chin seems to be translated as both 下巴 and 頷. Is there absolutely no difference? Is one more common than the other? I find it strange that there are two translations for so many words in Chinese, especially for specific words like chin that have little ambiguity.

When I look up pictures for the word 頷, I see more medical pictures, for 下巴, more regular pictures. Is 頷 something more concrete than chin? My dictionary says just "chin".

  • Quote :- "I find it strange that there are two translations for so many words in Chinese, especially for specific words like chin that have little ambiguity" Here's a little joke. There is a specialist "ENT", (Ear, Nose & Throat) clinic where the doctor has the surname "Chin", (秦, written as "Chin" in some countries), and so he calls his clinic "Chin Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic" Commented Apr 20, 2023 at 8:45

3 Answers 3


For modern Chinese, 下巴 is more commonly used in the daily life for the meaning of jaw or chin. Whereas 頜 is often used in medical words, like 下頜骨.

In Ancient Chinese, 頜 is more common.


ref: http://baike.baidu.com/view/269020.htm


Well 頷 isn't used in modern Chinese.Some people don't even know what it means. So just use 下巴.


下頷is used in fancy writings in chinese, cause great writings, depending on the writer's style, usually incorporate archaic Chinese(文言文)or uses of older words to express a certain feel to the passage, this is to either for sounding great and continuing the rythem and rhyme in how the words flow, or literally just to seem fancy to feed self pride, it's like seeee I wrote something cool! Or, for most cases, would be paying respect to the ancient Chinese culture and our cultural lineage, of where our words came from, it's like 飲水思源,ypu think about where the water comes from when you drink it, Chinese really pays attention to these details, I mean the older folks were the ones who literally made these words so we respect our ancestor's hard work and creation.

Honestly, it really just depends on how you think, for why you are using the older version of 下巴 in the form of 下頷 下巴 is modern informal use in most passages amd conversations 下頷 is archaic but sounds really cool amd fancy, would be more formal, and also shows your respect and love for Chinese Culture 下頜 is the medical terminology where as the previous one sounds more culturally-informed for ancient Chinese wordings

Honestly I don't think many people even know the difference between the 3 since most just use the first version, the two other is just for language fanatics that wants to hone their vocabulary in the sense of sounding cool, building a feel to the passage, we do say that the passage you wrote can reflect who you are as a person, so the better you write the better one would imagine the writer to be as a person

I am so glad I knew Chinese as my mother tongue^^, because Chinese language is so wide and so deep at the same time, although it's still difficult for a native like me XD

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