100 Surnames+

cài

Cai
艹 + 祭
flowers + offer sacrifice

Ms. Cai is religious about taking flowers to offer sacrifice to her ancestors.

wén

literature, *gentleman farmer
亠 + 乂
top hat + sheaf

top hat on a literate gentleman farmer

dīng

fourth, *nail

jīn

gold
𠆢 + 王 + 丷
umbrella + king/jewel + horns

all the gold piled up on the king’s arms under an umbrella; derivative: 钅jīn *metal

táo

pottery
阝 + 匋táo
pinnacle + lidded clay pot

The pinnacle of Mr. Tao's pottery is his lidded clay pot.

qín

Qin
𡗗 + 禾
bonsai + grain

Can't you picture the first emperor of China, Qin, demanding that his imperial gardens and fields be replicated in miniature in his tomb?

host [n.]
黍 + 勹 + 丿
grain tarp + bound up + slash

Ms. Li gathers a host of grain under a tarp, tied loosely so she can add more.

xiāo

desolate
艹 + 肃
flowers + solemn

As Ms. Xiao looked at the solemn flowers around her at the funeral, she felt desolate.

gōng

Gong
龙lóng + 共gòng
dragon + together

Ms. Gong cannot be separated from her dragon; they'll be together forever.

cáo

Cao
一 + 曲 + 日
one + bent + day

Ms. Cao is having one terrible, horrible, no good, very bad bent day.

shào

Shao
召zhào + X阝
summon + city walls

Mr. Shao was summoned to the city walls for execution?

hóu

marquis
亻 + ユ + 矢
persona + iron + dart

Marquis Hou gets to know the maid as she irons

lài

rely on
束 + 负
bundle + defeated

rely on welfare: you get the government bundle, but you still feel defeated

hán

Korea
𠦝gàn + 韦
Korea + tanned hide

blankets or clothing made of animal furs to keep warm during cold Korean winters

land [n.]
阝fù + 击
pinnacle + beat

pinnacle "achievement" of colonization: beating the land into submission OR Bouquet compost is our our pinnacle contribution to reclaiming the land.

pān

Pan
氵 + 番fān
water + fertilizer

Mr. Pan adds water and fertilizer to his garden.

mèng

Mencius
子 + 皿mǐn
child + dish

He was the oldest child, so he got fed first OR golden child on a dish

yáng

poplar
木 + (㇇勿)yáng
tree + piglet

tree planted when Wilbur was born

luó

silk gauze
罒 + 夕
net + evening

silk gauze fishnet hose worn in the evening

hóng

deluge
氵 + 共gòng
water + together

After letting Israel go, Pharaoh changes his mind and pursues them to the Red Sea. Moses parts the water to let his people pass through, but the water comes together in a deluge to flood the Egyptian army behind them.

xuē

Xue
艹 + 丶 + 㠯 + 辛xīn
flowers + drop + boss + peppery

Ms. Xue has cultivated a special type of flower inspired by memories of a previous boss. She uses a peppery fertilizer.

zōu

Zou
刍 + X阝
flying witch + city walls

The flying witch Zou circles the city walls.

Wu
口 + 天
mouth + heavens

口天吴: this family hopes to taste heaven OR Trumpeter Wu: what comes from his mouth is heaven

duàn

section [n.]
W + 殳
staple gun + boomerang

repair a broken boomerang by using a staple gun to reattach the sections

zēng

Zeng

a common surname, see (曾 céng formerly, *gremlin)

cuī

Cui, *wild turkey
山 + 隹
mountain + special bird

Mr. Cui hunts wild turkeys in the mountains.

revive
艹 + 办
flowers + manage

revive the manager with the smell of flowers

yuán

Yuan
土 + 口 + 𧘇
soil + mouth + scarf

a man named Yuan, silenced with soil and mouth tied with a scarf

jiāng

Yangtze
氵 + 工
water + I-beam/work

Yangtze is a working river OR 3 Gorges Dam built of I-beams

whatwhichwhowherewhy?
亻 + 可kě
persona + can

Whatwhichwhhowherewhy? Your persona can!

plum
木mù + 子zǐ
tree + child

plums are the tree’s children, 木子李

féng

Feng
冫 + 马
ice + horse

Mr. Feng’s horse moves very slowly in the cold.

merchant
西 + 贝
Wild West + shells

Mr. Jia is a merchant in the Wild West who trades for shells

look back
厂 + 已 + 页
cliff + snakeskin + head

Like people in all ages, the Israelites rebelled. They were getting sick and dying from snake bites, so Moses got up on a cliff with his long hair waving in the wind. He held up his staff, wrapped with a snake, and said that all the people needed to do to be healed was look back toward God (represented by the staff), and they would live.

sòng

Song
宀 + 木
house + tree/wood

The Song Dynasty-style house with a tree growing it its center courtyard. OR Song dynasty architecture: wooden houses and pagodas

yáo

*ceremonial guard
戈 - 丶 + 儿
unloaded rifle + human legs

 A ceremonial guard named Yao: he could almost be a statue, his human legs are so still.

