Friday, March 29, 2019

Amazing Chinese Characters (231) Before or In advance - 先

The shell bone script of character Before is

The top

is character Foot (Post 93)

The middle is a horizontal line, meaning the ground.

The bottom

is a human or person.

A person follows a foot, which is somebody's foot, who is in front of him or before him.

The bronze script of the character is

The top is character Foot, the bottom is a person.

The small seal script for the character is
The top is foot, the bottom is human, some similarity to the shell bone script.

The clerical script is
Changed a lot, not much similarity but still can see the loose connection with the small seal script.

The song typeface of the character is
Same as the clerical script.

Right now, the character means Before, In front of, Priority, Earlier, Ancestor, In advance, etc. Something in advance or before either in physical position, or time, or priority, normally by combining with another character to form word to distinguish the subtle difference, for example: 先前,先到,先辈,优先,etc., which is belong the content of this blog.

The Pinyin for the character is Xian1.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Amazing Chinese Characters (230) Bathe - 浴

The shell bone script for character Bathe is



The bottom is a bathtub, the top is a person with water drops around him in three different pastures, which is person who is taking a bath.



The big shell script of for character bathe is
The left is Water, the right is Valley, taking bath in a river in valley. The character changed completely. No bathtub anymore, no person, but water and valley. The shell bone script reflects the life of rich people who had the bathtub, the big seal script shows the life of ordinary people who didn't have bathtub, so go to river to bathe.


The small seal script for the character is

The left is Water, the right is Valley.

The clerical script for the character is

Its Pinyin is Yu4.

Now, the traditional bathe 浴 is not popular especially in cities. We learnt 沐 in post 229, which means Shower. Chinese now use 沐浴 (Shower-Bathe) together more often than just use single 沐 or single 浴. 沐浴 is a very common two-character word, which means bath with washing both hair and body no matter it is a shower or bathe.




Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Amazing Chinese Characters (229) Shower - 沐

The shell bone script for Shower is


A tree with water drops around, which means that the tree is take a bath when it is in rain.


The big seal script for Shower is

left is Water, right is Wood (tree).

The small seal script is

The clerical script is

The tree in rain is like the hair in water, so ancient Chinese took it as human taking "Shower".

The character gradually changed to taking a shower.



It is a person who is taking a shower under water. The original meaning is still kept, but less used.

People use 沐 with 浴 (Post 230) together to form 沐浴 combination to present "Take a bathe", or "Take shower".

Its Pinyin is Mu4.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Amazing Chinese Characters (228) Sweet - 甘,甜

The shell bone script for character Sweet is


a short line in a mouth. The short line is an indictor or pointer to tell people "I mean here". In this character, here is something sweet in mouth. This kind characters are called Indicative characters.


Its small seal script is


similar to its shell bone script.

Its clerical script is

which the character Mouth outside is changed significantly, but the inside line is still the pointer of sweet.

Its song typeface is


Its pinyin is Gan1.

Even though 甘 is still used in text, but long time ago, people started to use another character for Sweet. Let see it.

The big seal script of another character of Sweet


Big seal script was a little bit later after the shell bone script. The left of above Tongue (Post 157), the right is 甘(Sweet). The tongue emphasizes which organ to feel the sweet.

The small seal script for the above character


The left is 甘,right is tongue.

The clerical script of the character is

the left is tongue, and the right is 甘。

Its song typeface is

Its Pinyin is Tian2. 

People use 甜 for Sweet in most of times right now, 99%+ in oral Chinese and 90%+ in writing. 甘 is still used, especially in proverbs. Some times, put the two together 甘甜 is very common way to mean Sweet.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Amazing Chinese Characters (227) Fragrant - 香

The big seal script for character Fragrant is


the top
Rice crop, plus some dots - rice grains. The bottom is character Sun. The smell of the rice grains under the Sun is fragrant.

The small seal script of the character

which is similar to the big seal script

The clerical script
the top is Rice crop

the bottom is Sun.

The song typeface is