These basic building blocks are the basis of the Chineasy method. Through their varied combinations you will quickly be able to build complex compounds, words and phrases. Click on each building block, below, to see its different variations.
Pinyin: 火 huo3
The building block for Fire (火) pictographically represents a central flame with two smaller sparks on either side of it. It also looks like a campfire.
Pinyin: 炎 yan2
The compound for Burning Hot (炎) is comprised of two building blocks for Fire (火). When this character is used in a medical context, it means 'Inflammation'. Interestingly, the Latin root of inflammation is īnflammō or inflammare - to set alight.
Pinyin: 焱 yan 4
The compound for Flames (焱) is comprised of three building blocks for Fire (火).
Pinyin: 焚 fen2
The compound for Burning (焚) is comprised of building blocks of Fire (火) and Forest (木). A fire cannot burn without fuel, which is traditionally wood.
Pinyin: 伙 huo3
The compound for Group (伙) is comprised of the building blocks for Fire (火) and Person (人). Group (伙) was originally the character for Fire (火). Years later, to distinguish between the two, Person (人) was placed next to Fire (火) to create (伙) meaning ”group”, partner”, “mate”, “companion”.
Pinyin: 啖 dan4
The compound to Eat (啖) is comprised of the building blocks for Fire (火) and Mouth (口). Food in Asia, especially in the Sichuan province, is known for being extremely spicy. It sets your mouth ablaze.
火 and 山
火 huo3 + 山 shan1
The phrase for 'volcano' is comprised of fire (火) + mountain (山) = fire mountain = volcano (火山).
大 and 伙
大 da4 + 伙 huo3
The phrase for 'folks' is comprised of Big (大) + Group (伙) = Big Group = Folks.
火 and 大
火 huo3 + 大 da4
The phrase for 'angry' is comprised of Fire (火) + Big (大) = Big Fire = Angry (火大). In the West fire is often used to personify rage e.g. Burning with rage. Angry (火大) is an extension of this.
大 and 火
大 da4 + 火 huo3
The phrase for 'big fire' is comprised of Big (大) + Fire (火) = Big fire!
焱 and 焱
焱 yan4 + 焱 yan4
The phrase for 'flames of fire' is comprised of Flames (焱) + Flames (焱) = Flames of Fire.
炎 and 日
炎 yan2 + 日 ri4
The phrase for 'burning sun' is comprised of Burning Hot (炎) + Sun (日) = Burning Sun - a phrase for a hot afternoon.
Pinyin: 木 mu4
The building block for Tree (木) pictographically depicts a tree trunk with hanging branches.
Pinyin: 林 lin2
The compound for Wood (林) is comprised of two building blocks for Tree (木).
Pinyin: 森 sen1
The compound for Forest (森) is comprised of three building blocks for Tree (木).
Pinyin: 本 ben3
The compound for Foundation (本) is comprised of the building block for Tree (木) and One (一). The foundation of a house is the first step in its construction and in medieval times they were often constructed of wood.
Pinyin: 末 mo4
The compound for End (末) is comprised of the building block for Tree (木) with a long horizontal line near the top. Once you reach the top of the tree your climb comes to an end, and that is what this character depicts: 末, the tip or end of a tree.
Pinyin: 東/东 dong1
The compound for East (東) is comprised of the building blocks for Tree (木) and Sun (日). The Sun rises in the East. In ancient times medieval man would first glimpse the Sun as it rose between the trees. The simplified form is 东.
Pinyin: 未 wei4
The compound for Not Yet (未) is comprised of the building block for Tree (木) with a short horizontal line near the top. It looks very similar to End (末), but Not Yet (未) has a shorter top horizontal line. In the ancient Oracle-Bone and Seal Inscriptions the character depicted a realistic tree. The compound can also mean “never”, “not yet”, “no” or “haven’t”.
Pinyin: 來/来 lai2
To Come (來) is comprised of the building block for Tree (木) and Person (人). In ancient China, the original form of 來 represented the shape of wheat, which had been brought to China from Europe. Gradually the use of this compound changed from wheat to refer, instead, to the foreigners who would came to China to trade it. The simplified form is 来.
森 and 森
森 sen1 + 森 sen1
Forest (森) + Forest (森) = Dense. With so many trees the forest is sure to be dense.
出 and 來
出 chu1+ 來 lai2
The Phrase for To Come Out (出來) is composed of Get Out (出) + To Come (來) = To Come Out.
