Jul 19, 2021

For Beginners: Chinese Words for 12 Months & Origin (II)

In this post, we’ll introduce you how to say July to December in Chinese. If you’d like to start with January, check out the post here.

July 七 (Seven) + 月 (Moon) = 七月 (qī yuè) (lit. seven moons)

The character 七 means “7,” but this wasn’t always the case! 七 originally meant “to cut” in the oracle-bone, bronze, and seal scripts. The idea of cutting was conveyed through the character; it has a horizontal line symbolizing an object. A vertical crossing line indicates the tool used to break the object into pieces. Later, the form changed to include 一 and ㄣ, and the character came to mean “7” only.

When it comes to the 7th lunar month in the Chinese calendar (remember that July isn’t a lunar month), do you know it’s commonly known as the Ghost Month (鬼月; guǐ yuè)? What taboos have you known about the Ghost Month?

August 八 (Eight) + 月 (Moon) = 八月 (bā yuè) (lit. eight moons)

The number 8 is super lucky in Chinese culture. The 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing began at 8 pm on August 8th, 2008. That’s 8 pm on 8/8/2008! You can read all about the massive event here.

In the oracle-bone inscriptions, depicted two people opposing each other. Interestingly, many Chinese characters included as a radical meaning “contrary,” “dispersion,” or “decomposition.” After it was borrowed to mean “eight,” the idea of dividing became associated with this character with a knife added beneath it, e.g. (fēn, to divide). Now, exclusively means “eight.”

September 九 (Nine) + 月 (Moon) = 九月 (jiǔ yuè) (lit. nine moons)

In the Northern hemisphere, 九月 (jiǔ yuè) usually indicates the beginning of the autumn.

October 十 (Ten) + 月 (Moon) = 十月 (shí yuè) (lit. ten moons)

The Chinese character for “ten” is really easy, it looks like a cross: (ten). In the oracle–bone inscriptions, “ten” was represented by a simple vertical line, or sometimes a vertical line with a dot in the middle, which referenced a very old way to indicate “ten” by making a knot in a rope. Later, in the seal scripts, the dot became the horizontal line we see in the modern character.

November 十 (Ten) + 一 (One) +月 (Moon) = 十一月 (shí yī yuè) (lit. eleven Moons)

The number 11 in Chinese is written (and spoken) as “ten one”. All we need to do is take the character for 10 (), and add the character for 1 ().

December 十 (Ten) + 二 (Two) +月 (Moon) = 十二月 (shí èr yuè) (lit. twelve Moons)

Similar to the number eleven, in Chinese, twelve is a combination of (ten) and (two), 十二. Then, to write December in Chinese, take the number 十二 (12) plus 月 (yuè), 十二月.

Download the Chineasy app now to learn more words related to months and dates in Chinese. 

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By Chineasy | A Super Chineasian

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