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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RSfill, a foll of cloth
  • pot which is filled with a lid on top:
  • con. ink pot
RSletter, invitation, chooseRS. bag with contents tied at both ends : full of letters to be delivered
RSspear, lance, rad. 110saw lance
RSthe ninth of the Ten Celestial Stems, artful and crafty, great, pregnantRS. two loads on a carry pole: something crafted; woman carrying a baby: pregnant𡈼
RSoppose, deviate, be contrary to, rad. 136two feet opposed
RSyoung, fresh-looking, die youngRS. man with head leaning forward: he's running → young
RStooth, molars, teeth, serrated, rad. 92tusk of an elephant
RStrillion, sign, omenRS. the cracking of a turtle shell while casting fortune : something which was done uncountable times in the past
RSsubject, vassal, subjugate, conquer, minister, statesman, officialRS. sideways version of eye : official looking down on subjects
RSto be, but, however, and also, moreover, so, therefore, you, your, then, if
  • RS. pregnant woman with big stomach and breasts
  • con. flower
RSroll, bolt of cloth, foot, rad. 103man rolling up the carpet
RSmelon, gourd, cucumber, rad. 97fruit hanging at the ranks
RSsecond, 2nd heavenly stem, one, rad. 5consists of one stroke but looks like two strokes
RShigh, proud, violent, excessive, skilled, nameRS. proud man
𡰯𡰯RSKangxi dictionary: ancient form of
  • person holding a towel hanging on a stick
  • con. person holding a brush
RSelephant, ivory, figure, image, pattern after, imitateelephant ; this character is an image patterned after the real thing
RSclaw, nail, talon, animal feet, rad. 87claw
RShook, rad. 6looks like a hook
single, individual, only, lonea single cicada
book, volumebamboo slats woven together
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