木 and 門
木 mu4 + 門 men2
The Phrase for Wooden Door (木門) is comprised of Wood (木) + Door (門) = Wooden Door. 木 can mean ‘tree’ or ‘timber' if it’s used as a noun. When it is used as an adjective, it means ‘wooden texture’.
休 and 閒
休 xiu1 + 閒 xian2
The Phrase for Be At Leisure (休閒) is comprised of Rest (休) + Leisure (閒) = rest leisurely = be at leisure.
來 and 人
來 lai2 + 人 ren2
The Phrase for Messenger is comprised of To Come (來) + Person (人) = Person who comes = Messenger. In the days before electronic mail all messages where brought by a man who came to each homestead to deliver his letter and left. A man constantly awaited.
Pinyin: 日 ri4
In the ancient oracle-Bone and seal Inscriptions, the character for Sun (日) was a circle with a dot in the middle. It has since evolved to look very similar to a Western window. Look outside and see the sun.
Pinyin: 昌 chang1
Prosperous (昌) is comprised of Sun (日) and Sun (日). Originally comprised of two suns indicating sunlight. Later the bottom part was changed to Say (曰), which changed the definition to “saying sun”, indicating “prosperity".
Pinyin: 晶 jing1
Sparkles (晶) is comprised of three building blocks for Sun (日). The old form of 晶 was three circles, meaning “brilliant” or “glittering”. The characters definition has been extended to “clear and bright” and “sunny”.
Pinyin: 旦 dan4
The compound for Sunrise (旦) is comprised of the building block for Sun (日) and One (一). This is an easy compound to remember as it depicts the sun rising above the line of the horizon.
Pinyin: 早 zao3
The compound for Early Morning (早) is comprised of the building block for Sun (日) and Ten (十). Imagine the first ray or morning sun shining across the horizon.
Pinyin: 白 bai2
White (白) is comprised of the building block for Sun (日) with a small upright dash. White is a hue, not a colour, it is combination of all colours. In English when a light burns incredibly brightly we say it burns white hot. So just remember that the sun burns white hot.
日 and 本
日 ri4 + 本 ben3
The Phrase for Japan (日本) is comprised of Sun (日) + Origin (本) = Japan. Japan is known as 'the land of the rising sun'. Japan lies east from China, so when the sun rises, it appears to come from Japan.
本 and 日
本 ben3 + 日 ri4
The Phrase for Today (本 日) is comprised of Foundation (本) and Sun (日) = Today. When used as an adjective 本 means ‘this’. 日 started out meaning 'the sun', but it also means a ‘day’. This + Day = Today!
來 and 日
來 lai2 + 日 ri4
The Phrase for In the coming Days (來日) is comprised of To Come (來) + Sun (日) = In the coming Days. 日 can also mean 'day'. So, the phrase is actually 'To Come' + 'Days' = The Coming Days.
白 and 白
白 bai2 + 白 bai2
The Phrase for In Vain is composed of White (白) + White (白) = In vain (白白). White and white together can mean ‘very white’, but the second meaning is in vain. Having white skin was considered a sign of beauty in Asia.
天 and 日
天 tian1 + 日 ri4
The Phrase for Light (天日) is comprised of Sky (天) + Sun (日) = Light. Originally, this phrase focused mostly on the sun itself. Later, Chinese people extended its meaning to include “justice” and “moral principles”.
日 and 出
日 ri4 + 出 chu1
The Phrase for Sunrise (日出) is comprised of Sun (日) + Get Out (出) = Sun Comes Out = Sunrise.
Pinyin: 人 ren2
The building block for Person (人) traditionally depicted a human in profile. Today it looks like the profile of a man walking.
Pinyin: 从/從 cong2
The compound for Follow (从) is a combination of two building blocks for Person (人). This is a simplified form of follow. The traditional form is 從.
Pinyin: 体/體 ti3
Body (体) is a combination of the building block for Person (人) and Foundation(本). The foundation of a human is their body. Coincidentally, in English another word for torso is trunk. The traditional form is 體.
Pinyin: 大 da4
The compound for Big (大) is a combination of the building block for Person (人) and the numeral One (一). The easiest was to remember this is to picture a man stretching his arms wide saying, “it was this big”.
Pinyin: 夫 fu1
Man (夫) is a combination of the compound Big (大) with a line representing the traditional hairpins in an adult man’s topknot. Man (夫) looks very similar to the character for Sky (天). Remember, the sky is always above man, so the compound character 天 (sky) has a higher top stroke.
Pinyin: 天 tian1
The compound for Sky (天) is a combination of the compound for Big (大) with a line above it, representing the level above man and earth, hence why it can also mean heavenly.
