allograph (different shape but same meaning)
connotation as a character part
abbreviated, abbreviation
contracted, contraction
extended meaning
kanji, ideograph, character
literal translation from the Shuowen Jiezi
modified, modification
mijn hanzi, modification
opposite meaning or situation
when used as a character part
explanation according to Richard Sears (
one of the 214 radicals in the traditional character classification system
situation chosen for evoking this meaning
suffix for counting units of objects, etc.
Unclassified by Joseph De Roo.



Primitives are character components which can be used to decompose a character and fabricate a story around it to remember it. Most of the time components where joined because of their pronunciation to certain signific parts. This means that originally a character had a signific part, giving meaning to it, and a phonetic part, giving a phonetic clue to the character. In case we use the original meaning we always put the marker RS. in front which means that the meaning comes from the excellent site from Richard Sears about Chinese Etymology. More information can be found here.

Knowing these primitives well will aid in remembering them. Primitives are always colored light green on this site.

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RSgo, rad. 54 modf.
RSbow, curved, arched, rad. 57 ;
equal to, side by side, also, what is more, bothstand side by side , both men are equal ; ; ; ; al. 业: ; :
RS𡴀abundant, lush, bountiful, plenty, branchbranch 𡴀: abundant, lush vegetation
RS𦤳reach, arrive, extremely, very, climax
  • arrow stuck in the ground: : it has reached it's climax
  • one individual reached his destination
; ;
RShair, fur, feathers, coarsefeather or tail of an animal ; ;
RS𠔼all, any, every, ordinary, commonsail in the wind : it covers all and everything ;
RSdoor, family; ;
bird, rad. 196 ; ; al. :
RSboat, ship, rad. 137sail of a ship
RS𠂟distinguish, sort, rad. 165RS. distinguishing rocks from rice :
RS𠁥𢆉 𦍋𦍌𨋽sheep, goat, rad. 123horns of a sheep ; 𠁥; ; al. ⺷: ; lamb contr.:
RShandle of plow, plow, rad. 127plow 𢦏 ;
RSslice, splinter, strip, rad. 91
  • something slashed in slices with an upper part and a lower part
  • lit. half of a tree
RSdepend on, entrust with, sproutseeds entrusted to the ground by the farmer sprout: : his life depends on this relation with the ground
RSmow, cut grass, subdue, govern, control, manage, nurtureRS. scissors
RSlegs, footsteps, rad. 105footsoles:
RSin, on, at, go to, going
  • crossing streets
  • RS. probably a compass (dividers) for making molds of like shape
; ;
RSlose, make mistake, neglectRS. hand throwing down something:
RSnot, negative, non-, opposeoutward turned (not flapping) wings: : they do not function; the wings oppose the air
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