No Crowmouthing yourself


“No Crowmouthing yourself” means to not say things like car crash, suicide, cardiac arrest, especially in correlation to anyone in the family. “Joking things like “I’m going to die” is definitely going to get me scolded by my grandparents even in a joking way, and they’d call that “crow mouthing.” big nono, not safe, and they’d give a whole lecture about how to be better in a well being since… they had it rough in their life,” reports my informant. Her parents and grandparents lived through many different wars, and thus they believe that dangerous things like swimming in the river, riding a roller coaster, or speaking of things related to death put your wellbeing at risk. In China, this proverb is used quite often and is a big theme in Chinese culture. Younger people tend to say it to themselves to scold themselves. 

An example of this proverb being used genuinely goes as follows:

Person 1: “Oh god, I have a flight this afternoon, I hope the plane won’t crash haha.”

Person 2: “Stop! Do not crowmouth yourself, saying plane crash is such a bad thing.”

However, later this proverb has evolved into a dark joke, akin to saying “Haha imma kill myself.” An example of it being used in this way goes as follows:

Person 1: “I’m going to die because of this assignment”

Person 2: “Haha, crow mouthing yourself, huh?”

As my informant says, “it’s a bit morbid but silly funny.” She believes because society has become more safe, “the past concerns of war, hunger, limits and so on don’t exist in this modern time in China,” and thus a proverb that may have held great weight in the past doesn’t scare the youth today.


I find it interesting how proverbs can change from being held with great meaning to being used in a sarcastic joke. Perhaps a combination of a change in environment, like my informant said, and the fact that proverbs are typically widespread and are a collective knowledge have a hand in this evolution of the ways certain proverbs are used now.