Tag Archives: double meaning

Taiwanese Joke: Double Naming and Chickens

Nationality: Taiwanese
Primary Language: Mandarin
Age: 50
Occupation: Housewife
Residence: Taipei, Taiwan
Performance Date: 16 February 2024

Tags: joke, Taiwanese, chickens, double meaning, toilet humor


There was once a man who visited Taiwan for the first time to improve his conversational Mandarin speaking skills. He had heard from his Taiwanese friends that Taiwanese people often like to ‘double say’ (repeat) nouns- for example, ‘喝水水’ = ‘drink water water’, ‘吃飯飯’ = eat food food, ‘大狗狗‘ = ‘big dog dog’.

To attempt to fit in to local customs, the man wanted to try ‘double saying’ a noun. As he was thinking, he saw a small chicken crossing a road. He pointed at the small chicken and loudly declared:

“小雞雞!” (“small chicken chicken”)

After he said this, every local around him burst out laughing. Confused and embarrassed, he hastily called his Taiwanese friend and recounted the experience, demanding an explanation. The Taiwanese friend burst out laughing and explained:

” ‘雞雞’ (chicken chicken) means ‘penis’. “


T is a born and raised Taiwanese local, and apparently this is a pretty popular (though crass) joke to tell children, which she did in my youth when we ate chicken one day. Growing up learning Mandarin from T, I realized we both subconsciously also used the ‘double noun’ habit, though it’s mainly used for children learning Mandarin growing up as it can seem cute in a way, in a singsong-ish manner.


Thinking back on the joke, there may or may not be a connection to the English interpretation of the word ‘cock’ as both a word relating to ‘chicken’ and ‘penis’, so maybe dick jokes can help connect the world.

Old Man and Well Joke

Context: The informant told me this joke at a party where they were trying to tell some of their best jokes.


“Why did the old man fall into a well? Because he couldn’t see that well.”

Background: The informant is a 20 year old college student at Harvard. He really enjoys telling jokes and found this piece on Reddit. They enjoy finding jokes on Reddit to use in everyday life or tell to friends. They like this joke because it is short and witty, and consider it one of their best jokes.


This piece is is a joke that touches on themes of old age and double entendre. The humor is created by unexpected switch in the punch line of the meaning of “well” from the water hole definition to the usage as a synonymous to good. The other humorous quality is poking fun at the nature of old age and how older people have weaker eyesight. This joke reflects how American culture has a pattern of joking about the elderly and this is part of American ideology that champions youth. There is also a trend in jokes where people find falling funny and this plays into that