Ming Dynasty derogatory terms for outlaws, foreigners and barbarians

Although most of these terms can be translated to "barbarian" in English, each of these words has different meaning in Chinese and cannot be used interchangeably.


By Race/Ethnic Group/Nationality
Man (蠻) – Used to mean "southern barbarian". It means "barbaric foreigner".
Lu (虜) – Northern nomadic barbarian like the Mongols.
Fan (番 or 蕃) – Primitive barbarian.
Yi (夷) – Generic foreign barbarian.


By Profession/Social Status
Dao (盜) – Thief.
Kou (寇)  Thief, robber, bandit or pirate, outlaws.
Zei (賊) – Meaning "traitor" or "hated enemy". In modern Chinese, it means "thief".
Di (敵) – Enemy. This term is more neutral than Zei.


Specific Group
Wo (倭) – Japanese. This term did not have negative connotation back then.
Fo Lang Ji (佛朗機) – Chinese transliteration of the word "Franks". It means "Portuguese".
Lu Song (呂宋) – Chine transliteration of the word "Luzon", referring to Luzon island of Philippines. After the Spanish colonization of Philippines, this term was applied to the Spanish as well.
Ao Yi (澳夷) – "Macao barbarian" or Portuguese.
Hong Yi (紅夷) and Hong Mao Yi (紅毛夷) – "Red barbarian" and "red-haired barbarian". Both mean "Dutch".
Da Da (鞑靼) – Tatars. This term was applied to many different groups such as Turks, Mongols, etc.


Obsolete Term
Rong (戎) – Western barbarian.
Di (狄) – Northern barbarian.
Hu (胡) – Nomadic barbarian.

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