Sometimes when you are trying to find the meaning of a Chinese character it is not possible to use the traditional method. Instead of listing characters by radical this index, lists characters by component part. In many cases the radical is the component to look up but sometimes the radical is hard to recognize or locate within the character . If a character has multiple identifiable components it is listed under each component part. Take for example the character 狗 'dog' it has the 'dog' radical 犭 'quan' and so it is listed under this component, but it also has elements 'mouth' 口 and 'wrap' 勹 so it is also listed under these. To a learner the 'mouth' is the clearest component to look up by rather than the official radical. Some characters are considered 'atomic' - they can not be split into simpler parts and if these do not occur as a component of some other character they do not appear in this list, an example is 五 '5'.
The components are listed in order of their pinyin pronunciation, this makes it easy to use, particularly when you are unsure of the number of strokes used to make the component part. Some 'components' are not recognizable from their original form and in other cases we have listed similarly looking parts together as the aim of this page is not a study of the origin of characters but to help people learning the Chinese characters.
If the component is a radical then this is indicated by an 'R' followed by the radical index number as used in our character dictionary by radical. NOTE: We are actively expanding and editing this index, please let us know of any errors you have spotted.八 bā (eight) R12 : 分 fēn (divide) 公 gōng (public) 其 qí (his) 四 sì (four) 六 liù (six) 共 gòng (common) 兴 xīng (prosper) 穴 xué (cave) 戴 dài (to respect)
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