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I'm interested in simplified only for this question - which simplified character retains the most complexity, defined by having the highest number of strokes?

To clarify: I'm after the most complicated character in use on the mainland - i.e. the most complicated character that remains in common use amongst the literate mainland population.

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What do you define as 'complexity'? The number of strokes? –  Cocowalla May 15 '12 at 22:18
I've always marvelled at 攀... –  jogloran May 15 '12 at 22:53
Is that in the simplified set? –  Michael Robinson May 15 '12 at 23:15
@MichaelRobinson It's now being used as a standard character. And what do you mean by "simplified" character? There's a lot of characters that didn't get a "simplified" form, and still being used now. By "simplified character", do you mean characters that got a different simplified form in the simplification process, or any character that are now used simplified Chinese? –  fefe May 16 '12 at 1:46
Sorry I should have been more clear, by simplified I mean characters used in mainland-chinese –  Michael Robinson May 16 '12 at 2:18

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

As discussed in the comments for the original post, two candidates are 攀 (19 strokes) and 蠢 (21 strokes).

Both of these are frequent: 攀 is #2439 in a frequency list of hanzi, and 蠢 is #2135.

EDIT: I also forgot 馕 (náng, 25 strokes), which I certainly saw many times on menus in Beijing. The right hand side itself is also a marvel: surely it would have been a candidate for systematic simplification.

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嚼 is also a frequently used character. –  BertR Aug 15 '12 at 17:40

龖 (dá) from lol.wen's answer has 32 strokes, but I can better that by a bit ;)

齉 (nàng) has 36 strokes, and my favourite dictionary, YellowBridge, defines it as:

stoppage of the nose; to speak with a nasal twang; to snuffle (as in nose with a cold); snuffling

I should however add that, like 龖, this character is the same in both simplified and traditional script.

Some other ones that appear in Jun Da's character frequency list, taken from a corpus of modern Chinese, include 鱄 (Zhuān, 22 strokes), 襽 (lán, 23 strokes), and 鑪 (lú, 24 strokes).

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Some additional information: 齉 is actually listed in the "Contemporary Chinese Dictionary" (现代汉语词典), while 龖 is not. –  fefe May 16 '12 at 13:06
齉 is in MDBG (my favourite): mdbg.net/chindict/… –  Michael Robinson May 16 '12 at 19:30

That's really a hard question to answer. Because there may not be an answer.

龖(dá) (I'm not sure if this character can display in your browser. It's two 龍 together) Means two dragon to fly. And this is announced by an organization called "Chinese Academy of Languages"(I google translated it).

Also there must be more complicated characters such as 龘(dá). But don't pay attention to it, we Chinese ourselves don't know those characters. We only use a little characters(may be 5000? not sure).

PS. I noticed that you mentioned simplified characters, but you must know that not all the characters has it simplified form.

PPS. Another COMMON word 饕餮, mainly used in 饕餮盛宴, which means gluttonous feast, is used very widely and common.

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I understand my question was very ambiguous. I've updated it. –  Michael Robinson May 16 '12 at 2:45
I have to say it become more complicated, maybe 蠢... means foolish. –  lol.Wen May 16 '12 at 3:09
How about the character 龘? –  John Peyton Feb 3 '14 at 23:39

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