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female, *woman

=

Character Notes

“女字旁”

Character Comparison

shēn
somebody

=

丶 +目 + 才
drop + eye + genie
Character Notes

a dancing eyeball with an antenna on its head (see pic); alternatively: 自 + 才 nose + genius, An aromachologist is somebody who is a nose genius.

Character Comparison

gào
declare

=

牛 + 口
cow + mouth
Character Notes

Chick-Fil-A cow declaring “Eat more chikin” OR cow saying: ”I do declare”

Character Comparison

shí
time

=

日 + 寸
sun + thumb
Character Notes

primitive sundial: holding up your thumb to see its shadow

Character Comparison

huān
merry

=

又 + 欠
right hand + lack
Character Notes

This is Merry the pirate who lacks a right hand.

Character Comparison

假 jiǎ

jiǎ
fake

=

亻 + 叚jiǎ
persona + copycat
Character Notes

picture your persona buying fakes on vacation

Character Comparison

shān
mountain

=

Character Notes
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day, *sun

=

Character Notes

“日字旁”

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曰yuē sayeth

huǒ
fire [n.]

=

Character Notes

derivative: 灬 cooking fire

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chē
vehicle

=

Character Notes

derivative: 㐄 *unicycle

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kǒu
mouth

=

Character Notes

“口字旁”“口字底”

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ér
son, *human legs

=

Character Notes
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ròu
meat

=

Character Notes

originally a picture of meat; alternative breakdown: 冂+人+人 hood + person + person

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mén
gate

=

Character Notes

“门字框”

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户hù door

niú
cow

=

Character Notes

modified versions: 牜 ⺧

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gōng
work [n.], *I-beam

=

Character Notes

derivative: *经 *crane

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shí
ten, *needle

=

seven

=

Character Notes
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匕bǐ spoon/person sitting

how many?, *wind

=

Character Notes

derived from: 风fēng wind/windstorm

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eight, *animal legs

=

Character Notes

eight can be /divided and /divided again OR a spider has eight animal legs

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gān
dry [adj.], *clothesline

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Character Notes
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千qiān thousand

jiā
home

=

宀 + 豕
house + sow
Character Notes

house on stilts with pigs underneath

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rén
person

=

Character Notes

derivatives: 亻 *persona, 𠂉 *lying down

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入rù enter

kāi
open [v.], *open hands

=

hand modified
Character Notes
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廾 gǒng two hands

large, *large dog

=

人 + 一
person + “arms"
Character Notes

a person trying to make themself look large by spreading out their arms; as a component, component derived from: 犬quǎn dog, hence the "large dog" meaning in stories

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犬quǎn small dog

máo
fur

=

Character Notes
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手shǒu hand/high five

huí
return [v.]

=

囗 + 口
enclose + mouth
Character Notes

picture of a circle revolving in another OR "And with that, the cycle is complete, and he’s headed home." (Trumpeter Wu)

Character Comparison

diǎn
spot [n.]

=

占 + 灬
tell fortunes + cooking fire
Character Notes

fortune teller looks into cooking fire, then looks away and sees spots: uses these to tell your fortune, Macbeth

Character Comparison

nán
south

=

十 + 冂 + ¥
ten/needle + hood + RMB
Character Notes

gang in the south: drugs, hoods, money

Character Comparison

chǎng
site

=

土 + (㇇勿)yáng
soil + piglet
Character Notes

open area, piglets rooting around OR this is the actual site of Charlotte’s famous webs

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bǎi
hundred

=

一 + 白bái
one + white
Character Notes

Japanese call 99 (100-1) your "white year" OR hair turns white at 100

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běi
north

=

匕(back) + 匕
person sitting + person sitting
Character Notes

two people back-to-back trying to stay warm in the north

Character Comparison
比bǐ compare

guǒ
fruit

=

田 + 木
field + tree
Character Notes

fruit orchard: a field of trees OR 日+木 sun + tree, need sun to ripen the fruit on the trees

Character Comparison

jīng
capital

=

亠 + 口 + 小
top hat + mouth + small
Character Notes

the capital is where the little people go to talk to the top hats

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diàn
electricity

=

日 + 乚
sun + hook
Character Notes

a lightning bolt is like a streak of electricity from the sun OR picture of a kite

Character Comparison

míng
bright

=

日 + 月
sun + moon
Character Notes

the two bright things in the sky

Character Comparison

liù
six

=

亠 + 八
top hat + eight
Character Notes

top hats go out at six and return at eight

Character Comparison

jiǔ
nine

=

十 + 乚
ten + hook
Character Notes

nine hooks into ten

Character Comparison
力lì power/muscle

èr
two

=

一 + 一
one + one
Character Notes
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sān
three

=

一 + 一 + 一
one + one + one
Character Notes
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chicken

=

又 + 鸟
right hand + bird
Character Notes

using right hand to herd chickens back into their yard OR holding a chicken drumstick in your right hand

Character Comparison

dōng
east, *rickshaw

=

车 + 小
vehicle + small
Character Notes

small vehicle of the east is a rickshaw

Character Comparison

gāo
tall

=

亠 + 口 + 冂 + 口
top hat + mouth + hood + mouth
Character Notes

This is a tall man costume with someone on someone else’s shoulders. The guy on top wears a top hat to make him even taller. The guy on the bottom wears a hood to cover his face.

