Today’s keyword is all about 好 (good). It’s such a useful and positive word!
It usually translates to “O.K.” and “good” in English, and is also used to indicate that one is ready or has completed something. To make this character, we combine 女 (woman) and 子 (child).
好 ＝ 女 (woman, daughter or girl) ＋子 (child or son) = (literally) woman and child; (good)
The Chinese character 好 means “good”, “excellent”, “fine”, “well”, “very”, and “yes”. Its earliest form in the oracle-bone inscriptions shows a child on the left and a woman on the right. Later, in the seal scripts, the form is slightly different, with a woman on the left and a child on the right. This ancient picture represents beauty.
好 as adjective: good, fine, nice, friendly, kind, likely, simply, well, finished, completed, all right, okay, suitable, fitting
好 as adverb: very, good, how
好 as auxiliary: may, ought to, so as to
好 as noun: preference, hobby (PINYIN: hao4, hào)
好 as verb: be fond of (PINYIN: hao4, hào)
Here are some example phrases that contain 好:
Keyword – 好
好心 – good intentions (hao3 xin1)
好人 – nice person or nice people (hao3 ren2)
好大 – so big (hao3 da4)
Besides these examples, are there any other phrases containing 好? In addition to meaning ‘good’, have you noticed any other usages of 好 in the examples above?
If you’ve think the task is slightly too easy , here are some more challenges – try to see if you can give the English for the three sentences below. Good luck!
她很好心。 (Eng: ___________)
他是好人。 (Eng: __________)
他的新家好大。 (Eng: ____________)
By the way, have you realised that all the 3 sentences are written the SAME in both simplified and traditional Chinese characters? 😀
(Traditional and Simplified)
In the oracle bone script, this character looked like three small dots. Then, in the seal script, the three dots were stretched out and became three lines, eventually the character evolved to its present form. To me, the shape of 小 resembles a kneeling man with his arms by his sides as if he is trying to make himself as small as possible. How do you see this character? Do you have a different way to remember this building block?
Besides the main definition of “small”, 小 can also mean “young” when we use it with some animal characters. For example, 羊 means “sheep” and 小羊 means “lamb”; 貓 means “cat” and 小貓 means “kitten” etc. What are your favourite animal babies? Certainly 小貓 is a favourite of many!
(Traditional, Simplified and Kanji)
What a long (長) character. 長 used to be an image of a person with long hair; the upper part definitely reminds me of a comb that we need for long hair (長髮/长发). This character reminds me Mr Fantastic (Reed Richards) in Marvel’s comic Fantastic Four.
長 can be pronounced two different ways. The definition changes depending on how you pronounce it, so it’s important for us to practice carefully!
One way to pronounce 長 is like this: chang2. With this pronunciation, it means “long”. If we change the pronunciation (and the tone), 長 sounds like this: zhang3, and means “to grow”.
Here are two phrases to help you remember the different pronunciations of 長:
好長 (hao3 chang2; very long)
長大 (zhang3 da4; to grow up)
When the sun (日) and the moon (月) are shining together it creates a character meaning ‘bright’ or ‘brightness’.
It also means tomorrow. Why? When the sun and the moon have both completed their journey through the sky, one day is gone—so it’s tomorrow!
Here are a few examples of 美 used in phrases:
美好 fine, beautiful (mei3 hao3)
美食 gourmet food (mei3 shi2)
完美 perfect (wan2 mei3)
If we can have a 美好 day with 美食, how 完美 it could be! 🙂
Do you know any other phrases containing 美?
Do you know how to say “so gorgeous” in Chinese? Actually, it’s the same phrase we learnt to describe someone/something as 好美 (so beautiful). Remember that instead of its common definition of “good”, 好 here means “so” and 美 means “gorgeous”.
In oracle-bone inscriptions, the character 老 depicts an old man with long hair bent over a cane. By adding ‘人’, we have the phrase 老人 for ‘old person’. We would like to dedicate this special day on the Chinese Calendar – the Double Ninth festival for 老人.
The festival is also as known as the Chongyang festival (literally: double yang festival; 重陽節) or Seniors’ Day, the day we honour and pay our respects to the elderly (老人). On the day, many companies and organisations organise group activities for the elderly to enjoy themselves, such as sightseeing to the countryside, hiking or gathering for a nice meal.
