As far as I have learnt, for each Chinese word with more than one character, its meaning is formed from that of each character which it comprises. However, I cannot understand how the meaning of 保重 is formed this way. I thought that:

  • 保 = to protect
  • 重 = important

what would and mean for this word? How does it go from "to protect the important one" to "take care"?

Thanks in advance!


2 Answers 2


It is true that this word originally comes from 《晋书·夏侯湛传》:“方将保重啬神,独善其身。” But we use it in situation of farewell. 珍重 is heavier than 保重。 珍重包含了珍惜cherish.

保 是保住,保持,守 。 keep, reserve probably.

重 has two tones:

  1. zhòng 是分量较大,与“轻”相反。 large amount or heavy. opposite with light. 很重,举重。
  2. chóng means again. doubled. 重复,重播。

In the phrase 保重 is zhòng. In my appoint: strong power. strength.

Does it make sense? (Reference.)


It is an ancient word for modern use.In ancient word "保重" came from "保重啬神" in Taoism and means "Keep healty".It become a popular word but nobody care the original reference in Chinese.

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