The not so good, bad and ugly of the Chinese Zodiac

Happy Chinese New Year/春节快乐! Were you born in the Year of the Ox/牛年? 2021 marks the Ox’s year, but are you aware of the traits the Ox possesses? Most will probably know they are hard working, strong, reliable, fair, conscientious and methodical. But what about the bad points? Below I’ve complied a horoscope for each of the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals based on the traits you should watch out for or avoid in them. I’ve also provided words, phrases and idioms that use the animal names in them to emphasise their negative points as well as examples of infamous people who were born in those years. So if you want to learn some unnecessary but interesting and often rude Chinese phrases and know who you share your sign with, keep on reading.

Note: The descriptions below are purely exaggerated based on the “standard negative traits” of each sign and are intended for entertainment purposes only and not to offend or generalise, but if you are offended, I don’t give a shit – go cry elsewhere. Also note this is an edited and updated version of an article I previously wrote for an online publication that I felt needed bringing back.

Rat 子鼠

Just as actual rats are usually depicted in a negative light, those born in the Year of the Rat are greedy, vindictive, scheming and cunning (how else do you think the Rat won the race to become the first animal?). They’re selfish – always putting their own interests first, arrogant and tight when it comes to their money and belongings. Rats may be the smallest of the 12 animals but they’re one of the most ruthless too.

獐头鼠目 (zhāngtóu-shǔmù) – literally “head of a river deer, eye of a rat”, or “ugly and shifty-looking”

鼠辈 (shǔbèi) – literally “rat-like people” or, “scoundrel(s)”

Infamous Rats: Political tyrant Robert Mugabe, serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and emotionless politician Priti Patel

Ox 丑牛

The Ox is not only strong-headed but big-headed too, believing they are always right and not willing to submit or admit defeat. They are also rather hot-headed and will not allow others to piss them off without getting away with it. This makes them a hard nut to crack and please and therefore sometimes come across as a bit of sad loner.

吹牛大王 (chuī niú dà wáng) – literally “boastful king”/”brilliant at bragging”, or basically “braggart”/”blowhard”

黄牛 (huángniú) – literally “yellow ox/cow” but can also mean “ticket tout/scalper” or an “unreliable person”

Infamous Oxen: Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, Iron Bitch Margaret Thatcher and political/terrorist leader Saddam Hussein

Tiger 寅虎

Tigers are fearless but also fearsome; anger a Tiger and you will probably live to regret it. They can be obsessive, possessive and above all, dominant… In more ways than one. Tigers are confident but sometimes over-confident, a.k.a. cocky assholes, so if you compliment them expect them to love it.

为虎作伥 (wèihǔ-zuòchāng) – an idiom meaning “to play the jackal to the tiger” or in other words “to help a villain do evil”

豺狼虎豹 (cháiláng-hǔbào) – an idiom literally meaning “jackals, wolves, tigers and panthers” or in short “fierce and cruel people”

Infamous Tigers: “Britain’s worst ever paedophile” Richard Huckle and political tyrant Fidel Castro

Rabbit 卯兔

Rabbits can be such pussies at times; they are very conservative, prefer to avoid aggression and conflict, don’t like to take risks and can be pushovers. They are also rather pessimistic, a trait that can piss off a lot of others who don’t like their slow coach approach to life.

兔崽子 (tùzǎizi) – brat or bastard

兔死狗烹 (tùsǐ-gǒupēng) – an idiom literally meaning “to boil the hound once it has caught the rabbit” or in other words “to get rid of somebody once he has served his purpose”

Infamous Rabbits: John F. Kennedy’s assassin Harvey Lee Oswald and convicted US traitor Ethel Rosenberg

Dragon 辰龙

The Dragon is a hot-tempered beast; they can be arrogant twats and rude or even volatile when challenged. They like to rebel in order to prove their independence and they’re intolerant, unapologetic bastards to those they deem inferior or annoying. Dragons are also known to be big time narcissists.

摆乌龙 (bǎiwūlóng) – “to screw up”

恐龙妹 (kǒnglóng mèi) – literally “dinosaur sister” or basically “ugly girl”

Infamous Dragons: Homophobic politician Vladimir Putin and racist politician Boris Johnson

巳蛇

Snakes are sly and snide and will try their upmost best to get away with anything, whether or not they believe they what they’re doing is right or wrong. They can also be a bit of a whiny bitch if things don’t go their way or if someone doesn’t agree with them. The Snake is also known to be stingy, lazy, jealous and possessive. However, Snakes are said to have a seductive appeal and are oversexed… So basically, a slut.

