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zhōng
middle

=

口 + 丨
mouth + stick
Character Notes

a stick goes through the middle of something

Character Comparison

female, *woman

=

Character Notes

“女字旁”

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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.

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rán
sort of thing

=

月 + 犬 + 灬
body part + small dog + cooking fire
Character Notes

hot dog sort of thing

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shuì
sleep [v.]

=

目 + 垂chuí
eye + droop
Character Notes

eyes droop

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假 jiǎ

jiǎ
fake

=

亻 + 叚jiǎ
persona + copycat
Character Notes

picture your persona buying fakes on vacation

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shān
mountain

=

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yuè
month, *body part/moon

=

Character Notes

body part when on left, moon when on right “月字旁”; derivative: 夕 *evening

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day, *sun

=

Character Notes

“日字旁”

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曰yuē sayeth

shuǐ
water [n.], *pool of water

=

Character Notes

derivatives: 氵*water, 冫*ice, 氺 *snowflake

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huǒ
fire [n.]

=

Character Notes

derivative: 灬 cooking fire

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wood, *tree

=

Character Notes

“木字旁”

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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

=

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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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shǒu
hand

=

Character Notes

modified versions: 扌龵 *hand; derivatives: 开 *open hands, 廾 *two hands, 寸 *thumb

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mén
gate

=

Character Notes

“门字框”

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户hù door

four

=

Character Notes

one of the four directions is 西 xī west

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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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yòu
again, *right hand raised

=

Character Notes

ancient meaning of this character was "right hand", which it still retains as a component; derivative: 乃 *fist

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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

=

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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xiǎo
small

=

Character Notes
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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

one, *ceiling/floor

=

Character Notes
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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

also, *scorpion

=

Character Notes
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匕bǐ person sitting/spoon

child

=

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

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nán
south

=

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

gang in the south: drugs, hoods, money

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wài
outside

=

夕 + 卜
evening + magic wand
Character Notes

outside in the evening can be magic

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shū
book

=

𠃌 + 𠃌 + 丨 + 丶
coat hook + coat hook + stick + drop
Character Notes

hang your book bag on the coat tree

Character Comparison

wash [v.]

=

氵 + 先xiān
water + first
Character Notes

wash with water first, then eat

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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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hēi
black

=

里 + 灬
computer + cooking fire
Character Notes

burnt computer is black

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xiān
first

=

牛 + 儿
cow + human legs
Character Notes

human leading a cow from behind, cow comes first

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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

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

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míng
bright

=

日 + 月
sun + moon
Character Notes

the two bright things in the sky

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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

five

=

Character Notes

Can you see the Arabic numeral 5 in this character? OR an upside down 4 plus some

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wǎng
net [n.]

=

Character Notes

modified version: 罒; alternative breakdown: 冈gāng+乂 ridge + sheaf/X OR 冂+乂+乂 hood + sheaves

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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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clothing

=

Character Notes

modified version: 衤 ; derivatives: 𧘇 *scarf, *𧘇 *kerchief, 长 long

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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

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wén
literature, *gentleman farmer

=

亠 + 乂
top hat + sheaf
Character Notes

top hat on a literate gentleman farmer

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

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

suǒ
place [n.]

=

户 + 斤
door + axe
Character Notes

When you do finally reach your destination, you’ll know the place because there will be an axe by the door.

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

yòng
utilize, *Little Red Riding Hood

=

冂 + (二丨)
hood + bouquet
Character Notes

Little Red utilizes her hood every day when she is picking bouquets.

Character Comparison

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

měi
every

=

𠂉 + 母mǔ
lying down + mother
Character Notes

every mother needs a nap

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

tiān
heavens

=

一 + 大
ceiling + large
Character Notes

large person grows and grows until his head reaches the ceiling and then the heavens

Character Comparison

chū
exit [v.]

=

山 + 山
mountain + mountain
Character Notes

exit through a pass between two mountains

Character Comparison

can [aux. v.]

=

丁 + 口
nail + mouth
Character Notes

“I think I can, I think I can,” Little Engine spitting nails

Character Comparison
叮dīng sting

háng
a business, *intersection

=

Character Notes

alternatively: 彳+一+丁 queue + one/ceiling + nail, queue at the hardware business to buy the one nail available

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

xià
below

=

一 + 卜
ceiling + magic wand
Character Notes

magic wand hovering below the ceiling

Character Comparison
上shàng above

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

Character Comparison

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

zài
at

=

𠂇 + 丨 + 土
by one's side + stick + soil
Character Notes

 Brigham Young, first governor of Utah, puts his stick in the soil and declares the Salt Lake Valley as “the place” for settlement.

Character Comparison

yǒu
possess

=

𠂇 + 月
by one's side + body part/moon
Character Notes

you possess the body parts by your side OR Despicable Me villain wants to possess the moon OR John Swigert Jr. was one of the astronauts on the Apollo 13 moon mission.

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

jiǔ
liquor

=

氵 + 酉
water + whiskey bottle
Character Notes

it's not water in the whiskey bottle

Character Comparison

西

west, *Wild West

=

酉 - 一
whiskey bottle - “whiskey”
Character Notes

empty whiskey bottle on the streets of the Wild West

Character Comparison

yào
want [v.]

=

西 + 女
Wild West + woman
Character Notes

poster in the Wild West Wanted: Women” OR Western women want it all: family, career, etc.

Character Comparison

zhēn
true

=

十 + 具
ten + tool
Character Notes

proving something is true scientifically with ten tools

Character Comparison
直zhí straight

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
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