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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RStype of cauldron with three hollow legs, rad. 193RS. a 3 legged cauldron:
鹿鹿RS𢉖𢊩𪋵𢈘deer, surname, rad. 198RS. deer with antlers: 鹿
RSragged clothing, ragged; old and worn outRS. broken cloth off originally from a loom
RS𧈬𧍺𧌫𧊋𧈫rainbowRS. the ancient character is a bowed snake with two heads: 𧈬𧈫
RS𦟝𦠗spine, backbone, ridge, stature, heightRS. body with spine above:
RS𠂽𤰣𤰰𤰲𤰵𤱖 𤱫fear, dread, awe, reverenceRS. man with a devils face and a stick: 𤱖
RS𢊁𤙪an animal probably an elk, unicornRS. an animal probably an elk:
RSscallion, leek, rad. 179RS. an ideograph of leeks:
RS𡬠𠋓𠕢𠙘𡭌 𢋺𣝣𣡫𥥼𥧀𩰣 𩰥𩰦𩰧𩰨爵feudal title or rank, wine pitcher with three legs and a loop handleRS. remnant of a three legged wine brewing container (top) and indication that it is like (bottom left) with a handle : 𣡫𣝣
RSsacrificial wine, unhindered, rad. 192RS. container full of rice:
RS𪞁兔rabbit, hareRS. ideograph of a rabbit with a tail and ears:
𠨀𣦵virtuous, chaste, pure, loyal, incorruptibleRS. a square metal incense container in which the divination cracks were made:
RS𦥢𥦶pit, holeRS. man falling into a trap :
RSfly, wingRS. ideograph of a wing:
combimage of a comb
RSconcave, hollow, depressed, a pass, valleyfigure of a concave or hollow thing
RScrime, fault, sinRS. probably contextual alternate of another version of an upside down person:
RS𠘸choke, sobRS. man blowing to the right:
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