蛇精病 (shéjīngbìng) – slang for “crazy person”

蛇头 (shétóu) – literally “snake head” but also “gang leader”

Infamous Snakes: Sick serial killers Fred and Rosemary West

Horse 午马

The Horse is a strange animal; a stubborn idiot who prefers to be a loner and wants to make it on his or her own, but can also be rather needy and clingy when it comes to trying to find love. Horses can also be impatient and oblivious to other people’s needs and are more cunning than intelligent, knowing what they want and how to get it. They also have a lot of sex appeal and know how to dress – so, in other words, hardly.

马齿徒增 (mǎchí-túzēng) – an idiom meaning “just like a horse growing teeth over the years” or figuratively meaning “to grow old without accomplishing anything”

马大哈 (mǎdàhā) – “a careless person”

Infamous Horses: Beloved TV personality turned paedophile Rolf Harris and serial killer Myra Hindley

Ram 未羊

Sheep and Goats are seen as rather boring, lazy animals and people born in the Year of the Ram are often viewed in the same way… Usually because they are. They, like Rabbits, are sensitive little bitches and are afraid of conflict and they tend to need or crave (i.e. “beg”) for approval, attention, respect or sympathy from others. Come on, it’s not attractive!

羊质虎皮 (yángzhì-hǔpí) – idiom literally meaning “a sheep in a tiger’s skin” or figuratively meaning “impressive in appearance but lacking substance” or “outwardly strong but inwardly weak”

披着羊皮的狼 (pī zhe yángpí de láng) – wolf in sheep’s clothing

Infamous Rams: Politician Mikhail Gorbachev and racist, homophobic and transphobic rapper Azealia Banks

Monkey 申猴

Like their animal counterparts, Monkeys are cheeky little pricks. They can be manipulative, egotistical, selfish, vain, and are highly intelligent but boy do they know it! Their never-ending energy and curiosity means others sometimes find them to be nosy or annoying twats, which is never a good sign.

猴孩子 (hóuháizi) – literally “little money” or basically “little devil”

尖嘴猴腮 (jiānzuǐ-hóusāi) – idiom literally meaning “have a mouth that sticks out and a monkey’s chin” or basically “have a wretched appearance”

Infamous Monkeys: Self-absorbed “reality star” Kim Kardashian and inept politician Theresa May

Rooster 酉鸡

The Rooster can be a bit of a cock, to be honest. Their number one interest is themselves, whether it’s their own welfare or their appearance – they know when they’re looking fly and love it when others tell them so. They love to be in firm control of everyone around them and everything, which often leads to head-on disagreements with those similar to them. Roosters are also an open book – they don’t like to lie and tell it how it is, so they can be a bit of a sharp-tongued bitch if you’re not careful.

鸡掰 (jībāi) – slang meaning “to fuck around with” or “fucked up”

鸡鸡 (jījī) – “cock (penis)”

Infamous Cocks: Criminal brothers the Kray Twins, terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and self-obsessed “reality star” Paris Hilton

Dog 戌狗

Now we all know Dogs are loyal, but this more often than not comes off as just being too attention-seeking, clingy and possessive a lot of the time – a trait many others do not find the least bit attractive. They are known to be narrow-minded and stubborn and their temperamental mood swings mean others never know if they’re on their PMT or not. Dogs are trusting but it takes time for them to trust you and if that doesn’t happen, they can be really judgmental bitches.

狗日 (gǒurì) – literally “dog day” but meaning “fucked by a dog”, “despicable” or “lousy”

狗东西 (gǒudōngxi) – literally “dog thing” but actually means “that son of a bitch”

Infamous Dogs: Reality star turned disgraced politician turned cult leader Donald Trump and his current wife Melania, and vain, psychotic cat killer turned human killer Luka Magnotta

Pig 亥猪

Known to be naive, Pigs are easily fooled and can be trotted all over and are often pedantic, leading many to find them to be snobbish pricks that look down on others. However, they can also be flaky, indecisive and lazy (hence the reason why the Pig came last), which others who prefer people to be sure of themselves, cannot stand. The Pig is actually rather clever but can come off as being a right dimwit and if you’re a Pig you don’t want that first impression to stick, do you? 

咸猪手 (xián zhūshǒu) – literally “salted pork knuckle” but also means “pervert”

猪头 (zhūtóu) – literally “pig head” or “stupid person”

Infamous Pigs: Italian-American mobster Al Capone and politician Mike Pence

What is your sign and do the above descriptions match your personality? The good traits can be Googled if you want more information and clarity. Stay safe and have a happy, prosperous Chinese New Year (恭喜发财)!

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