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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RSfield, arable land, cultivated cultivated field is an enclosure divided in several pieces; con.: field, body ; ; ; 3640-3677
RSenclosure, erect, proud, upright, bald, rad. 31
  • somebody having a big house with enclosure is proud and stands upright; by this time in his life he usually is bald
  • con.: city (enclosed place where people live)
RSeye, look, see, division, topic, rad. 109 ; topic is something that catches the eye ; ; ; 3955-3972; :
RSoffspring, child, fruit, seed of, 1st terrestrial branch ; 𠫓;
RSwell, mine shaft, pitorig. bowl with food: ; abbr. : source of food
RSliterature, culture, writing, sentencecrossing pattern on earthenware : a sign of culture; hallmarks of culture are writing and literature ; ;
RSsmall table, rad. 16 con.: upturned container, hive
RScatch, arrest, shoot with bow, arrow, dividers, rad. 56 arrow on a bowstring : being arrested at arrowpoint; con.: defensive weapon, divider (a cutting weapon can divide something) ; al. :
RS𤯞blue, green, black, young ; ;
RSnine image of a hand bumping against something : nine bumps against ten when counting
RSprivate, individual, secret, rad. 28 enclosed self : individual; invisible from outside: secret ; ; (𠫓) () () ; al. :
RSinch, small, tiny, measurement (3.03 cm) rad. 41
  • thing which is smaller than (beneath) the hand 𠂇:
  • con. hand holding something, take
, ;
RS𢒄labor, work, worker, laborer orig. carved pattern into something 𢒄: a sign that work has been done ; ; ; al. 匚:
RS𠃫𡰬𢈯𨊘 body, trunk, hull, rad. 158 standing bear with a fat body ;
𠆢𠆢RSroof, house
RSgrain still on stalk, rice plant, tree with 2 branches rad. 115 rice stalk ; tree with a second branch ; ; 2241-2278
RS𡳾grass, plants, rad. 140
  • shooting grass
  • con.: vegetables
RSroof, rad. 40 ; characters 740-778
insects, worms, rad. 142
  • snake
  • cocooned insect creeping out of a hole
, ,
RSdog, rad. 94
  • : → or
  • man saying a reasonable thing `
; ;
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