Character Comparison

machine

=

木 + 几jǐ
wood + wind
Character Notes

a wooden windmill

Character Comparison

chuáng
bed

=

广guǎng + 木
cave + tree
Character Notes

You have a seat 座 and a mat 席 in your cave, but you decide to upgrade to a bed and bring in a tree trunk.

Character Comparison

diàn
store [n.]

=

广 + 占zhān
cave + tell fortunes
Character Notes

a primitive store where you pay someone to get your fortune read

Character Comparison

guó
country

=

囗 + 玉
enclose + jade
Character Notes

country’s wealth (jade) is enclosed, crown jewels protected

Character Comparison

huà
words

=

讠 + 舌
microphone + tongue
Character Notes

microphone amplifies the words of your tongue

Character Comparison

shǎo
few

=

小xiǎo + 丿
small + slash
Character Notes

take a small thing and slash it into a few

Character Comparison
步bù step

nǎi
milk [n.]

=

女 + 乃nǎi
woman + fist
Character Notes

woman squeezes with fist and gets milk

Character Comparison

hǎo
good

=

女 + 子
woman + child
Character Notes

woman with her child is good

Character Comparison

harmony

=

禾hé + 口
grain + mouth
Character Notes

whole grains in your mouth = (digestive) harmony OR when grain fills the mouths of the populations, there is harmony

Character Comparison

chū
exit [v.]

=

山 + 山
mountain + mountain
Character Notes

exit through a pass between two mountains

Character Comparison

dòng
move [v.]

=

云 + 力
cloud + muscle
Character Notes

a goddess moves the clouds with her muscles

Character Comparison

ground [n.]

=

土 + 也
soil + scorpion
Character Notes

scorpion lives in the ground

Character Comparison

běn
notebook

=

木 + 一
tree + one
Character Notes

slice out of trunk becomes a notebook

Character Comparison

shàng
above

=

卜 + 一
magic wand + floor
Character Notes

magic wand hovering above the floor

Character Comparison
下xià below

miàn
face-to-face

=

百 + 目
hundred + eye
Character Notes

face-to-face interview: a hundred eyeballs on you OR 面 also means "noodles": picture a hundred eyeballs tossed in your noodles

Character Comparison

inside, *computer

=

Character Notes

Inside Out OR alternative breakdown: 田+土 field + soil; anciently, a li was a measurement of distance

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fāng
direction, *compass

=

丶 + 万
drop + ten thousand
Character Notes

ten thousand directions on a compass, moves by a drop

Character Comparison

nán
male

=

田 + 力
field + muscle
Character Notes

males are more field power

Character Comparison

bāo
wrap [v.]

=

勹bāo + 已
bound up + snakeskin
Character Notes

package wrapped in snakeskin

Character Comparison

bái
white

=

丶 + 日
drop + sun
Character Notes

a drop of sunshine: white light

Character Comparison

piào
ticket

=

西 + 示
Wild West + altar
Character Notes

buy tickets to a Wild West show featuring a shotgun wedding at the altar of the town church OR To the west of the altar is where they sell tickets to tour the cathedral.

Character Comparison

shī
teacher

=

刂 + 一 + 巾
sword + one + towel
Character Notes

saber fight between a student and teacher who only has one towel OR alternatively: 帅 + 一 commander + ceiling, commander inside is a teacher

Character Comparison
帅shuài commander

guān
shut [v.]

=

丷 + 天
horns + heavens
Character Notes

The heavens were shut to those who built the golden calf.

Character Comparison

bèi
prepare

=

夂 + 田
walking legs + field
Character Notes

preparing for spring planting, walking around the fields

Character Comparison

jiè
introduce

=

𠆢 + *丌
umbrella + crutches
Character Notes

introducing…the umbrella crutch OR both can be used to strike up a conversation when you want to be introduced to somebody

Character Comparison

chà
fall short of

=

⺶ + 工
wool + I-beam
Character Notes

if you have wool over your eyes, fall short of the next I-beam

Character Comparison

strike [v.]

