100 Surnames+

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Ke

=

木 + 可kě
tree + can
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

tán, qín
Tan/Qin

=

西 + 早
Wild West + sunflower
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

shào
Shao

=

召zhào + X阝
summon + city walls
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

gōng
Gong

=

龙lóng + 共gòng
dragon + together
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

hǎo
Hao

=

赤 + X阝
crimson + city walls
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

táo
pottery

=

阝 + 匋táo
pinnacle + lidded clay pot
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

host [n.]

=

黍 + 勹 + 丿
grain tarp + bound up + slash
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

yán
Yan

=

门 + 臽xiàn
gate + trap
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

xuē
Xue

=

艹 + 丶 + 㠯 + 辛xīn
flowers + drop + boss + peppery
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

qiū
Qiu

=

丘qiū + X阝
hill + city walls
Character Notes

The Qiu family are all buried on Qiu hill.

Character Comparison

qín
Qin

=

𡗗 + 禾
bonsai + grain
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

zōu
Zou

=

刍 + X阝
flying witch + city walls
Character Notes

The flying witch Zou circles the city walls.

Character Comparison

mentor

=

亻 + 尃fū
persona + thumb prick
Character Notes

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.

Character Comparison

liào
Liao

=

广 + 翏liù
cave + kiddie cocktail
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

wāng
tearful

=

氵 + 王wáng
water + king
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

tán
Tan-2

=

讠 + 覃tán
microphone + Tan/Qin
Character Notes

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.

Character Comparison

cuī
Cui, *wild turkey

=

山 + 隹
mountain + special bird
Character Notes

Mr. Cui hunts wild turkeys in the mountains.

Character Comparison

shěn
Shen

=

氵 + 冘yín
water + crown prince
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

Louvre

=

卜bǔ + 尸
magic wand + flag/corpse
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

wèi
Wei

=

委wēi + 鬼guǐ
committee + ghost
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

jiǎng
Jiang

=

艹 + 将jiàng
flowers + General
Character Notes

Ms. Jiang was given flowers by the General.

Character Comparison

cài
Cai

=

艹 + 祭
flowers + offer sacrifice
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

pān
Pan

=

氵 + 番fān
water + fertilizer
Character Notes

Mr. Pan adds water and fertilizer to his garden.

Character Comparison

xiāo
desolate

=

艹 + 肃
flowers + solemn
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

péng
Peng

=

壴 + 彡
drummer boy + bird tail
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

Na

=

女 + 那nà
woman + that
Character Notes

That woman is named 安娜 (ānnà Anna).

Character Comparison

yáo
Yao-2

=

女 + 兆zhào
woman + omen
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

jiāng
ginger

=

羊yáng + 女
sheep + woman
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

hóng
deluge

=

氵 + 共gòng
water + together
Character Notes

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.

Character Comparison

mèng
Mencius

=

子 + 皿mǐn
child + dish
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

lài
rely on

=

束 + 负
bundle + defeated
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

jīn
gold

=

𠆢 + 王 + 丷
umbrella + king/jewel + horns
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

máo
fur

=

Character Notes
Character Comparison
手shǒu hand/high five

dīng
fourth, *nail

=

Character Notes

sideways digital 4

Character Comparison
钉dīng nail

tián
field

=

Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

shí
stone

=

厂 + 口
cliff + mouth
Character Notes

crumbling cliff, stones falling

Character Comparison

tāng
soup

=

氵 + (㇇勿)yáng
water + piglet
Character Notes

piglets floating in the water of the soup

Character Comparison

wáng
king, *jewel

=

一 + 土
ceiling + soil
Character Notes

king is the connection between heaven and earth; as a component: “王字旁” jewel when on the left (derived from 玉yù jade), king when on the right or bottom

Character Comparison
玉yù jade

goatee

=

古gǔ + 月
ancient + moon
Character Notes

ancient moon with a goatee

Character Comparison

wén
literature, *gentleman farmer

=

亠 + 乂
top hat + sheaf
Character Notes

top hat on a literate gentleman farmer

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

fāng
direction, *compass

=

丶 + 万
drop + ten thousand
Character Notes

ten thousand directions on a compass, moves by a drop

Character Comparison

wàn
ten thousand

=

一 + 勹
one + bound up
Character Notes

the Chinese bind up big numbers at 10,000

Character Comparison

jiāng
Yangtze

=

氵 + 工
water + I-beam/work
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

bái
white

=

丶 + 日
drop + sun
Character Notes

a drop of sunshine: white light

Character Comparison

qiáo
pretend

=

夭yāo + *丌
die young + crutches
Character Notes

likes to pretend to be dead, have a broken leg

Character Comparison

cháng
often

=

(龸口)shàng + 巾
outhouse + towel
Character Notes

often have to bring your own towel to the outhouse

Character Comparison

shī
execute

=

㫃 + 也
banner + scorpion
Character Notes

scorpion banner for a gang that executes crimes

Character Comparison

shǐ
history

=

口 + 乂
mouth + sheaf
Character Notes

history of food OR History, in the time of Joseph, was passed down by mouth, so stories often got better and more layered with meaning over time.

Character Comparison

look back

=

厂 + 已 + 页
cliff + snakeskin + head
Character Notes

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.

Character Comparison

zhū
vermilion

=

丶zhǔ + 未
drop + not yet
Character Notes

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?

Character Comparison

spine

=

Character Notes

alternative breakdown: 口+口 mouth + mouth

Character Comparison

zhōng
bell

=

钅 + 中zhōng
metal + middle
Character Notes

strike the bell in the middle to get the best sound

Character Comparison

yǐn
overseer, *mop

=

彐 + 丿
broom + slash
Character Notes

Mr. Yin is overseer of the janitors.

