First of all, I’d like to wish all my Chinese readers a warm Gong Xi Fai Chai /gong zee fah chai/ (Happy New Year). Listen to the correct pronunciation here.

Today marks the beginning of the new lunar year in the Chinese calendar. Over the next few days, Chinese around the world will be celebrating with their families with sumptuous feasts and events like the dragon or lion dance. In fact, the great migration has already started with millions travelling back to their families.

It is also the Year of the Goat or Sheep. The Chinese Zodiac has always been a source of fascination for me. Growing up in Malaysia where the second largest ethnic group is Chinese we took part in Chinese New Year festivities with great enthusiasm.

We also took our zodiacal signs and their associated personality traits very seriously. As I was thinking about the year of the goat and the other zodiacal signs, I thought that the personality traits would be a great way of introducing you to English personality adjectives whilst at the same time introducing you to the Chinese zodiac.

So, without further ado, let’s start. There are 12 zodiac signs in the Chinese horoscope. Each sign relates to an animal and to the lunar year in which you were born. The Chinese believe the animal ruling your birth year has a profound influence on your personality and destiny.

The 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac are in the following order Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep/Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Boar/Pig. Each sign corresponds to a year and is repeated in 12-year cycles.

You can determine your sign by referring to the year of your birth and matching it to the chart below:


Each sign has positive and negative traits.

RAT Intelligent, adaptable, quick-witted, charming, artistic, sociable. Can be selfish, ruthless, controlling, scheming

OX –  Loyal, reliable, thorough, strong, reasonable, steady, determined. Can be stubborn, narrow-minded, demanding, rigid

TIGER – Enthusiastic, courageous, ambitious, leadership, confidence, charismatic. Can be restless, clumsy, hot-tempered, impatient.

RABBITTrustworthy, empathic, modest, diplomatic, sincere, sociable, caretakers. Can be moody, shy, lazy, opportunistic.

DRAGON – Lucky, flexible, eccentric, imaginative, artistic, spiritual, charismatic. Can be arrogant, violent, brash,controlling.

SNAKE – Philosophical, organized, intelligent, intuitive, elegant, attentive, decisive. Can be a loner, bad communicator, possessive, distrustful.

Photo: Wikipedia

HORSE – Adaptable, loyal, courageous, ambitious, intelligent, adventurous, strong. Can be fickle, rude, gullible, stubborn.

SHEEP/GOATTasteful, crafty, warm, elegant, charming, intuitive, sensitive, calm. Can be moody, a worrier (noun), a complainer (noun), and or too soft.

MONKEY – Quick-witted, charming, lucky, adaptable, bright, versatile, lively, smart. Can be vain, clumsy, trickster, snobbish.

ROOSTER – Honest, energetic, intelligent, flamboyant, flexible, diverse, confident. Can be critical, egotistical, rough, opinionated. 

DOG – Loyal, sociable, courageous, diligent, steady, lively, adaptable, smart. Can be lazy, cold, stubborn, quarrelsome.

BOAR/PIG – Honourable, philanthropic, determined, optimistic, sincere, sociable. Can be naive, gullible, materialistic, clingy.

So there you have it. Do you recognise these personality traits in yourself? More importantly, can you think of other adjectives, both positive and negative, that would describe yourself that aren’t mentioned above?

If you’d like more information on the Chinese Zodiac signs, take a look at this source.

That’s all folks. I hope you have fun exploring the Chinese zodiac and studying the above adjectives.

Ciao for now.


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