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.

  • I think 攀 is the best answer. It's quite highly ranked in all Chinese corpora I know. Characters such as 齉 and 龖 don't show up in any corpus. Here are other such seldomly used examples: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… (齉 and 龖 are also mentioned on that page). @jogloran: If you write an answer I'll vote for you.
    – BertR
    Commented May 16, 2012 at 14:00

6 Answers 6


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).

  • 3
    Some additional information: 齉 is actually listed in the "Contemporary Chinese Dictionary" (现代汉语词典), while 龖 is not.
    – fefe
    Commented May 16, 2012 at 13:06
  • 齉 is in MDBG (my favourite): mdbg.net/chindict/… Commented May 16, 2012 at 19:30
  • 爨 has 30 strokes. The top part could have been simplified to the top part of 学. Don't know why they didn't do that.
    – user58955
    Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 1:44

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.

  • 1
    嚼 is also a frequently used character.
    – BertR
    Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 17:40

enter image description here

biáng 56 strokes

as in biangbiang面, specialty noodles that can be easily found on the streets of Xi'an.

Some would say it isn't a real word (even though it refers to a real food).

enter image description here

Some would say there are characters with more strokes (and they would be right).

enter image description here

Some would say that this character doesn't count because the question asks for the simplified character (and there is a simplified version of biang).

enter image description here

But I argue that for the Chinese language learner in mainland China, the 56 stroke biang is the most complex character you will likely come across in real life. Most Chinese language learners who stay in China for any length of time will probably make it to Xi'an. And if you are in Xi'an one of the things "to do" is eat biangbiang面. The noodles are famous because of the character. And the character is famous because of its complexity. So you will commonly find even the unsimplified version there.

The question is ambiguous, but this is the least ambiguous answer I can give.

  • I doubt whether the second biang is the simplified version of the first biang: the parts wrapped inside do not correspond to each other. But again there is even some variations between the two nonsimplified version.
    – Fan Zheng
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 21:02
  • Your're right. Thanks for pointing that out, @FanZheng. It's fixed now.
    – Suragch
    Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 1:37
  • 𠔻 also mentioned in your (and they would be right) link
    – Mou某
    Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 15:40

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.

  • I understand my question was very ambiguous. I've updated it. Commented May 16, 2012 at 2:45
  • 1
    I have to say it become more complicated, maybe 蠢... means foolish.
    – lol.Wen
    Commented May 16, 2012 at 3:09
  • How about the character 龘? Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 23:39

Wikipedia does name a champion:


Although this is by no means a 'simplified' character... or is it? If you absolutely want to write it in simplified style, you'll find that ⿱龙⿰龙龙 is not in Unicode, so you'd be forced to use 龘 anyway.


𪚥 is the most complex unicode Chinese character by strokes (64).

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