5 Ways To Laugh in Chinese

Haha, hee hee, hehe... Find out how laughter is expressed in Chinese characters and on the internet!

"I sent an email to my coworkers about not making typos because they make us look bad. There was a typo in that email."



"LOL" is a standard chatspeak for "haha" on the internet. However, did you know that Chinese uses completely different words for "haha?"


If you ever talk to Chinese people over social media (such as WeChat or QQ) then you will notice several different ways of laughing. There are times when one type of laughter is more appropriate to use than another. This shouldn’t be a surprise since this is also the case for English. For instance, “haha” is used in a different situation compared to “heh heh." Here we will explain the several ways to laugh in Chinese, and when to use them. 

1. 哈哈 (hā hā) = haha

This one is probably the easiest one to explain. 哈哈is similar to how we use “haha”. Imagine a happy laugh with an open mouth—it’s just your typical everyday laugh! 

2. 呵呵 (hē hē) = hehe

Hehe is a quieter laugh compared to haha. This laugh can be used in many situations since it is a vaguer laugh. Note that hehe is not read out loud in the same way as “hehe” in English: hehe is pronounced like “huh-huh”. The use of hehe can be for sarcasm, embarrassment, or mockery. It can also imply a smile.

3. 嘻嘻 (xī xī) = xixi

Xixi is often used by females, since it implies a cute type of laugh. The cute connotation can be meant in a lighthearted manner, or in a suck-up sort of way. Another way it can be used is for revealing mischievousness. Xixi can be thought of as the equivalent of “hee hee” in English.

4. 嘿嘿 (hēi hēi) =heihei

A way to remember the interpretation of this type of laugh is to look at the right side of the character, which consists of the word黑 (hēi), meaning “black” or “dark”. Now that you know this, you can remember that heihei is a type of cunning or mischievous laugh.  Imagine someone laughing softly as an evil plan is underway.

5. 23333

Yes, you can laugh with numbers too! This way to laugh requires typing out at least one 2, and then at least two 3s to follow, depending on how funny the thing is. 233 might be "haha" and 23333333 would be "hahahahahahha."

The origin of this comes for the mop.com forum in China, which is one of the biggest online forums there. The 233rd emoticon from that website is a laughing cat-like figure.


Someone made a post on Reddit about watching a Chinese live chat stream with Google Translate on. He noticed, "Most of the translations are accurate, but sometimes it'll translate Chinese into junk numbers like 233 2333333." One of the responses claimed that because Chinese had so many characters, sometimes browsers lacked the code to display special characters and ends up messing up the words.

Want To Learn More Chinese? Join uS!Book A Free 1-on-1 Chinese Class!

Similar posts

Join our Chinese Learning Community!

Explore the beauty of Chinese characters, and unravel the tapestry of traditions. Subscribe to receive exclusive insights, valuable resources, and regular updates that will accelerate your language learning adventure.