Louvre
卜bǔ + 尸
magic wand + flag/corpse

Night at the Louvre Museum where Mr. Lu uses magic to bring some corpses to life.

tāng

soup
氵 + 2yáng
water + piglet

piglets floating in the water of the soup

ōu

Europe
区 + 欠
region + lack

Europe is a region lacking growth

liào

Liao
广 + 翏liù
cave + kiddie cocktail

Mr. Liao started a caveman-themed resort, complete with kiddie cocktails served at the pool-side cave.

tián

field

alternative breakdown: 囗+土 enclose + soil; derivatives: 由 *sprout, 申 *beet, 甲 *radish

kāng

well being
广 + 肀 + 氺
cave + rake + snowflake

The solution to your well-being is to go outside your cave and rake the snow. This will keep your mind and body active and give you an escape path should you need it. (Hunter Gatherer)

alternatively: 广 + 隶, cave + bondservant Your well-being improves when you have a bondservant in the cave to rake the snow for you.

spine

alternative breakdown: 口+口 mouth + mouth

kǒng

cavity
子 + 乚
child + dental hook

On dental visits as a child, more often that not, the dental hook finds a cavity.

shí

stone
厂 + 口
cliff + mouth

crumbling cliff, stones falling

sūn

grandchild
子 + 小
child + small

small children are taken care of by their grandparents in China

wèi

Wei
委wēi + 鬼guǐ
committee + ghost

The former Ms. Wei heads the committee of ghosts that haunt her hometown.

permit [v.]
讠 + 午wǔ
microphone + noon

over the microphone: at noon you will be permitted to enter the store

chén

exhibit [v.]
阝 + 东dōng
pinnacle + east/rickshaw

The pinnacle entrance to the ceremony will be Miss Chen exhibited on a rickshaw.

耳东陈

zhū

vermilion
丶zhǔ + 未
drop + not yet

God gives them specific instructions about the trees in the garden. There is one with very tempting vermillion fruit from which they are not supposed to eat. Can you see the fruit hanging on the branch of this tree?

Na
女 + 那nà
woman + that

That woman is named 安娜 (ānnà Anna).

leaf
口 + 十
mouth + ten

“His other bad habit is leaf, ten at a time in his lower lip.” (Trumpeter Wu)

tán

Tan-2
讠 + 覃tán
microphone + Tan/Qin

We'd like to welcome to the show the biographer of Mr. Tan, the first person in the West to cultivate sunflowers. She is Ms. Tan, Tan's granddaughter.

slowly
彳 + 余yú
queue + excess

because of the excess of people in the queue, it moved very slowly

military [adj.]
一 + 止 + 弋
one + footprint + pistol

Picture this military salute: one stamp of the foot followed by a flash of the pistol.

shěn

Shen
氵 + 冘yín
water + crown prince

Shen is the crown prince’s valet, responsible for washing him, dressing him, etc.

qiáo

pretend
夭yāo + C
die young + crutches

likes to pretend to be dead, have a broken leg

tán, qín

Tan/Qin
西 + 早
Wild West + sunflower

Mr. Tan was the first person to cultivate sunflowers in the West.

jiāng

ginger
羊yáng + 女
sheep + woman

Ginger Jiang, a shepherdess, forages for wild ginger while tending her sheep.

qiū

Qiu
丘qiū + X阝
hill + city walls

The Qiu family are all buried on Qiu hill.

Ke
木 + 可kě
tree + can

Mr. Ke is a can-do "feller".

wāng

tearful
氵 + 王wáng
water + king

Mr. Wang was known as the "water king" because he is always so tearful.

fàn

model
艹 + 氵 + 㔾
flowers + water + worm

the model for a new craft: pressed flowers and worms in wet clay

shī

execute
㫃 + 也
banner + scorpion

scorpion banner for a gang that executes crimes

lóng

dragon
一 + 儿 + 丿 + 丶
“long body" + human legs + “stick” + “pearl”

In the dragon dance, humans hold up the dragon’s long body with sticks, and they dance, following a large pearl.

dèng

Deng
又 + 阝
right hand + city walls

Mr. Deng lives to the right of the city. OR Mr. Deng swears loyalty to the city.