Pinyin: 傘/伞 san3
The compound for Umbrella (傘) is a combination of four building blocks for Person (人). In ancient China umbrellas were designed with long-handles, paper or fabric covers and were fringed. The umbrella was part of an ancient ceremony that used different colors to distinguish between the grades of officials. Today, it is only a tool to cover people from rain or sun. The simplified form is 伞.
Pinyin: 众/眾 zhong4
The compound for Crowd (众) is a combination of three building blocks for Person (人). As the saying goes, “two’s company and three’s a crowd”. This is a simplified form of crowd. The traditional form is 眾.
Pinyin: 犬 quan3
The compound for Dog (犬) is a combination of the compound for Big (大) with an additional dot on the upper right side. The earliest form of this compound in the Oracle-Bone Inscriptions was a drawing of a dog, emphasizing the tail. This form is still used today.
Pinyin: 太 tai4
The compound for too much (太) is a combination of the compound for Big (大) and a stroke under the character suggesting something even bigger. Therefore this character means "too much", "extremely" or " excessively".
Pinyin: 休 xiu1
The compound for to Rest (休) is a combination of the building block for Person (人) and the building block for Wood (木). The easiest way to remember this is to picture a man relaxing against a tree.
Pinyin: 人 (亻) rén (ren2)
As you begin to learn compounds you will notice that the depiction of person (人) alters. If the building block for person shows a man walking in side profile, the shortened form of the building block used in compound construction represents the profile of a person standing tall with his arms by his side (亻). Examples you have already learned include: To rest (休) and Body (体).
天 and 天
天 tian1 + 天 tian1
The Phrase for Every day (天天) is a combination of Sky (天) + Sky (天) = Every day. In different contexts, 天 can have different meanings such as sky, heaven, god, nature, weather, and day. When 天 means day, it has the same meaning as Sun (日). Chinese people write every single day as 天天 or 日日.
人 and 人
人 ren2 + 人 ren2
The Phrase for Everyone is a combination of Person (人) + Person (人) = Everyone.
大 and 夫
大 dai4 + 夫 fu1
The Phrase for Doctoris a combination of Big (大) + Man (夫) = Big Man = Doctor. This phrase has two different pronunciations with two different meanings, When pronounced: 大 dà + 夫 fū, the phrase means “senior official in feudal China”. When pronounced: 大 dài + 夫 fū , the phrase means “doctor”. Using 大夫 to refer to a ‘doctor’ is a rather ancient and polite title. Today the more common way to say “doctor” is usually 醫生/医生 (yīs hēng ).
夫 and 人
夫 fu1 + 人 ren2
The Phrase for Madam (Mrs.) is a combination of Man (夫) + Person (人) = Madam. This phrase means “a husband’s person”, “one’s wife”, “madam”, or “Mrs.” In Ancient China a woman became their husband’s property after marriage, thus the literal translation of “a husband’s person”.
天 and 人
天 tian1 + 人 ren2
This phrase for Heaven is a combination of Sky (天) + Person(人) = Heaven. This phrase is quite flexible, and can have the following meanings: It can refer to people having insight into the universe and life; it can symbolise heaven and man coexisting; it can refer to immortal people in heaven or in ancient China, The Emperor.
天 and 大
天 tian1 + 大 da4
The Phrase for Extremely Big (天大) is a combination of Sky (天) + Big (大) = 天大 extremely big; as large as the heavens. Ancient Chinese people used this combination to describe something as being seriously huge! As large as the heavens! Nowadays, 天大 is a very common expression when people want to express something as being ‘awesome’.
Pinyin: 口 kou3
The building block for Mouth (口) represents a mouth opened wide.
Pinyin: 吅/喧 xuan1
Shout (吅) is a combination of two building blocks for Mouth (口). 吅 means 'to argue' or 'to make noise'. It is an ancient character and rarely seen nowadays. It will definitely impress your Chinese speaking friends. In modern Chinese, we use 讼 to express 'to argue' and 喧 to express 'to shout aloud'. Shout : 吅 xuān (xuan1, 喧) & Argue: 吅 sòng (song4, 讼).
Pinyin: 品 pin3
Products/variety of quality (品) is a combination of three building blocks for Mouth (口). The mouths represent three people & their views. The original definition was "numerous", but it has been extended to "article” and “grade". Think of each mouth as an opinion judging the product.
Pinyin: 呆 dai1
The compound for Idiot (呆) is a combination of the building block for Mouth (口) on top of the building block for Tree (木). This is easy to remember, as a talking tree looks very idiotic.
