Classes

I really like the way this compound character is designed. The shortened leg of the 人 building block on the left gives this character a sense of three dimensional depth. Very cool! This compound depicts one 人 (person) following another. While it can mean “follower”, as in a person who follows, it’s occasionally used in a more abstract fashion in phrases. The traditional form of the character is 從.


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In English, there’s a popular saying that goes, “two is company, three’s a crowd”. Apparently, the ancient Chinese thought the same thing! That’s why the character meaning “crowd” in Chinese contains three 人 (person) building blocks, which symbolize three people (which is a crowd!). The traditional form of the character is 眾.


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This compound features the building block 木 (tree), with the addition so a short horizontal stroke near the bottom. This lower stroke is what really tells us the meaning of the character. At the bottom of a tree are its roots, so we can call those roots a tree’s foundation. In addition to being defined as “foundation”, 本 can also mean “origin”.


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This character combines the building blocks 口 (mouth) and 木 (tree). Just think about it, a talking tree would be pretty idiotic! The original form of this compound depicted a child; you can still imagine 口 as the head and 木 as the body. This character's definition comes from the simple-mindedness of a child, so it can also translate to English words like “foolish”, “stupid”, and “boring”.


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Two trees (木) together mean 'woods'. This character is a combination of two tree building blocks. It can either be used to describe a grove or woods. But, interestingly this character is also seen as a surname. Jeremy Lin 林書豪, a well-known basketball player and Justin Lin 林詣彬, the film director who made Fast and Furious also have 林 as surname.


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This is an easy one: burning hot (炎) + sun (日) is a 'burning sun'. Of course!


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