táng

Tang
广guǎng + 肀 + 口
cave + rake + mouth

You have an experiment of sorts going on in your cave. You got so much juice from your tangerine spearing that you have dried it into a primitive Tang powder. You made yourself a mini rake to mix it and sample it regularly with your mouth. (Now, of course, this character does not refer to the fake orange drink, but the Tang dynasty of China.)

liáng

roof beam
氵 + 刅chuāng + 木
water + bloody blade + wood

Lady Liang (like Lady Macbeth) tries to wash her guilt, but when she can't come clean, she hangs herself from a roof beam.

guō

outer walls
享 + 阝
enjoy + city walls

the outer walls, furthest from the city are the most enjoyable

rèn

appoint
亻 + 壬rén
persona + knight

Your persona appoints/is appointed a knight.

yán

strict
亚yà + 厂
Asia + cliff

strict Asian parenting makes some children jump off a cliff

dài

have on
𢦏zái + 田 + 共
tank + field + together

tanks roll together over the field, battalion members all have on a helmet

jiǎng

Jiang
艹 + 将jiàng
flowers + General

Ms. Jiang was given flowers by the General.

léi

thunder
⻗ + 田
weather + field

avoid fields when you hear thunder

xiàng

orientation
丶 + 冂 + 口
drop + hood + mouth

antenna on alien with only a mouth, so he has to ask for orientation

zhuāng

hamlet
广guǎng + 土
cave + soil

If you are a hunter-gatherer in a place with no naturally occurring caves, you may wish to use a dugout, which you could then attract friends and blossom into a hamlet like Hobbitville.

zhèng

Zheng
关 + 阝
shut + city walls

It's serious: Mr. Zheng has been shut out from the city.

liú

Liu
文 + 刂
gentleman farmer + sword

a noble family that defended itself with the sword

péng

Peng
壴 + 彡
drummer boy + bird tail

This drummer boy, named Peng, adds a bird tail to his cap.

yáo

Yao-2
女 + 兆zhào
woman + omen

Ms. Yao saw the turtle shell left on her doorstep as a good omen.

congratulate
加 + 贝
add + shells

Congratulations, let me add some shells to your pile

mentor
亻 + 尃fū
persona + thumb prick

Mr. Fu has been my mentor at the lab, teaching me how to efficiently administer the thumb pricks before patients have time to think about it.

zhào

Zhao
走 + 乂
walk + sheaf/X

Mr. Zhao forbids us to walk through his property

hǎo

Hao
赤 + X阝
crimson + city walls

Ms. Hao gets arrested for painting crimson graffiti on the city walls.

prevent
木 + 土tǔ
tree + soil

Ms. Du studies how trees prevent the soil from eroding

yán

Yan
门 + 臽xiàn
gate + trap

Mr. Yan places a trap at the city gate to catch his love? his enemy?

bái

white
丶 + 日
drop + sun

a drop of sunshine: white light

wàn

ten thousand
一 + 勹
one + bound up

the Chinese bind up big numbers at 10,000

fāng

direction, *compass
丶 + 万
drop + ten thousand

ten thousand directions on a compass, moves by a drop

gāo

tall
亠 + 口 + 冂 + 口
top hat + mouth + hood + mouth

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.

wáng

king, *jewel
一 + 土
ceiling + soil

king is the connection between heaven and earth

“王字旁” when it appears as a component on the left, we'll call it "jewel" (derived from 玉yù jade), when it is on the right or bottom, we'll call it "king"

xiè

thank
讠 + 射shè
microphone + shoot

alternatively: 讠+身+寸 microphone + somebody + thumb, in a microphone: thank you to the somebody who...they deserve a thumbs up

use a microphone to shoot somebody a thank you or thumbs up

xià

summer
一 + 自 + 夂
ceiling + nose + walking legs

hire "fans" to hang by their noses to the ceiling, use their legs to move the summer air

Yu, *clothing pully
干 + h
clothesline + “hook”

Mrs. Yu, the inventor of the clothing pulleys that are installed outside people’s apartment windows

qián

coin [n.]
钅 + 戋jiān
metal + machine gun

Ammunition is expensive. A machine gun might as well be shooting metal coins.

nobody, *mirage
艹 + 日 + 大
flowers + sun + large dog

hippie mirage of sun dog wearing flowers named Morgan

easy
日 + 勿
sun/day + knot

sewing by the window, easier to tie knots with the sunlight

It is easy to waste your day getting tied in knots over things out of your control.

100 Surnames+

Quiz

whatwhichwhowherewhy?

military [adj.]

cuī

Cui, *wild turkey

tán, qín

Tan/Qin

wàn

ten thousand

yǐn

overseer, *mop

zhōu

circumference, *lap

chéng

journey [n.]

chén

exhibit [v.]

excess [adj.]

duàn

section [n.]

Show Answers