Character Comparison

lóng
dragon

=

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

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

Character Comparison

fàn
model

=

艹 + 氵 + 㔾
flowers + water + worm
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

prevent

=

木 + 土tǔ
tree + soil
Character Notes

Ms. Du studies how trees prevent the soil from eroding

Character Comparison

lín
woods

=

木 + 木
tree + tree
Character Notes

trees together are woods

Character Comparison

nobody, *mirage

=

艹 + 日 + 大
flowers + sun + large dog
Character Notes

hippie mirage of sun dog wearing flowers named Morgan

Character Comparison

yáo
*ceremonial guard

=

戈 - 丶 + 儿
unloaded rifle + human legs
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

duàn
section [n.]

=

(𠂆三) + 殳
staple gun + boomerang
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

dài
have on

=

𢦏zái + 田 + 共
tank + field + together
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

qián
coin [n.]

=

钅 + 戋jiān
metal + machine gun
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

military [adj.]

=

一 + 止 + 弋
one + footprint + pistol
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

kāng
well being

=

广 + 肀 + 氺
cave + rake + snowflake
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

zhuāng
hamlet

=

广guǎng + 土
cave + soil
Character Notes

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.

Character Comparison

táng
Tang

=

广guǎng + 肀 + 口
cave + rake + mouth
Character Notes

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.)

Character Comparison

zhāng
stretch [v.]

=

弓 + 长cháng
bow + long
Character Notes

Once you are comfortable drawing a bow, stretch its string longer.

Character Comparison

xīn
peppery

=

立 + 十
stand up + ten/needle
Character Notes

taste is so peppery, your hair stands up like needles

Character Comparison

huáng
yellow

=

艹 + (一由八)
flowers + chia pet
Character Notes

chia pet flowers are yellow

Character Comparison

xiè
thank

=

讠 + 射shè
microphone + shoot
Character Notes

use microphone to shoot somebody a thank you or thumbs up OR alternatively: 讠+身+寸 microphone + somebody + thumb

Character Comparison

permit [v.]

=

讠 + 午wǔ
microphone + noon
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

whatwhichwhowherewhy?

=

亻 + 可kě
persona + can
Character Notes

Whatwhichwhhowherewhy? Your persona can!

Character Comparison

rèn
appoint

=

亻 + 壬rén
persona + knight
Character Notes

Your persona appoints/is appointed a knight.

Character Comparison

easy

=

日 + 勿
sun/day + knot
Character Notes

sewing by the window, easier to tie knots with the sunlight OR It is easy to waste your day getting tied in knots over things out of your control.

Character Comparison

hóu
marquis

=

亻 + ユ + 矢
persona + iron + dart
Character Notes

Marquis Hou gets to know the maid as she irons

Character Comparison

zhōu
circumference, *lap

=

冂 + 土 + 口
hood + soil + mouth
Character Notes

as in “a lap around the track” (think of a week, also, as a lap), at the end of the lap you throw down your hoodie 冂 on the soil 土 and throw up 口, the same if you’ve had a hard week

Character Comparison

chéng
journey [n.]

=

禾 + 呈chéng
grain + submit
Character Notes

migrant workers submit to a journey to harvest more grain

Character Comparison

sòng
Song

=

宀 + 木
house + tree
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

Yu, *clothing pully

=

干 + h
clothesline + “hook”
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

kǒng
cavity

=

子 + 乚
child + dental hook
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

yán
strict

=

亚yà + 厂
Asia + cliff
Character Notes

strict Asian parenting makes some children jump off a cliff

Character Comparison

plum

=

木mù + 子zǐ
tree + child
Character Notes

plums are the tree’s children, 木子李

Character Comparison

sūn
grandchild

=

子 + 小
child + small
Character Notes

small children are taken care of by their grandparents in China

Character Comparison

revive

=

艹 + 办
flowers + manage
Character Notes

revive the manager with the smell of flowers

Character Comparison

wéi
tanned hide

=

Character Notes
Character Comparison

horse

=

Character Notes
Character Comparison

congratulate

=

加 + 贝
add + shells
Character Notes

Congratulations, let me add some shells to your pile

Character Comparison

hán
Korea

=

𠦝gàn + 韦
Korea + tanned hide
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

luó
silk gauze

=

罒 + 夕
net + evening
Character Notes

silk gauze fishnet hose worn in the evening

Character Comparison

zēng
Zeng

=

Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

zhào
Zhao

=

走 + 乂
walk + sheaf/X
Character Notes

Mr. Zhao forbids us to walk through his property

Character Comparison

yuán
Yuan

=

土 + 口 + 𧘇
soil + mouth + scarf
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

liú
Liu

=

文 + 刂
gentleman farmer + sword
Character Notes

a noble family that defended itself with the sword

Character Comparison

ōu
Europe

=

区 + 欠
region + lack
Character Notes

Europe is a region lacking growth

Character Comparison

dǒng
director

=

艹 + 重zhòng
flowers + heavy
Character Notes

a funeral director arranges flowers for heavy hearts

Character Comparison

liáng
roof beam

=

氵 + 刅chuāng + 木
water + bloody blade + wood
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison

yáng
poplar

=

木 + (㇇勿)yáng
tree + piglet
Character Notes

tree planted when Wilbur was born

Character Comparison

excess [adj.]

=

𠆢 + 于yú + 丶 + 丶
umbrella + clothing pully + drops
Character Notes

umbrella on a clothing pulley to get off extra drops of water OR alternatively: 𠆢 + 一 + 朩 umbrella + "plate" + pole, tight rope walker balancing excess things on his head like a plate and umbrella

Character Comparison

xiàng
orientation

=

丶 + 冂 + 口
drop + hood + mouth
Character Notes

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

Character Comparison
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