Common Chinese characters

Here are all the characters that we describe in detail - more will be added soon. The remainder can be found in our online dictionary. They are ordered by the normal pinyin pronunciation in Mandarin.

A

á (what?) ǎi (low) ài (love) ān (peace) àn (bank) ǎo (jacket) ào (bay)

B

bā (eight) bā (to long for) bā (supposition or suggestion) bǎ (to hold) bà (father) bái (bright) bǎi (hundred) bǎn (board) bǎn (a register) bàn (half) bàn (to act) bāo (to cover) bǎo (jewel) bǎo (to eat till full) bào (to announce) bào (to hold) bēi (cup) běi (north) bèi (shell) běn (root) bǐ (pen) bié (to leave) bīng (ice) bīng (ice) bǐng (third in order) bǐng (both) bǔ (divination) bù (no; not) bù (a step)

C

cǎi (color) cài (vegetable) cǎo (grass) cǎo (grass) céng (once) chá (tea) chāng (prosperous) cháng (long) cháng (always) chǎng (cliff) chàng (to sing) chàng (to initiate) chē (vehicle) chéng (to succeed) chéng (city walls) chī (to eat) 齿 chǐ (tooth) chì (step) chóng (duplicate) chóng (insect) chóu (silk) chǒu (shameful) chū (go out) chū (at first) chuān (river) chuán (boat) chūn (spring) chuò (walking) cí (porcelain) cǐ (this) cōng (quick at hearing) cóng (from) cùn (unit of length)

D

dà (big) dāi (bad) dài (replace) dài (to respect) dān (to undertake) dǎn (the gall) dàn (birth) dàn (dawn) dàn (but) dāng (to be) dāo (knife) dǎo (fall) dǎo (island) dào (arrive) dào (road) de (of) dé (get) dé (virtue) děng (wait) dì (supreme ruler) dì (earth) dì (younger brother) dì (ordinal (1st,2nd)) diǎn (spot) diàn (inn) dīng (nail) dìng (to set) dìng (how) dōng (east) dōng (winter) dǒng (to understand) dòng (to use) dōu (all) dǒu (unit of weight) duì (right) duì (to cash) dùn (shield) duō (many)
Wed 17th May

Belt and Road Initiative

Spending a trillion dollars (yes $1,000 billion) is a serious investment. China’s big idea is to open up the country for much wider trade. The primary focus is to develop stronger links with Central Asian countries on the route of the old Silk Road. However the initiative seems all embracing as even New Zealand, hardly on the Silk Road is keen to be involved. The idea is for both an overland ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ (China to Europe) and a ‘21st century Maritime Road’ (China through the Indian Ocean to Africa and then north to Egypt). This has been shortened to ‘One belt one road’ or ‘Belt and Road’ or just ‘OBOR’ for short.

It is hard to work out exactly what the initiative is all about, there seem to be several factors and motives. One is that President Trump has continued to threaten China with extra tariffs to protect U.S. jobs from cheap Chinese imports. If China can open up new markets for her exports she will not be as badly hit by any protectionist measures. The U.S. continues to have a huge balance of payments deficit with China, in March 2017 the U.S. exported $9.6bn but imported $34.2bn. China’s heavy dependence on sales into the U.S. is a problem that needed to be fixed. In 2015 China’s main trade partners were: United States $457bn, Hong Kong $273bn, Japan $152bn, Germany $97.4bn and South Korea $90.1bn. Shifting trade to new countries will strengthen and stabilize China’s economy.

Many analysts also point to the problems of over-capacity in China. Just looking at total imports and exports is too crude a measure, the real problem is that China’s growth rate has slowed and the excess capacity in building related industries (steel, cement, construction) need new markets. If China can kick-start economic development elsewhere in the world she solves two problems at once - over-capacity at home and opening up new markets abroad. The China Communications Construction Group has already agreed deals worth up $40 billion in contracts with ‘Belt and Road’ countries. Sinking so much money in loans that may never be repaid is quite a risk. Venezuela now owes China $65bn and is not in a position to repay. Analysts consider such a huge project will be impossible to manage effectively and huge amounts are likely to be misappropriated.

The initiative comes at a particularly opportune time for the U.K.. Always keen on free trade and instinctively anti-protectionist the U.K. has more to gain than most other countries. With difficult talks ahead on exit of the E.U. trading block the opening up of possible deals with China all over the world is very appealing. U.K. politicians have been very keen to promote the initiative and use its undoubted trading expertise to jointly open up new markets.

