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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RS𡳾sprout, rad. 45sprout shooting out of its receptacle ; con.: grass
RSreceptacle, rad 17 ;
RSstone, rock, mineral, rad. 112
RSfactory, workshop, cliff rad. 27
  • lit. hanging cliff side of a mountain where a person may reside
  • working place :
al. 丆: ; : . ; ;
RSbamboo, flute, rad. 118 bamboo shoots ; flutes are made from bamboo2344-2379
𢆶thread, silk, rad. 120
  • threads twisted together ; weaved threads produce silk
  • con. link, bind
; ; ; 2740-2778; ; al. 幺: ; : ; al. 𢆶
RSflesh, meat, rad. 130
  • flesh cut into pieces
  • con.: person, body
; al. ⺼(); : ; :
RSno, not; un-; negative prefix
  • person spreading arms in objection
  • lit. bird flying under the sky and not coming down
RSstep with left foot, rad. 60
  • person setting a step with the left foot
  • left halve of
RS𠂒cow, ox, bull, rad. 93 animal with horns ; con. horns ; ; 2443-2472; ; al. 𠂒: ; :
RStwo hands, rad. 55
RSdo not, not, rad. 80
  • sign blocking the road: don't pass:
  • RS. woman with bound breasts: she's untouchable
RSgo, rad. 34 walking person
RSuse, employ, apply, operate, use container used for storing or employed for churning milk: 使;
RStongue, clapper of bell, rad. 135 tongue sticking out of the mouth ; lit. the tongue invades the mouth
RS𡈼scholar, gentleman, soldier, samurai
  • modf. big man standing on the ground : samurai with hands spread, barring the way
  • con. professional
  • good professional man : 𡈼
; ; 1442-1477; ;
RS𠁡fortune telling, prophesy lit. burned turtle shells were used by fortune tellers. After burning cracks 𠁡 appeared from which the fortune was told
𠤐𠔊𠑻𨱗𠑿 long, length, excel in, leader, grow, rad. 168 long hair growing: ; ; ; ; ; al. 镸:
RShair, rad. 59 floating hear → ; ; ; ; ; ; 𠆢 ;
RSa catty (approximately 500 or 600 g), an axe, keen, shrewd, rad. 69 (blade of an axe); beware of shrewd people with an axe keen on using it ;
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