 de. These nouns are special because 的 usually marks the end of one word and the beginning of another, but occasionally – very occasionally – it can also mark an entirely separate word. I’m no linguist, but in my opinion these should be considered discrete words since their meaning cannot simply be derived by the sum of their parts.

I think this list will be useful for Chinese learners, since these words are completely unintuitive. Interestingly, many refer to occupations, and some of these occupations are becoming less common in modern-day China. Others refer to people you may see around the street, while others are idiomatic or curse words.

Basic Words

男的 nánde – guy

女的 nǚde – girl

吃的 chīde – things to eat

喝的 hēde – things to drink

玩的 wánde – places to have fun; fun things to do

公的 gōngde – male (animal)

母的 mǔde – female (animal)

亲爱的 qīn’àide – darling; honey; dear

相好的 xiānghǎode – boyfriend/girlfriend; partner

荤的 hūnde – meat dish

素的 sùde – vegetarian dish

People On The Street

过路的 guòlùde – passerby

骂街的 màjiēde – person shouting abuse on the street

遛弯儿的 liùwānrde – person going for a walk (Beijing dialect)

遛狗的 liùgǒude – person walking their dog

打头的 dǎtóude – person standing at the front of a line

要饭的 yàofànde / 讨饭的 tǎofànde – beggar


做买卖的 zuòmǎimàide – businessperson

管账的 guǎnzhàngde – accountant

当兵的 dāngbīngde – soldier

种地的 zhòngdìde / 种田的zhòngtiánde – farmer

收破烂的 shōupòlànde – garbage collector

杀猪的 shāzhūde – butcher

算命的 suànmìngde / 算卦的 suànguàde – fortuneteller

看门的 kānménde – gatekeeper; door attendant

办事的 bànshìde – office worker

打铁的 dǎtiěde – blacksmith

剃头的 tìtóude – barber

要账的 yàozhàngde /要钱的 yàoqiánde – debt collector

卖艺的 màiyìde – street artist

拉车的 lāchēde – rickshaw driver

说书的 shuōshūde – storyteller

送水的 sòngshuǐde / 挑水的 tiāoshuǐde – someone who delivers drinking water to one’s home

倒水的 dàoshuǐde – someone who pours water

淘粪的 táofènde / 挑大粪的 tiǎodàfènde (in North-East China) – someone who collects human waste for use as fertiliser

管事的 guǎnshìde – someone with high-level responsibility in the government (i.e. an official) or in a company

掌柜的 zhǎngguìde – shopkeeper (old-fashioned)

女掌柜的 nǚzhǎngguìde – female shopkeeper (old-fashioned)

跑堂的 pǎotángde – waiter (old-fashioned), same as 小二 xiǎoèr

Curse Words

狗日的 gǒurìde – literally 狗 (“dog; despicable”) + 日 (“fuck”) – motherfucker

狗娘养的 gǒuniángyǎngde – literally – 狗 (“dog; despicable”) + 娘 (“mother”) + 养 (“to raise”) – bastard – synonym – 狗杂种 gǒuzázhǒng – literally “mixed-breed dog”

杀千刀的 shāqiāndāode – literally “[one who needs to be] killed with the cuts of a thousand knifes” – bastard; son-of-a-bitch


Quirky Words

带把儿的 dàibàrde –literally “with a handle” – a baby boy

当家的 dāngjiādede – literally “[one who] manages home” – the one who manages the household

少当家的 shàodāngjiāde – the son (少shào) of the person who manages the household

掌勺的 zhǎngsháode –literally “holding a spoon” – the one who does the cooking at home

吃软饭的 chīruǎnfànde – literally “[one who] eats soft rice” – someone who lives off a woman

垫背的 diànbèide – literally refers to belongings put under a body after death – metaphorically refers to someone who is made to share the fault or guilt of others; a scapegoat

Source: http://carlgene.com/blog/


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