Pinyin: 咄 duo1
To cry out in anger (咄) is a combination of the building block for Mouth (口) and To Get Out (出). Mouth (口) indicates the meaning of the character while To Get Out (出) represents the pronunciation of the whole character. Together they mean “ noise of rage” or “cry in rage”.
Pinyin: 因 yin1
To Cause (因) is a combination of the building block for Surround (囗) and Big (大). This character was the original form for the character 茵 meaning “mats” or “cushion”. Later its use was altered to mean "because of”, “cause”, “reason” and “by".
Pinyin: 杏 xing4
The compound for Apricot (杏) is a combination of the building block for Tree (木) above Mouth (口). The character also means 'almond'.
Pinyin: 困 kun4
The compound for Enclosures (困) is a combination of the building block for Mouth (口) and Wood (木). In the oracle-Bone and the seal Inscriptions the form of this character represented an abandoned house. Abandoned houses are normally found deep in the forest enclosed by trees. Today, 困 is also used to mean, "surround", "difficult", "tired" and “depressed".
Pinyin: 回 hui2
To Return (回) is a combination of Mouth (口) and Surround (囗). In the Oracle-Bone inscriptions, To Return was depicted as water whirling in a circle. During the evolution of Chinese scripts the form lost its organic shape, so now it is a square whirl.
Pinyin: 囚 qiu2
The compound for Prisoner (囚) is a combination of the building block for Person (人) and the big Mouth 囗. Put a person inside a big mouth and he becomes a prisoner, like Jonah inside the whale.
Pinyin: 味 wei4
The compound for Taste (味) is comprised of the compound for Mouth (口) and Not yet (未). In Seal Script it meant, "test the food". The original meaning has now evolved to mean " taste” and “smell". Just remember that you smell food when it is not yet in your mouth.
人 and 口
人 ren2 + 口kou3
The Phrase for Population(人口) is comprised of Person (人) + Mouth (口) = Population. When we start counting how many mouths need to be fed, we are talking about 'population'.
回 and 味
回 hui2 + 味 wei4
The Phrase for Aftertaste (回味) is comprised of To Return (回) + Taste (味) = Taste returns = Aftertaste. This phrase can be extended to "ponder" as an aftertaste lets you remember and ponder what you have just eaten.
門 and 口
門 men2 + 口 kou3
The Phrase for Doorway (門口) is made up of Door (門) + Mouth (口) = Entrance. Both a door and a mouth are doorways or entrances; one to a building and the other to your mouth.
來 and 回
來 lai2 + 回 hui2
The Phrase for Round Trip (來回) is comprised of To Come (來) and Return (回) = To return back from where you have come = Round Trip.
口 and 味
口 kou3 + 味 wei4
The Phrase for Taste is comprised of Mouth + Taste = Taste. As a noun, this character can refer both to the flavour of food and a person's preferences (e.g. one's taste in fashion).
回 and 來
回 hui2 + 來 lai2
The Phrase To Return (回來) is comprised of To Return (回) + To Come (來) = To return from where you have come = To Come Back. This phrase is similar to "Round-trip", but doesn't necessarily refer to travel e.g. to come back from the market.
Pinyin: 門/门 men 2
Door (門) looks very similar to a pair of saloon doors from the Wild West. Saloon doors may be a much more recent invention, but the resemblance is uncanny! The simplified form is 门.
Pinyin: 閂/闩 shuan1
Bolt (閂) is composed of Door (門) and One (一). It means "lock" or " close". In China, doors were locked with a long bar placed across the two halves of the door. This character can be used to refer to a variety of locks. The simplified form is 闩.
Pinyin: 間/间 jian1
Space (間) is comprised of Door (門) and Sun (日). It depicts the sun shining in through the space between two doors. In seal script Moon (月) was in between Door (門). This was changed to Sun to prevent confusion with Idle (閒). The simplified form is 间.
Pinyin: 闆/板 ban3
The compound for Boss (闆) is comprised of building blocks for Door (門) and Product (品). It is similar to ask, but a boss doesn't ask you to work, he orders you! The simplified form is 板.
Pinyin: 問/问 wen4
To Ask (問) is comprised of the building block Door (門) and Mouth (口). Door (門) suggests the pronunciation of the compound; whilst Mouth (口) shows that it relates to speech. To ask a question is the door to knowledge. The simplified form is 问.
Pinyin: 們/们 men (netural tone)
The plural marker for pronouns 們 is comprised of Door (門) and Person (人). This compound is used to be added to other characters to indicate a plural. Here are some examples of how 們 can combine with other words to make them plural: 他 (he) + 們 = 他們 (they/ them) 我 (I) + 們 = 我們 (we/ us) The simplified form is 们.