Do you have a special day dedicated to the elderly in your Country? How do you celebrate it?
Do you think that handmade (手工) stuff is ALWAYS better than manufactured goods?
手工 = 手 (hand) + 工 (work) = handmade
handmade card = 手工 + 卡片 (ka3 pian4; card) = 手工卡片
handmade soap = 手工 + 肥皂 (fei2 zao4; soap) = 手工肥皂
handmade cake = 手工 + 蛋糕 (dan4 gao1; cake) = 手工蛋糕
Any other handmade stuff you can think of?
This is the character for ‘peaceful’, and I like to interpret it as a woman (女) under a roof (宀) means ‘peaceful’ (安).
安 = 宀 (roof radical) + 女 (woman) = peaceful; peace; calm; safe
安 pinyin: ān/an1
風水 (Feng-Shui) is a philosophy of how humans can live in harmony with their environment. You’ve probably heard about 風水 in the context of architecture or design; a major goal of 風水 is to create an environment that looks and feels 安祥 (serene).
安祥 = 安 (Peaceful) + 祥 (Auspicious) = Serene
A good quote: “You have to go wholeheartedly into anything, in order to achieve anything worth having” – Frank Lloyd-Wright
In Chinese, we use the phrase 全心 to refer to ‘wholeheartedly’; 全 means ‘whole’ and 心 means ‘heart’.
全心 = 全 (whole) + 心 (heart) = wholeheartedly
全心 can also be translated to mean ‘with heart and soul’.
With all my heart and soul, I hope you like our art for 全心!
全心 pinyin: quán xīn/quan2 xin1
In Chinese, 小心 means ‘careful’ and this is how I remember it, we pay attention to small details with our heart by being careful.
Besides ‘careful’, 小心 can also mean ‘carefulness’, ‘carefully’ or ‘look out!’, which depending on the context. 小心 is a very useful phrase for everyday (天天) conversations, it is also frequently used on Chinese warning signs.
入味= 入 (To Enter) + 味 (Taste) = [literally] (To Enter the Taste); (Tasty); (Well Flavoured)
When you take a bite of some delicious fried chicken in your 便當 (lunch boxes, pinyin: bian4dang1), you can say 很入味 (pinyin: hen3ru4wei4, hěnrùwèi) , which means “very tasty”. Here is an example:
The fried chicken is very tasty. 炸雞做得很入味。(pinyin: zha4ji1zuo4dehen3ru4wei4).
入味 pinyin ru4wei4 (simplified and traditional style)
入味 as adjective: tasty, interesting, well flavoured
美味 = 美 (Beautiful) + 味 (Taste) = [literally] (Beautiful Taste); (Delicious), (Delicacy)
美 as adjective: beautiful, good-looking, pretty, handsome, fair, good, nice, fine, ideal, American
美 as verb: praise, beautify
味 as noun: taste, savor, tone, odor, smell
味 as verb: to distinguish the flavour of
味 as a measuring word: ex: 六味中藥 (six Chinese medicines, pinyin: liu4wei4zhong1yao4, iùwèizhōngyào)
美味 as adjective: delicious
美味 as noun: delicacy
This phrase also uses the character 一 (one). 一味 means “blindly”. Do you recognize the second character, 味? It is a combination of 口 (mouth) and 未 (not yet). Together, 味 means “taste”. If you only have one taste of something, you can’t really make a good decision about whether you like it or not; you’d be making a blind decision. At least that’s the idea behind the phrase 一味!
一 (One) is the first character used in this phrase.
一 as a noun: one, single, a
一 as adjective: whole, full, same, unified, concentrated, single-minded, alone, single, pure
一 as adverb: all, very, straight, always, all along, once, in case, one by one, one after another
Our second character is 味 (Taste). In the Ancient Seal Scripts, the character for taste was formed with the character 口 (mouth) and 未 (not yet), suggesting that one test food before eating it. The original meaning of 味 (taste), was later expanded to include “smell” as well.
味 as noun: taste, food, savor, odor, tone, smell
味 as verb: distinguish the flavour of , study
味 as measuring word: for Chinese medicine
一味 (Blindly) = 一 (One) + 味 (Taste) = [literally] (One Taste)
一味 as adverb: persistently, blindly, simply
Pinyin: 一味 (yi1 wei4)
Style: Traditional, Simplified & Kanji