The initial proposals centered on the countries of central Asia - along the route of the old Silk Road out of China. The initiative is therefore a way of re-invigorating trading links that were active for a thousand years before trade moved to China’s southern ports. The vast bulk of Chinese development had been along the south and eastern coasts, the poorest inland provinces have been left well behind. Of particular importance is the troubled province of Xinjiang. Positioned on the fringes of China the province is more Central Asian than Chinese with a Muslim majority. With frequent terrorist attacks by separatists in the province, China struggles to keep tight control. Recently China has banned Muslim parents from giving their children Muslim names and is embarking on a system of DNA profiling of every citizen. With the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative deals with neighboring Central Asian states (Takjikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan) the increased economic activity should lessen instability in the region.

The key point is that China is changing from an inward to an outward-looking nation, no longer putting internal development as the top priority. With increased economic involvement comes political power too, and some hawkish observers see this as the first stage in the building of a new Chinese Empire.


Read full story...

E

è (evil) ér (child) ér (legs) ér (as well as) ěr (ear) ěr (thus) èr (two)

F

fā (to send out) fǎ (law) fà (hair) fǎn (contrary) fàn (food) fāng (square) fáng (house) fáng (to protect) 访 fǎng (to visit) fǎng (fine woven silk fabric) 仿 fǎng (to imitate) fàng (let go) fēi (fly) fēi (coffee) fēi (to not be) fěi (bandit) fēn (divide) fēn (numerous) fèn (portion) fēng (wind) fēng (to confer) fèng (phoenix) fū (husband) fú (blessing) fú (good fortune) fú (not) fù (woman) fù (father) fù (rich) fù ('left ear') fù (place)

G

gān (pleasant) gān (liver) gān (pole) gǎn (to overtake) gàn (do) gāng (ridge) gāng (hard) gāng (guiding principle) gǎng (harbor) gǎng (harbor) gāo (tall) gǎo (to do) 稿 gǎo (manuscript) gào (to tell) gē (spear) gē (elder brother) gē (song) gé (animal hide) gè ('of') gè (each) gěi (give) gēn (heel) gèn (stubborn) gèng (more) gōng (work) gōng (palace) gōng (public) gōng (accomplishment) gōng (bow) gōng (to provide) gǒng (two hands) gòng (common) gǒu (dog) gòu (to reach) gū (paternal aunt) gū (estimate) gǔ (ancient) gǔ (valley) gù (happening) gù (hard) guài (decisive) guān (shut) guān (official) guǎn (building) guāng (light) 广 guǎng (vast) guī (to return) guī (tortoise) guī (jade tablet) guǐ (ghost) guì (precious) gǔn (line) guō (pot) guó (country) guò (past)

H

hāi (sound of sighing) hái (still) hái (child) hǎi (sea) hài (12th earthly branch) hán (cold) hàn (chinese) hàn (perspiration) hǎo (good) hào (name) hē (drink) hé (river) hé (together) hé (grain) hé (what) hé (to close) hé (why) hēi (black) hěn (very) hēng (prosperous) hóng (red) hóng (flood) hòu (behind) hòu (wait) hū (at) hú (lake) hǔ (tiger) hù (door) hù (door) huā (flower) huá (splendid) huà (speech) huà (to make into) huà (to draw) huān (merry) huáng (emperor) huáng (yellow) huī (emblem) huí (to circle) huì (can) huǒ (fire) huǒ (fire (as radical)) huò (maybe)

J

jī (starve) jī (fowl) jī (machine) jí (lucky) jí (and) jǐ (how many) jǐ (self) jì (border) jì (already) jì (season) jì (order) jì (to record) jì (skill) jiā (house) jiǎ (first in list) jiān (narrow) jiān (difficult) jiǎn (scissors) jiàn (healthy) jiàn (see) jiàn (to establish) jiàn (gap) jiàn (arrow) jiāng (river) jiāng (border) jiāo (to teach) jiāo (to hand over) jiāo (suburbs) jiāo (to glue) jiǎo (horn) jiǎo (dumpling) jiào (called) jiào (religion) jiào (comparatively) jiē (street) jié (joint) jié (seal (of document)) jié (knot) jiě (elder sister) jīn (ferry crossing) jīn (metal) jīn (modern) jīn (axe) jīn (scarf) jīn (metal) jìn (near) jìn (to advance) jīng (capital) jīng (refined) jīng (Classic) jīng (to start) jīng (eye) jǐng (well) jǐng (bright) jiōng (covering box) jiǔ (nine) jiǔ (wine) jiǔ (long time) jiù (fault) jiù (at once) jiù (old) jú (tangerine) jù (sentence) jūn (monarch)