山 and 間
山 shan1 + 間 jian1
The Phrase Among The Mountains 山間 is comprised of Mountain (山) + Space (間) = Space in the mountains = among the mountains.
門 and 閂
門 men2 + 閂 shuan1
The Phrase for Door bolt (門閂) is comprised of Door (門) + Bolt (閂) = Door Bolt. Unlike Bolt (閂) which could be used to refer to any type of bolt (such as a window bolt or a trunk lock), 門閂 refers specifically to the lock on a door.
大 and 門
大 da4 + 門 men2
The Phrase for Front Gate (大門) is comprised of Big (大) + Door (門) = Front Gate. The biggest gate in a house tends to be the entrance as it gives off the best first impression.
閒 xian2 +人 ren2
The Phrase for Idler 閒人 is comprised of Idle (閒) + Person (人) = Idle Person.
人 and 間
人 ren2 + 間 jian1
The Phrase for World (人間) is comprised of Person (人) + Space (間) = Person's space = The World. No matter what your race, gender, or age we all share the world's space with other people.
閂 and 門
閂 shuan1 + 門 men2
The Phrase for Latch Door(閂門) is comprised of Bolt (閂) + Door (門) = Bolt Door = Latch Door.
Pinyin: 山 shan1
The building block for Mountain (山) pictographically represents the peaks of a mountain.
Pinyin: 屾 shen1
Two Mountains (屾) is comprised of two building blocks for Mountain (山). This compound is a rare name in Chinese. We use this example so you will see how different characters can be built when combined in different ways (compared with 出).
Pinyin: 崩 beng1
The compound for Rupture (崩) is comprised of the building block for Mountain (山) and Moon (月). When a volcano ruptures, its ash would often blot out the sun and the mountain would appear to turn day into night.
Pinyin: 岩 yan2
The compound character for rock/cliff (岩) is comprised of the building block for Mountain (山) on top of the building block for Rock (石). Pictographically representing a steep cliff or rocky mountain. This compound can be used to describe “rock”, “cliff” or “mountain”.
Pinyin: 仙 xian1
The compound for Immortal (仙) is comprised of the building block for Mountain (山) and Person (人). To remember this, simply remember that a man who lives as long as a mountain will appear immortal to other men.
Pinyin: 出 chu1
The compound for To Get Out (出) is comprised of two building blocks for Mountain (山). In ancient times, the Emperor sent his enemies into exile beyond the mountains. Today, the character has come to mean “to get out” or “to exit”.
休 and 火 and 山
休 xiu1 + 火 huo3 + 山 shan1
The Phrase for Dormant Volcano (休火山) is comprised of Rest (休) + Volcano (火山) = At Rest Volcano = Dormant Volcano.
出 and 口
出 chu1 + 口 kou3
To Get Out (出) + Mouth (口) = Get Out of Surroundings = Exit.
出 and 門
出 chu1 + 門 men2
To Phrase for Get Away From Home (出門) is comprised of To Get Out (出) + Door (門) = Go Out The Door = Get Away From Home/Go On A Journey. This phrase was traditionally used to refer to new brides leaving her home. Today it is used to indicate going on a journey.
天 and 仙
天 tian 1 + 仙 xian1
The Phrase for God/Goddess (天仙) is comprised of Sky/Heaven (天) + Immortal (仙) = God/Goddess. The character 天 can mean: heaven, sky & day depending on the context.
山 and 人
山 shan1 + 人 ren2
The Phrase for Hermit (山人) is comprised of Mountain (山) + Person (人) = Hermit. In Christianity, a hermit referred to a Christian who chose to live a reclusive life out of a religious conviction. In ancient China, similar practice (not necessarily connected with religion) tended to take place in the mountains. So when a person went into the mountains to start a reclusive life, he or she had become a ‘mountain person’.
Pinyin: 水(氵) shui3
The building block for Water 水 originally had a winding line in the middle indicating the flow of water, river and streams entering into it on either side.
Pinyin: 淋 lin2
This compound for drip is composed of the building block for Water (氵) and Wood (林). Just remember that after the rain, water drips off of all of the trees in the wood. As verb: pour (淋浴) As adjective: dripping (水淋淋)
Pinyin: 淼 miao3
The compound for A Wide Expanse of Water (淼) is comprised of three building blocks for Water (水). This is a very easy compound to learn, as it is logical that multiple waters would be used to describe a large amount of water.
