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The phrase 盛开 means to bloom, as in, "池塘里的荷花盛开." Is this pronounced as "shèng kāi", or is it pronounced as "chéng kāi"?

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"shèng kāi", of cource. Generally, different pronunciation of a character has a different meaning. – Stan May 15 '14 at 4:14
"四角号码新词典"53102 盛(一)shèng (1)兴旺,繁盛。例:繁荣昌盛 (2)强烈,旺盛。例:年轻气盛(3)隆重,规模大。例:盛会|盛宴(4)丰富,华美。例:盛馔|盛装。(5)深厚。例:盛意。(6)广泛。例:盛传。(7)姓(二)ch‌​éng(1)把东西放进器物里。例:盛饭。(2)容纳。例:这会场能盛一万人 – user6065 Jun 23 at 18:16
up vote 1 down vote accepted

In this case, you pronounce it as "shèng kāi." The other pronunciation, "chéng" is for the phrase "盛饭."

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You can guess the pronunciation according to its usage:

"盛("chéng")" in 盛饭 is used as a verb, which means to fill or to contain.

"盛("shèng")" in 盛开 is used as a non-verb(adj./adv./noun), which means prosperous(ly), flourishing(ly)... (盛宴,盛装,旺盛,兴盛...)

by the way, 盛"shèng" is also used as a surname, such as this man

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"盛("shèng")" is not only in 盛开 but also same pronunciation in 盛大,盛宴,盛装,盛会。。。usually used to describe very large/important/formal/official occasions.

"盛("chéng")" is used mostly in phrase like 盛饭,盛菜,盛汤... means 'adding 饭/菜/汤 to a bowl or a pot'.

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