with a single
This is the one that makes the most sense. One ( ) is a “tree”. is the radical of many Chinese characters, many of which are names of a certain plant. When five come together, it becomes the two-character word
( , forest). Individually, ( ) means wood, grove, or cluster of similar things. And ( means “trees growing thickly”, or “gloomy and horrendous”.
( ) is water, a common word. But two make , which has two pronunciations, and , meaning that sand at the beach that is under the ocean. This character is uncommon and almost never used in daily life. ( ) means “an expanse of water”, and it is often used in people’s names. And when you come to , you have every right to doubt whether it is a character, as most Chinese do (it’s pretty rare). It is pronounced as màn, and means flood, given that so much water is gathered together.
( ) is fire; a pictographic character, ( ) is scorching, or extremely hot;
( ) is blaze, flame. The special one is ( ), which means burning fiercely, an uncommon character again.
( ) is soil, earth, dust;
( ) is a tapering handheld jade tablet used by nobility on ceremonial occasions in ancient times. And if someone can pronounce
( ) correctly, chances are they know a pers o n who uses it as name. It’s rare, but for those who are interested, it means high mountains.
Many of these characters are rarely used, except in names. To understand why, we need to go back to the Five Elements . concept. It’s mentioned that ancient Chinese tended to use the Five Elements to explain everything, including people’s fate. And even today, when a baby is born, many parents will ask a fortune-teller to analyze their shengchenbazi ( ), which translates to “the date of birth and the eight characters of the horoscope”, before naming the baby. After a mysterious calculation process, the fortune-teller will conclude that the baby lacks a certain element in life, which would of course affect their luck in the future, and the solution is to give them a name containing that element. So, you can tell that a man named is very likely to have been diagnosed as lacking earth in his life, and a girl whose name is may be short of water.
And if you search online, you will find some more interesting characters. For example, three horses ( , ) make
( ), describing many horses galloping together; ( ), made up of three cows , ), means “run fast” or “super strong”.
Let’s finish with a funny piece of internet slang — . While this is often seen online, very few native speakers can actually say it.
The first character, u), means “again”. The second, ( ), means “pair” or “double”. These two are very common characters in Chinese. But the last two are not ordinary Chinese. is the ancient version of
( , friends)”; , pronounced as “ruò”, refers to deep friendship; has four types of pronunciation ,
, lì, jué, and you really don’t need to learn its meanings, since it’s almost never used. When these four characters appear together in order, it means “again and again and again and again and again …” When think about the meaning of , you can easily figure out why.
You can use it when you want to express a strong emotion, as in: (
The baby is cr ying agaaaaaaiiiiiiin!