Pinyin: 沫 mo4
The compound character 'foam' is comprised of the building block for Water (氵) and End (末). Water (氵) indicates the characters meaning and End (末) indicates its pronunciation. Just remember that foam is the last form of water as it crashes onto the shore.
Pinyin: 淡 dan4
Plain (淡) is comprised of the building block for Water (氵) and Burning Hot (炎). As Fire (火) once meant Person, imagine that this means “wet people” who are pale and plain. This character can also mean "bland", "modest", "essential" or "tasteless".
Pinyin: 沐 mu4
Wash (沐) is comprised of the building block for Water (水) and Tree (木). Water (氵) indicates the meaning and Tree (木) indicates its pronunciation. To remember this imagine rain washing the trees in a storm.
Pinyin: 渣 zha1
Dross (渣) is comprised of the building block for Water (氵) and To Check (查). The character on the left indicates the meaning of the whole character and the character on the right represents its pronunciation which translates directly to “off scouring”. It has extended to mean “broken bits” “crumbs” and “fragments”.
Pinyin: 泊 bo2
This character for Anchor (泊) is comprised of the building block for Water (氵) and White (白). The character on the left indicates the meaning of the whole character and the character on the right represents its pronunciation. The character can also mean “be at anchor" or "berth”.
Pinyin: 水 (氵) shui3
You will have noticed that the character for Water (水) appears differently when written as part of a compound (氵). The full form of water represents a stylized river with small streams leading into it. The shortened form represents three drops of water. (三点水).
水 and 澗
水 shui3 + 澗 jian4
The Phrase for Stream (水澗) is comprised of Water (水) + Stream (澗) = Water Stream.
山 and 水
山 shan1 + 水 shui3
The Phrase for Scenery (山水) is composed of Mountain (山) + Water (水) = Scenery.
淡 and 泊
淡 dan4 + 泊 bo2
The Phrase for Living a Simple Life (淡泊) is comprised of Modest (淡) + Anchor (泊) = Anchored to Modesty = Simple Life.
淡 and 水
淡 dan4 + 水 shui3
The Phrase for Freshwater(淡水) is comprised of Tasteless (淡) + Water (水) = Freshwater.
Pinyin: 月 yue 4
The building block for Moon (月) originally derived from a pictogram of the crescent moon. It has now evolved to be a visual counterpart to Sun (日).
Pinyin: 朋 peng2
The compound for Friend (朋) is comprised of two building blocks for Moon (月). In the oracle-bone and bronze Inscriptions, the character 朋 depicted two bunches of shells which were used as a form of currency at the time.
Pinyin: 明 ming 2
The compound for Bright (明) is comprised of the building block for Moon (月) and the Sun (日). When the sun and moon shine 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!
Pinyin: 肤/膚 fu1
The compound for Skin (肤) is comprised of the building block for Flesh (月) and Man (夫). The flesh of a man is his skin. We have included this compound, as the building block for flesh looks indistinguishable from the building block for moon when it is used in a compound. The traditional form is 膚.
Pinyin: 胆/膽 dan3
Gallbladder (胆) is comprised of 月 (flesh) on the left indicating the meaning of the whole character and 旦 (dawn) on the right representing the pronunciation. The traditional form is comprised 月 (flesh) on the left and 詹(verbose). Both can also mean "courage".
晶 and 明
晶 jing1 + 明 ming 2
The Phrase for Bright/Shining (晶明) is comprised of Sparkles (晶) + Bright (明) = Bright.
昌 and 明
昌 chang1 + 明 ming 2
The Phrase for Flourish (昌明) is comprised of Prosperous (昌) + Bright (明) = Flourish. This phrase can also mean "prosperous", "bright" and "clear".
明 and 明
明 ming2 + 明 ming2
The Phrase for Plainly (明明) is comprised of Bright (明) + Bright (明) = Very Bright = Plainly. This phase can also mean "undoubtedly" or "obviously". Remember that when something is illuminated all of its details become plainly visible and obvious to the naked eye.
本 and 月
本 ben3 + 月 yue4
The Phrase for This Month (本月) is comprised of Origin (本) + Moon (月) = Origin Month = This Month. Moon (月) depending on its context can also mean "Month". This is similar to Sun (日) which can also mean "day".
明 and 白
明 ming2 + 白 bai2
The Phrase for To Understand (明白) is comprised of Bright (明) + White (白) = Bright White = To Understand. This phrase can also mean "clear". The majority of phrases which include Bright (明) tend to refer to clarity and understanding. See Plainly (明明) for another such Phrase.
