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These below are not exactly embarassing, but nonetheless funny words that have different meanings when pronounced with different tones. 看書 (read book) kàn shū / 砍樹 (chuck wood) kǎn shù 湯水 (soup) tāng shuǐ / 糖水 (syrup/sweet soup) táng shuǐ 號碼 (number) hào mǎ / 好嗎 (okay?) hǎo ma 大人 (adult) dàrén / 打人 (beat somebody) dǎ rén 火車 (train) huǒchē / 貨車 (truck) ...


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As a side note, "青" is not simply cyan in old Chinese text. It is a collective term, which may be 綠 (green),藍 (blue),碧 (light-er blue),蒼 (deep-er blue),or even 黑 (black). For example, "青出於藍" means that the dye "青" (indigo) is produced using plant called "靛藍". On the other hand, "青衣" is clothes of dark color in general. That explains why they say "中國黑青通用" ...


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The best I can find is that jet (lignite), an extremely black stone, may have been powdered and used as a dye. Natural jet is found in Germany and if you are a native English speaker you may have heard the term "jet black" in reference to the deep black color of the stone. It may also just be the ancient Chinese version of "jet black", being used as an ...



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