I’m sick of…

tǎo yàn

Sometimes we get sick of things. Sometimes expats get homesick in China. So how can we say we’re sick of something in Chinese?


One option is to just throw out the word tǎo yàn 讨厌, which of often translated as “hate” but isn’t really that strong. wǒ tǎo yàn xiǎo hái zi. I hate kids. tǎo yàn is often used jokingly and coquettish girls in particular will throw this word around in flirtatious way. If a girl constantly says “tǎo yàn!” or “tǎo yàn nǐ!” to you it could mean she is flirting. Or it could mean she actually hates you. I guess it all depends on context.   

Even if tǎo yàn isn’t as strong as hate is in English it still doesn’t quite have the same meaning as “sick of…” in English. For this you can take the yàn 厌 from tǎo yàn 讨厌 and put it after any verb and then follow it with the particle le. So if you’ve eaten so much Chinese food you’re sick of it you can say wǒ chī yàn le zhōng gúo cài (I eat hate Chinese food) or perhaps you’ve heard a certain song a few too many times. wǒ tīng yàn le zhè shǒu gē (I listen hate this song)


If you’ve been forced to try chickens feet you might find yourself sick of Chinese food

This verb + yàn + le sentence structure gives the impression you now really don’t like the thing in question. But sometimes you’re sick of something but you don’t dislike it, it’s just you’ve had too much of it. For this meaning you can replace yàn with so that you have a sentence structure that is verb + nì + le.

Consider the difference between wǒ chī yàn le zhōng gúo cài  (I’m sick of eating Chinese food and now hate it) and wǒ chī nì le zhōng gúo cài (I don’t hate Chinese food but I’ve had too much of it and now a bit sick of it)