Learn Mandarin Chinese Vocabulary
Chinese words & examples on 30+ topics
Vocabulary fuels your Chinese learning.
Of course, there are other aspects of the language learning too — grammar, listening & speaking skills, cultural knowledge — but vocabulary is at the core of it! The more words you know and, more importantly, can use, the more clearly you will be able to express your thoughts and understand others.
How to Use This Page
Use this page as a guide to many (over 30!) free Chinese vocabulary lists we have on NihaoCafe blog. Some of them are suitable for beginners; other will be more suitable for intermediate & advanced levels.
But as it happens in real life, daily language doesn’t always follow the HSK levels. So pick and choose any words you’d like to learn (or need for your daily conversations) and don’t worry about their ‘difficulty’!
All Nihao Cafe’s Chinese vocabulary lists come with:
- Accurate pinyin;
- Hand-picked English translations;
- Creative examples written by NihaoCafe teachers;
- Audio pronunciation of the words recorded by NihaoCafe teachers in putonghua, standard Chinese pronunciation;
- Custom-made illustrations to help you visualize these words;
- Quiz feature so you can test yourself on both Chinese and English translations.
You can use them to:
- learn new Chinese words;
- learn how to use these words in context with simple examples.
Happy learning — and feel free to share your favorite lists with friends!
Do you feel confident enough to test yourself on vocabulary right from the start?
Then click Start the Quiz and dive in!
If not, you can always come back to this section and toggle the switch on later.
Chinese Vocabulary Topics
You can use these quick links to jump to a topic you like.
- Numbers in Chinese
- Languages & Nationalities in Chinese
- Technology / IT in Chinese
- Money & Shopping-related Vocabulary in Chinese
- Economics in Chinese
- Sports in Chinese
- Seasons in Chinese
Learn how to count in Chinese, especially words for 1000 and 10000 which are always very useful to know.
My monthly rent is 3,500 yuan.
What day is it today?
Languages & Nationalities
Learn what to call different nationalities in Chinese, so that you can tell where you and your friends are from.
This English song is very nice.
She is a Chinese teacher.
He wants to practice his spoken Chinese every day.
Technology / IT
Learn the different terms related to IT and Technology. Whether these terms are related to WeChat, Alipay, or payment and communication in general, they are all quite useful in everyday life.
The rapid development of science and technology.
Now you can pay with face recognition.
Will you scan my QR code or shall I scan yours?
To send a voice message
I like to voice my friends.
Money & Shopping
Learn all the terms related to money and shopping, so that next time you need to buy some new piece of clothes, you know how to express yourself.
To receive goods
Please write your delivery address here.
Can I pay with cash?
This is your receipt.
To pay the bill
I’ll pay the bill for today’s dinner.
Learn the most important economics terms in order to talk business with local people.
Housing prices in the city center only rise but never fall.
Chinese yuan(unit of money)
This cup of coffee is thirty yuan.
There is no perfect person in the world.
Learn the name of the most commonly played sports ; whether it’s tennis, football or basketball, it’s always useful to know those names in order to start a small talk.
Do you like playing football?
My favorite player is Messi.
Do you want to play basketball together?
Are you going swimming this afternoon?
Learn how to call the different seasons of the year, so that you can get ready for the hot and cold temperatures.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SEASON?
AUTUMN IN BEIJING IS VERY BEAUTIFUL.
WINTER IS VERY COLD.
Learn the name of the most common western ingredients and dishes, in order to order them in the restaurant or at the supermarket whenever you miss food from home.
THE BEEF NOODLES ARE DELICIOUS.
BREAKFAST TODAY IS BREAD AND MILK.
ITALIANS LIKE TO EAT PIZZA.
I ORDERED A SALAD.
Learn how to call the most important fruits, because it’s important to provide your body with a lot of vitamins.
THIS APPLE IS NOT TOO SWEET.
HOW MUCH IS A POUND OF BANANAS?
WE ORDERED A BOTTLE OF RED WINE
EATING FRUIT IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH.
Learn how to call the most delicious desserts so that next time at the restaurant, you can treat yourself some yummy dish.
There are many biscuits on the table.
I want to eat a piece of cake.
Children love chocolate.
Learn how to call the different rooms of an apartment. This is especially useful when you need to describe your dream flat to a real estate agent.
There are four rooms in my house.
The bathroom is on the first floor.
I want a position by the window.
Your living room is very big.
Learn the names of the furniture items you might need to buy in China when changing apartment. It’s important to know how the different pieces are called in case you need to replace them or order them online.
This wardrobe is very tall.
Please throw the rubbish in the trash can.
Coffee on the table.
Do not put the mirror on the opposite side of the bed.
Learn the name of the different devices at your apartment. It’s important to know how to call the appliances, for example if you need to call the repair man to come fix some broken devices.
AIR CONDITIONING IS OFTEN USED IN SUMMER.
I WANT TO REPLACE IT WITH A NEW DISHWASHER.
Bake bread in the oven.
The washing machine is broken.
Daily Use Objects
Learn the name of the different objects of your daily life, so that you can ask for it in the supermarket.
I go to the supermarket to buy daily necessities.
firewood, rice, oil and salt (expression)
You need firewood, rice, oil and salt to cook.
I ran out of toothpaste.
Learn how to call the different family members. You might know that Chinese vocabulary is very precise for family members, that’s why it’s important to know them all in order to not get confused when talking about a specific person.
I HAVE A BIG FAMILY.
MY GIRLFRIEND IS VERY BEAUTIFUL.
MY WIFE IS FROM SHANGHAI.
HER HUSBAND IS A POLICEMAN.
Learn the most important nouns and adjectives describing people, so that you can easily describe individuals.
He is my old friend.
Young people today are inseparable from mobile phones.
His children are excellent.
Which is more important, friendship or love?
Learn the name of the some celebrities, actors or fictional characters.
HAVE YOU SEEN JACKIE CHAN’S MOVIE?
MA YUN IS THE FOUNDER OF ALIBABA.
SUPERMAN CAN FLY.
Learn the most common animal names in Chinese. Learn how to pronounce the 12 zodiac animals, but also other animals of the farm.
Keep in good health
Chinese people know a lot about health & nutrition.
Smoking is not allowed in the room.
Learn the names for different body parts in Chinese, so that next time you go to a massage place, to see a doctor or to get a new haircut, you can describe the body they should pay particular attention to.
I’m not feeling well.
Your hair is long.
bangs / fringe
I want to get bangs.
Learn terms related to make up and cosmetics, so that next time you need to make a present for your best friend’s birthday, you know what to ask for.
I went out before I had time to put on makeup today.
Skin care products
I always use this brand of skin care products.
Learn the most common animal names in Chinese — including pets from dogs & cats to birds, fishes & butterflies — and other common animal species in the animal kingdom!
What’s your favourite animal?
Do you have a pet?
I have a cat.
Learn all the terms related to plants and more generally nature, so that next time you need to add some green to your living room, you know what to look for.
Don’t sit on the grass.
Let’s go to the flower shop to buy flowers!
The leaves on the tree are yellow.
Learn what to call the different celebrations of the year and get ready to celebrate with people that count.
Do you have a pet?
Many old Chinese people like to HAVe birds as A pet.
What’s your favourite animal?