This is my first post here and I apologise if this isn't quite the right forum for such a question - although I'm hopeful that it is. I'll be happy to edit and refine my question if necessary, or delete it at worst. I should also just mention that English is my only language.

I would like to know what the most appropriate translation of the phrase "Brush Stroke Order" would be in written Chinese (if it matters - although I'm lead to believe it doesn't - in a Cantonese dialect/context).

As I'm discovering, there are many ways this could be translated depending on the precise intention. Of course, there's the obvious meaning that pertains to the formalities of constructing Chinese characters, but this isn't quite what I'm after. The phrase in this particular context refers to the broader idea of the act of writing, more specifically writing well - giving literary form to ideas, refining structure, and creative flair - in any language. I expect there's no translation that would directly encompass all of these, but hopefully they act as a something of a guide.


To be clear, I'm not as interested in the obvious, "character writing" meaning of the phrase - I specifically want to focus on how it could be translated in a much wider, literary sense; the art of creative writing as a whole.

  • What do you mean by "Brush Stroke Order" and when you're using it? Are you talking about when Brushing your teeth?
    – Alex
    Jul 11, 2016 at 14:19
  • 1
    @Alex I'd hoped that the third paragraph explained the meaning enough - perhaps not. I'm not sure how much I can elaborate on "The phrase in this particular context refers to the broader idea of the act of writing, more specifically writing well - giving literary form to ideas, refining structure, and creative flair - in any language." The phrase is to be used in isolation - it's to act as the name of a stand-alone project, concerned with creative writing. Nothing to do with teeth.
    – verism
    Jul 11, 2016 at 14:22
  • with the third paragraph, it's more clear as well as confused on what you're asking on. Is it a) How to construct a chinese word / character nicely with stroke orders, or b) what you described in third paragraph? Winsmak's answer is correct for a), but not b) as they are 2 different questions indeed
    – Alex
    Jul 11, 2016 at 15:29
  • Ah I see the confusion - sorry. It's overwhelmingly option b). I only mentioned a) as it's the meaning mostly likely inferred, albeit not what I'm aiming to convey.
    – verism
    Jul 11, 2016 at 15:37
  • 1
    Literary style - 文學風格 is the closest I can come up with, but it comprises of border area I think. I am interested to see if someone can come up with a better description (both in English / Chinese)
    – Alex
    Jul 11, 2016 at 15:51

3 Answers 3


well, verism, do you want:

"name of a stand-alone project, concerned with creative writing"

"translated in a much wider, literary sense;
 the art of creative writing as a whole"

"writing well - giving literary form to ideas,
 refining structure, and creative flair"

in general, "creative writing" would be translated as "創意寫作", clearly, it's not creative enough 😼

at this moment, i would suggest "創翰作坊" as the name of your project.

坊, or 作坊 is workshop; while "創作" is creation. "翰" has several meanings: brush pen, writing, . . .

so, may i ask the importance of a translation of "brush stroke order", and why you prefer cantonese? it's possible that a more "creative" term would be made, with more information.

info added.

so, this time maybe "揸筆創撰"

"揸" is take up with fingers, "筆" is pen; "揸筆" is a cantonese term for "holding a pen".

"創" is creat, a hint of creative,"撰" is "to write, or, talent".

there're characters for "write", i choose this one for "out of the box" feel; and, for the "balance" of the cantonese pronunciation.

have fun :)

  • The third quote is ideally what I want, although the second line in the second quote is also applicable. The inclusion of "project" or "workshop" isn't absolutely necessary, but I must say I do like the crossover of 作 in 創翰作坊, and it certainly applies here. Really, the most important aspect is to convey the idea of mastering creative writing, linguistically more than calligraphic. The project owner is English, but of Cantonese descent, and will be acting as a mentor to those who wish to improve their (English) creative writing skills.
    – verism
    Jul 12, 2016 at 10:14
  • interesting project :) i edited the answer, added another "creative betray" of "brush stroke order" :) Jul 12, 2016 at 12:06

There are a lot of words and idioms that describe writing characters well, some of which involve strokes, such as 龙飞凤舞, 银钩铁划, 提按分明, 有曲有直. Also there are words describing writing compositions well or painting well like 妙笔丹青, 笔下生花, 惟妙惟肖. However none of them has anything to do with the stroke order.

  • These look like some interesting possibilities. From what I can gather, 龙飞凤舞 refers to bold or flamboyant calligraphy, while 提按分明 suggests hand control when writing - sadly neither are quite right, unless my translations are wrong. I couldn't find anything about 银钩铁划 or 有曲有直. Most interesting is 笔下生花 though, which appears to mean "to write elegantly". Is this correct, and would it denote physical or linguistic elegance, or both?
    – verism
    Jul 12, 2016 at 9:12

筆順 in pinyin bǐshùn refers to the stroke order.

My girlfriend is from Shenzhen.

  • Thank you winsmak. I'd actually come across this as an option, but its emphasis seemed tied solely to the the specifics of Chinese writing. The definition I found stated: "stroke order (when writing Chinese character)". Does it just mean this, or can it also be applied to the meaning I described? Any additional information about this would be very helpful.
    – verism
    Jul 11, 2016 at 15:07
  • @verism I very much doubt that Chinese people would create a word like 筆順 for other languages apart from Korean, Japanese or Vietnamese, it is a language that can be extremely specific when talking about their own people but very vague when referring to the wider population, they keep it short and simple. There is no stroke order like in any other languages.
    – winsmak
    Jul 11, 2016 at 15:57
  • Yeah, that's pretty much what I suspected. Thanks for the clarification.
    – verism
    Jul 11, 2016 at 16:39
  • Also 筆劃. Although it doesn't explicitly show the meaning of "order", in Cantonese, 筆劃 already implicitly contains that meaning.
    – SOFe
    Jul 12, 2016 at 6:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.