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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RSbegin, man, father, greatRS. a plant growing in a field : : the work of man
RSsoldier, troops, army, warfareperson wearing a helmet  
RSa clod of earth, landRS. tree on top of earth :
RS𠃨𢩦𩰊catchkneeling man working with his hands
RSinterrogative or exclamatory final particleperson holding head and crying out in surprise
RSdistrict, mountain in Zhejiang, long-tailed monkeymonkey:
RSearthen crock or jar, rad. 121a jar with a lid
RS𠔉scroll, roll, to sortscroll held by two hands 𠔉
even, uniform, of equal length, rad. 210uniform field of grain
RStiger, rad. 141head of a tiger (with legs )
RSI, my, me, surplus, remainderperson wearing a hat holding something under his arms : he tries to carry the remainder of a battle away
RSfill, be full, supply, uniteRS. Upside down baby 𠫓 with legs : maturefilled with experience
RScinnabar, vermilioncolor of inside of tree marked by dot
RS𠅩𩪿who? which? what? which one?RS. a person on the right cooking something in an oven on the left : what is he cooking?
RSvillage, hamlet, camp, station, stockpileRS. sprout ; typical thing for a village
RS𠲘𠵊𦎍𦏟𦏯 𧨅𧮟善善good, virtuous, charitable, kindtwo people having a good conversation under a tree
RSsweet, tasty, enjoy, rad. 99RS. something sweet in the mouth :
RSwet wood, disaster
  • RS. wet wood not good for a fire (smoke comes from all sides): : disaster
  • person enjoying (hands in the air) water from the source : onsen in a hostel
RStile, earthenware pottery, girlRS. a curved interlocking roof tile:
RS叟𠬲𡨎𡨝𡨨𡨼 old personRS. one who needs to carry a light (→ ) in the house to see in the house: 𠬲: old man
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