K

kā (coffee) kāi (begin) kān (to print) kǎn (open box) kàn (look) kě (can) kè (to be able to) kè (customer) kǒng (great) kǒu (mouth) kǔ (bitter) kuài (chopsticks) kuài (piece)

L

lái (arrive) lán (blue) láo (to toil) lǎo (venerable) lǎo (old) le ('completed') lè (music) léi (thunder) lèi (tired) lí (Fire) lǐ (inside) lǐ (ceremony) lǐ (texture) lǐ (plum) lì (strength) lì (stand) lì (sharp) lì (strict) lì (beautiful) lì (to experience) lián (to pity) liáng (good) liǎng (pair) liàng (collective word for vehicles) liáo (distant) lín (forest) lín (neighbor) líng (zero) líng (mound) líng (age) lǐng (neck) lìng (other) lìng (to order) liù (six) lóng (dragon) lóu (multi-story building) 绿 lù (green) lù (road)

M

mā (mother) mǎ (horse) mǎ (?) mǎi (buy) mài (sell) mǎn (to fill) máng (busy) māo (cat) máo (hair) mào (to emit) mào (hat) me (what) méi (have not) měi (beautiful) mèi (younger sister) mén (entrance) mén (s) měng (Mongol) mí (to bewilder) mí (riddle) mǐ (rice) mì (cover) mián (roof) miǎn (to escape) miè (to extinguish) mín (people) mǐn (dish) míng (bright) míng (name) mìng (life) mò (do not) mǔ (mother) mǔ (area) mù (wood) mù (eye)

N

nà (that) nǎi (milk) nǎi (to be) nán (south) nán (male) nán (difficult) ne (and you?) nèi (inner) néng (to be able to) nǐ (you) nián (year) 廿 niàn (twenty) niàn (to read) niǎo (bird) nín (you (polite)) nìng (better) niú (ox) nǚ (woman) nǚ (female)

P

pá (to crawl) pà (to be afraid) pàn (to hope for) pào (bubble) pào (cannon) pén (basin) péng (friend) pí (hops) pǐ (bolt of cloth) piàn (thin piece) piào (ticket) pín (poor) píng (flat) píng (bottle) pú (grape) pǔ (general) pù (store)
Kites

Kites

Culture

Along with many other things the Chinese lay claim to the invention of the kite. Kite flying remains very popular in China and many can be seen flying in public parks. In the past they have been used for military purposes but fishing is probably the most ancient use.

Q

qī (seven) qī (phase) qí (board game) qí (his) qí (strange) qǐ (to rise) qì (gas) qì (steam) qiān (thousand) qián (money) qián (front) qiǎn (shallow) qiàn (yawn) qiě (and) qīn (parent) qín (Qin) qīng (green) qīng (clear) qíng (affection) qíng (clear sky) qǐng (please) qìng (celebrate) qiú (autumn) qǔ (to take) qù (go) quán (all) quán (spring) quǎn (dog) quǎn (dog) qún (group)

R

r (r) rén (person) rén (humane) rì (sun) róng (to hold) ròu (meat) ròu (meat) rú (as) rù (to enter) rùn (leap)

S

sān (three) sè (colour) shān (mountain) shān (bristle) shǎng (to hand down) shàng (up) shàng (still) sháo (spoon) shǎo (less) shé (tongue) shè (to shoot) shè (residence) shéi (who) shēn (body) shēn (to extend) shén (god) shén (what) shēng (produce) shèng (holy) shī (lion) shī (to lose) shī (corpse) shí (ten) shí (time) shí (rock) shí (real) shí (food) shí (eat) shǐ (history) shǐ (to begin) shǐ (arrow) shǐ (pig) shì (is) shì (matter) shì (market) shì (life) shì (spirit) shì (bachelor) shì (clan name) shì (to show) shǒu (hand) shǒu (hand) shǒu (head) shòu (to receive) shū (book) shū (spear) shǔ (heat) shǔ (office) shù (tree) shuāng (pair) shuǐ (water) shuǐ (water) shuì (taxes) shùn (to obey) shuō (to speak) sī (silk) sī (private) sī (silk) sī (to think) sǐ (die) sì (four) sì (snake) sì (to run) song (Song) sū (revive) sù (respectful) sù (to complain) suàn (calculate) suī (although) suī (rap) suí (Sui) suì (year) sūn (grandson) suǒ (actually)

T

tā (he) tā (she) tā (it) tái (typhoon) tài (too) táng (Tang) táng (sugar) tǎng (to recline) tàng (collective for trips) táo (grapes) tiān (sky) tián (field) tiē (to stick) tīng (to listen) tōng (open) tóng (same) tóng (boy servant) tóu (head) tóu (head) tǔ (earth) tù (rabbit)

