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.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 NEXT
strive, endeavour, turtle, frog, amphibian, rad. 205turtle with head and tail : : it's endeavouring
RS𠕀𠕃 𦉮𦉯𦉳𦋟𦌅net, network, rad. 122
RS𠃜𡰣corpse, to impersonate the dead, to preside, rad. 44
  • person lying crouched seen from above
  • con.: body
; ; 3742-3778
RShalf of tree trunk, rad. 90lit. half of a tree
RSsay, reason, pretext, history, past, flat sun rad. 73mouth with lips don't confuse with
RSskewer pieces of meat on a stick
steam, vapor, spirit, rad. 84
  • rising steam or mist
  • steaming freshly cooked rice
  • the spirit is floating over the water like steam
horse, surname, rad. 187

  • animal fast like a bird but without wings , it has four feet and a tail and is fast and raging like fire
; ;
RSrad. 2 link, number one, line
RSrare beast, strange, elegant
  • RS. animal with head at top and butt and tail at bottom:
  • it is unfortunate that rare beasts are almost never seen because of their typical camouflage
  • originally 𦉭, looks like something that is cut in four pieces
  • con. a few, small group
RSten, tenth, complete, perfect direction east west and direction north south refers to everything which is under the four wind directions; perfect in all directions; con.: many, high intensity ; ; ; ;
RS𦣺𤼽white, pure, unblemished, bright, rad. 106 modf. 𦣺 or 𤼽: white rice grain (white as the sun ), part of a stem ; ;
RSeight, all around, all sides
  • eight can be separated in two: two diverging branches
  • con.: several, even, divide
RSpower, capability, influence image of a man flexing his muscles: ; ;
𨳇gate, door, entrance, opening ; two doors make up one gate
RSwoman, girl, feminine, rad. 38 person holding a baby: 姿 ; 1744-1778;
  • hand with five fingers
  • con.: hand
RStree, wood, lumber, wooden ; con.: wooden thing, plant, vegetation , ; ;
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 NEXT