鬼 (gwai2)

In celebration of Halloween (鬼節/gwai2 zit3), this week’s character is 鬼 (gwai2), which means “ghost”. The origins of this character are pretty simple – it’s a pictogram of a monster! The 田 (tin4/field) character is used to indicate a deformed head (with the dot on …

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天 (tin1)

This week’s character is 天 (tin1) which means “sky” or “heaven” (the translation I like the most is “celestial”). The origins of this character is quite interesting. Since it’s very difficult to depict the sky in a glyph, this character developed from the 大 (daai6/big) …

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女 (neoi5)

This week’s character is 女 (neoi5) which means “female” in general terms, but can be used to mean “woman”, “girl” or “daughter” depending on context. The correct formal pronunciation is “neoi5” but in day to day conversation, you’ll probably hear people say “leoi5” due to …

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先 (sin1)

This week’s character is 先 (sin1) which means “first”. The origins of the 先 (sin1) character is actually quite involved! The top part comes from 㞢, an ancient form of 之 (zi1). 之 (zi1) has many meanings, but one of them is “to go”, which …

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光 (gwong1)

This week’s character is 光 (gwong1) which means “light”. I love the origins of this character, which has two components: the top component is 火 (fo2) for “fire”, and the bottom component is 儿 (jan4), an old way of writing 人 (jan4) which means “person”. …

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兔 (tou3)

In celebration of the Midautumn Festival, this week’s character is 兔 (tou3), which means “rabbit” or “hare” in Chinese. The origin of the 兔 (tou3) character is pretty straight forward…it comes from a pictogram of a rabbit! You can see how the character evolved over …

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包 (baau1)

This week’s character is 包 (baau1) which means “wrap” or “bundle”. You probably recognize it as the word for bread or bun and are used to spelling it “bao” (which is the Mandarin pinyin for this character). According to Uncle Hanzi, this character has two …

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