明 and 日
明 ming2 + 日 ri4
The Phrase for Tomorrow (明日) is comprised of Bright (明) + Day (日) = Tomorrow. An easy way to remember this is that Bright (明) is comprised of Sun (日) and Moon (月), and that tomorrow comes after a cycle of the Sun and Moon.
Pinyin: 女 nu3
Woman (女) depicts a woman squatting down with her arms folded across the front of her body in an act of submission. Women were the possessions of men, their only function was to produce sons and serve their family. I loathe the origin of this character. So in Chineasy you see a charming, independent, intellectual and decisive lady to express this symbol.
Pinyin: 奻 nuan2
The compound for Argument (奻) is comprised of two building blocks for Woman (女). Unfortunately, in the past, Chinese culture did not hold woman in very high regard – you will see this in some of the compounds that use the building block for Woman (女). In this case, two women are unable to be in the same room without starting an argument.
Pinyin: 姦 jian1
The compound for Adultery (姦) is comprised of three building blocks for Woman (女). Any man with 3 women is cheating on someone.
Pinyin: 她 ta1
The compound for She (她) is comprised of the building block for Woman (女) and Also (也). The use of this compound for She (她) is relatively modern one as traditionally there was no character for the feminine third person.
Pinyin: 安 an1
The compound for Peaceful (安) is comprised of the building block for Woman (女) and Roof (宀). This is a more positive compound featuring the building block for Woman (女). Remember that, traditionally, a peaceful home was one run by a woman.
Pinyin: 囡 nan1
The compound for Daughter (囡) is comprised of the building block for Woman (女) and Surround (口). Daughters in Asian families were kept in their homes to keep their skin pale and to protect their modesty for their eventual marriage. The character for Daughter (囡) is then a woman surrounded by her house and her family.
Pinyin: 如 ru2
The compound for To Obey (如) is comprised of the building block for Woman (女) and Mouth (口) In ancient Chinese society women were taught that obedience was a female virtue. A woman in ancient China didn't speak, she obeyed. Today the use of 如 has been extended to mean "if”, “as”, “like” and “such as”.
Pinyin: 姻 yin1
The compound for Marriage (姻) is comprised of the building block for Woman (女) and Reason (因). A woman was considered a drain on her family until she married and became a mother to sons. So a woman’s purpose was marriage and bearing children. This character can be used to depict “marriage” or “a relation by marriage”.
Pinyin: 奸 jian1
The compound for Devious (奸) is comprised of the building block for Woman (女) and Offend (干). In the West there is a saying ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’ meaning that a woman who is offended is capable of anything. This compound means something similar. A woman will be devious to get revenge on those who offend or oppose her.
仙 and 女
仙 xian1 + 女 nu3
The Phrase for Fairy is comprised of Immortal (仙) + Woman (女) = Immortal Woman (indicating female fairies in mountain) = Fairy.
天 and 女
天 tian1 + 女 nu3
The Phrase for Heavenly Maiden (天女) is comprised of Sky (天) + Woman (女) = Sky Woman = Heavenly Maiden. Asian mythology consists of a large pantheon of Deities from Zao Jun the Kitchen God to Tianhou the Empress of Heaven.
囡 and 囡
囡 nan1 + 囡 nan1
The Phrase for Little Girl (囡囡) is comprised of Daughter(囡) + Daughter(囡) = Daughter's Daughter = little girl/cute daughter. This Phrase is a type of colloquial endearment. The repetition of Daughter is cute. It is a pet name for a small girl like "princess", "pumpkin" or "baby girl" in English.
大 and 女人
大 da4 + 女 nu3 + 人 ren2
The Phrase for Mature Woman (大女人) is comprised of Big (大) + Female (女人) = Big Woman = Mature Woman.
Pinyin: 宀 mian2
The building block for Roof (宀) was hardly seen individually in the oracle-bone period. It was used frequently as a component of many characters for habitation and architecture. Therefore, today we classify it as a building block.
Pinyin: 宋 song4
Song Dynasty (宋) is comprised of the building block for Roof (宀) and Tree (木). In oracle-bone inscriptions, this character depicted “trees around a house” meaning “settle down”. Later, the character was changed to Tree (木) under Roof (宀) and is used to refer to the Song Dynasty.
Pinyin: 牢 lao2
The compound for Prison (牢) is comprised of the building block for Roof (宀) and Cow (牛). Cows that were kept in a household were used as beasts of burden. So though the original meaning of this compound was “fold, pen”, it has since extended to mean, “prison” as a noun (監牢) and “firm” (牢固) as an adjective.