=

扌 + 丁dīng
hand + nail
Character Notes

when striking a nail you hit your hand

Character Comparison

cháng
often

=

(龸口)shàng + 巾
outhouse + towel
Character Notes

often have to bring your own towel to the outhouse

Character Comparison

hào
appellation #

=

口 + 丂kǎo
mouth + broken bow/5
Character Notes

call out house #5

Character Comparison

ne
[grammar particle]

=

口 + 尼ní
mouth + nun
Character Notes

sound: nun

Character Comparison

jìng
clean [adj.]

=

冫 + 争zhēng
ice + contend
Character Notes

clean the ice before the hockey contention

Character Comparison

kǎo
take an exam

=

耂lǎo + 丂kǎo
old man + broken bow/5
Character Notes

old man is the proctor of the SAT, all he says is “5 minutes” OR old man Confucius scores a perfect 5 on the exam

Character Comparison

compare

=

匕bǐ + 匕bǐ
spoon + spoon
Character Notes

comparing spoons

Character Comparison
北běi north

qiú
ball

=

王 + 求qiú
jewel + request
Character Notes

a ball is round like a jewel, request teammate to pass the ball

Character Comparison

chá
tea

=

艹 + 𠆢 + 朩
flowers + umbrella + pole
Character Notes

flower tea, workers wearing umbrella hat, pole on their shoulders

Character Comparison

míng
name [n.]

=

夕 + 口
evening + mouth
Character Notes

father whispers name in baby’s ear at night OR shouting names of kids to bring them home in evening OR call out your name in the evening, so they know who is approaching

Character Comparison

hold [v.]

=

合 + 手
fit + hand
Character Notes

you can hold something when it fits in your hand

Character Comparison

heat [n./v.]

=

执 + 灬
clench + cooking fire
Character Notes

clenching because of the cold, hoping the cooking fire heats up

Character Comparison

hàn
Han

=

氵 + 又
water + right hand
Character Notes

Han people came from the Yellow River, picture a right hand coming out of the water

Character Comparison

bié
distinguish

=

另 + 刂
another + sword
Character Notes

Distinguish one part from another by separating them with a sword.

Character Comparison

ma
yes/no

=

口 + 马mǎ
mouth + horse
Character Notes
Character Comparison

which?

=

口 + 那nà
mouth + that
Character Notes
Character Comparison

period of time

=

其qí + 月
laundry basket + month
Character Notes

after a period of time, laundry basket begins to stink, a month is too long between washes

Character Comparison

fáng
domicile

=

户 + 方fāng
door + compass
Character Notes

fengshui: door of the domicile has to face a certain direction

Character Comparison

rice

=

grain modified
Character Notes

whole grain threshed into grains of rice

Character Comparison
Series

lǎo
old, *old man

=

土 + 丿 + 匕
soil + slash + sitting down/spoon
Character Notes

return to the soil, feed with spoon, dirt in eyes, sitting on ground

Character Comparison

péng
companion

=

月 + 月
2 body parts
Character Notes

Adam and Eve were created as companions. They were so close, Adam called her “flesh of my flesh.”

Character Comparison

apparel

=

月 + 𠬝fú
body part + copy of original
Character Notes

apparel industry just copies originals to cover our body parts

Character Comparison

nǎo
brain

=

月 + 㐫nǎo
body part + Scrooge
Character Notes

Scrooge had a developed brain (but not heart)

Character Comparison

qián
in front, *butcher shop

=

丷 + 刖
horns + butcher
Character Notes

horns hang in front of the butcher’s shop

Character Comparison

answer [v.]

=

⺮ + 合
bamboo + fit
Character Notes

In this class students will get answers to a tangram by fitting various bamboo shapes into a frame.

Character Comparison

děng
wait

=

⺮ + 寺
bamboo + Buddhist temple
Character Notes

Can’t wait for Camp Bamboo at the Buddhist temple! OR Please wait in the bamboo forest outside the temple building site until you are invited in.

Character Comparison

bēi
cup

=

木 + 不bù
wood + no
Character Notes

cups used to be made of wood--no longer OR souvenir wooden cup with a no symbol

Character Comparison

cài
vegetable

=

艹 + 采cǎi
flowers + pick
Character Notes

pick off the flowers when you eat the vegetable

Character Comparison

nán
difficult

=

又 + 隹
right hand + special bird
Character Notes

difficult to catch/stuff a turkey with your right hand

Character Comparison

duì
that’s right

=

又 + 寸
right hand + thumb
Character Notes

"That's right!” Swear it with your right hand or just give them a thumbs up.

Character Comparison

páng
side [n.], *Columbus

=

立 + 冖 + 方fāng
stand up + crown + compass
Character Notes

This prince is an adventurer. Like Columbus, he stands up to the crown with a compass by his side and declares “the earth is round”.

Character Comparison
帝dì sovereign
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