I know that 鐘 means clock so am I right in saying that 鐘頭 means head of clock which becomes hour?

If it's the head of the clock, is it referring to the minute hand being at the '12' (I.e the top of the clock?)

If so that would be very intuitive and makes me appreciate the Chinese language further!

  • 1
    cf.Yip Po-Ching, The C. Lexicon (abbr.): suffix 头 whole or part reminisc. "head", confined concrete nouns. No way of telling why some abstract nouns also have 头 just as 子。Transf. meanings "head" i.e. "end,target", etc. subconsc. at wk. 小马词典 lists 586 compounds, below from CL: concrete:锄头,木头,芋头,舌头,骨头,浪头,砖头,馒头,指头,浪头 abstract: 年头,钟头(colloq.),苦头,奔头儿,念头,噱头,甜头,想头(colloq.),看头(colloq.)
    – user6065
    Aug 23, 2017 at 10:11
  • 鐘頭 means no fractions. 3 个鐘頭 means exactly 3 hours. Aug 24, 2017 at 0:40

2 Answers 2


I think you got the idea of 鐘 means clock and 頭 means beginning. It means the beginning of a 60 min cycle in the clock. So it turns to mean hours.


I think it means nothing here, I mean the character'头'. There are many Chinese words that end with '头',which has nothing to do with the real meaning of the words. e.p.'想头','甜头',‘念头’,‘年头’ If you really can't get used to this word, change it to '小时' instead. It's a more formal way to say 'hour'.

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