Pinyin: 家 jia1
The compound for Home (家) is comprised of the building block for Roof (宀) and a Pig (豕). In the ancient China, humans would raise their pigs in their houses to keep them safe. Pigs in the house then become associated with a bountiful home. The compound can be used to mean “home”, “house”, “residence” or “family”.
Pinyin: 宣 xuan1
This character was composed of 宀 (roof) on the top indicating the meaning of the whole character and 亘 (through) underneath the roof representing the pronunciation of the whole character, meaning “emperor’s palace” or "proclaim".
家 and 人
家 jia1 + 人 ren2
Family Member (家人) is comprised of Home (家) + Person (人) = Home Person = Family Member.
大 and 家
大 da4 + 家 jia1
The Phrase for Everybody (大家) is comprised of Big (大) + Home (家) = Big Home = Whole Family. This phrase refers to everybody in one's family.
宝 and 玉
宝 bao3 + 玉 yu4
The Phrase for Gem (宝玉) is comprised of Treasure (宝) + Jade (玉) = Treasured Jade = Gem.
家 and 門
家 jia1 + 門 men2
This Phrase is an archaic way to refer to the family/house of an important government official.
全 and 家
全 quan2 + 家 jia1
The Phrase for The Whole Family(全家) is comprised of Everything (全) + Home (家) = Entire Home = Whole Family.
宋 and 人
宋 song4 + 人 ren2
The Phrase for referring to People From The Song Dynasty (宋人) is comprised of Song Dynasty (宋) + Person (人) = Person Of The Song Dynasty.
Pinyin: 玉 yu4
Throughout Asian history, jade has been more prized than silver and gold both monetarily and spiritually. The building block for Jade (玉) is comprised of a bottom stroke representing Earth, a top stroke representing Heaven and a middle stroke representing Heaven’s essence on Earth.
Pinyin: 主 zhu3
The compound for Master (主) is comprised of the building blocks for Jade (玉) with a small dash above it. Jade was an extremely expensive and highly valued material worn traditionally by nobility and royalty. The master of a household or estate would customarily be the only people able to afford it.
Pinyin: 国 guo2
The compound for Country (国) is comprised of the building blocks for Jade (玉) and Surround (囗). The importance of Jade within Asian civilization is as long as history itself. China is the country of Jade so it is logical that the land of Jade mean Country.
Pinyin: 珀 po4
The compound for Amber (珀) is comprised of the building blocks for Jade (玉) and White (白).
Pinyin: 柱 zhu4
The compound for Pillar (柱) is comprised of the building blocks for Jade (玉) and Tree (木).
Pinyin: 王 wang2
Throughout Asian history, Jade has been more prized than silver and gold. Jade was worn by kings and nobles and represented the virtues of beauty, grace and purity. It is fitting therefore that the building block for King (王) and Scholar (士) is a simplified version of Jade (玉).
Pinyin: 全 quan2
The compound for Whole (全) is comprised of the building block for Jade (玉) and Person (入). The character represents belongings under a roof. As we now know, Jade is a highly valuable substance in Asia so if you had Jade under your roof you were whole in terms of possessions.
Pinyin: 玉 yu4
The keen eyed among you will have notices that the compound for Two Pieces of Jade (珏) shows a slightly altered form of the radical on the left hand side. This change is similar to what we have seen with Water (水＝氵) and Person (人 = 亻).
主 and 人
主 zhu3 + 人 ren2
The Phrase for Master (主人) is comprised of Master (主) + Person (人) = Master Person = Master.
主 and 夫
主 zhu3 + 夫 fu1
The Phrase for House Husband (主夫) is comprised of Master (主) + Man (夫 ) = Senior Man = Patriarch.
玉 and 山
玉 yu4 + 山 shan1
The Phrase for Jade Mountain (玉山) is comprised of Jade (玉) + Mountain (山) = Jade Mountain. The Jade Mountain in Taiwan stands at 3,952m. It is the highest mountain in Taiwan.
王 and 国
王 wang2 + 国 guo2
The Phrase for Kingdom (王国) is comprised of King (王) + Country (国) = King's Country = Kingdom.
国 and 王
国 guo2 + 王 wang2
The Phrase for King (国王) is comprised of Country (国) + King (王) = Country's King = King/Ruler.
白 and 玉
白 bai2 + 玉 yu4
The Phrase for White Jade (白玉) is comprised of White (白) + Jade (玉) = White Jade. In China, white jade is also known as mutton fat jade.