W

wǎ (tile) wài (outside) wān (bowl) wán (toy) wǎn (evening) wàn (ten thousand) wāng (lame) wáng (to die) wǎng (monarch) wǎng (net) wéi (proud) wéi (to preserve) wèi (do) wèi (not yet) wèi (position) wén (script) wén (to hear) wèn (ask) wǒ (I (me)) wò (lie) wū (crow) wū (house) wú (not to have) wǔ (five) wǔ (noon) wǔ (martial) wù (do not) wù (fifth (ordinal))

shēng produce; bear

Origin

A simplified picture of a plant growing out of the ground
Full information for

X

西 xī (west) xī (sunset) xí (to practice) xǐ (box; bag) xǐ (to be fond of) xì (system) xià (summer) xià (down) xiān (fresh) xiān (first) xián (to stay idle) xiǎn (danger) xiàn (to appear) xiāng (fragrant) xiāng (each other) xiāng (countryside) xiǎng (to think) xiàng (elephant) xiǎo (small) xiào (smile) xiào (filial piety or obedience) xiào (school) xiào (effect) xiē (some) xiě (write) xiè (thanks) xīn (new) xīn (heart) xīn (hard) xīn (heart) xīng (star) xīng (prosper) xíng (permitted) xìng (surname) xìng (fortunate) xiōng (elder brother) xù (beginnings) xué (study) xué (cave) xué (narrow) xuě (snow)

Y

yán (face) yán (words) yán (words) yāng (center) yáng (yang) yáng (sheep) yāo (youngest) yǎo (to bite) yào (want) yě (also) yè (night) yè (page) yī (one) yī (doctor) yī (clothes) yí (proper) yǐ (hidden) yǐ (to use) yǐ (chair) yǐ (already) yì (easy) 亿 yì (100,000,000) yì (justice) yì (also) yì (city) yì (catch) yì (skill) yì (to recollect) yì (idea) yì (different) yīn (yin) yīn (sound) yǐn (to drink) yīng (flower) yíng (welcome) yǒng (perpetual) yòng (to use) yóu (outstanding) yǒu (friend) yǒu (have) yǒu (wine vessel) yòu (right) yòu (also) yú (fish) yú (fishing) yú (in) yǔ (rain) yǔ (language) yǔ (to give) yù (jade) yuán (primary) yuán (former) yuán (park) yuǎn (far) yuàn (courtyard) yuàn (to hope) yuē (to speak) yuè (moon) yún (cloud) yùn (to move)

Z

zāi (disaster) zài (again) zài (exist) zài (to carry) zàng (treasury) zǎo (early) zé (pool) zhà (at first) zhà (to explode) zhān (to observe) zhān (to glue) zhàn (station) zhàn (to fight) zhāng ('of') zhǎng (palm of the hand) zhāo (dynasty) zhǎo (to try to find) zhě (in process of) zhè (this) zhēn (chaste) zhēn (really) zhèn (Wood) zhēng (journey) zhèng (correct) zhī (prop up) zhī (one) zhī (him) zhī (to know) zhī (to support) zhī (branch) zhí (straight) zhí (value) zhí (to plant) zhǐ (paper) zhǐ (to stop) zhì (aspiration) zhì (to arrive) zhì (to rule) zhì (to send) zhì (to install) zhōng (centre) zhōng (clock) zhǒng (kind of) zhòng (many) zhòng (heavy) zhōu (region) zhōu (prefecture) zhōu (surname Zhou) zhōu (boat) zhū (hog) zhú (bamboo) zhú (bamboo) zhǔ (dot) zhǔ (owner) zhǔ (to cook) zhù (to live) zhù (to halt) zhuǎ (claw) zhuǎ (claw) zhuàn (biography) zhuī (short-tailed bird) zhuō (table) zǐ (child) zì (from) zì (letter) zǒu (walk) zū (to hire) zú (clan) zú (foot) zǔ (grandfather) zǔ (to form) zǔ (to hinder) zuān (to drill) zuì (most) zuó (previous) zuǒ (left) zuò (seat) zuò (sit) zuò (to do)
Share this page Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest

Chinasage is a new web resource, started in 2012, pages will be added, enhanced and re-formatted regularly. Please check back soon for updated information about China.

We would be most grateful if you have any comments or suggestions to help improve this page. Our contact page is also available if you have a longer comment. Just type in a quick remark here:

 

Citation information: Chinasage, 'Common Chinese Character Dictionary', last updated 2 Dec 2016, Web, http://www.chinasage.info/chars/charindex.htm.

Copyright © Chinasage 2012 to 2017