I know the literal meaning of 头, but I'm confused about what it mean and what it's function is when it is placed in this structure.

头一次遇到 I wrote is not a complete sentence, but 一次遇到 here means the first time (I) met....

  • 1
    means 第一次遇到, 头 means from the start to count
    – wolfrevo
    Aug 26 '17 at 15:15
  • "现代汉语词典",头:(8)第一:~等|~号(9)领头的:次序居先的:~车|~马|~羊(10)用在数量词前面,表示次序在前的:~趟|~一遍|~半本|~几个|~三天(=前面的三天)
    – user6065
    Aug 26 '17 at 15:31
  • also note synonyms: 首次,初次,第一次,"antonym" 其次
    – user6065
    Aug 27 '17 at 13:03

头 not only means 'head'.It also means 'the first order',also means 'leader' , 'the first class','the beginning'etc. Because(actually my guess) in Chinese culture, head is the first and important part of the human body.

You can also say"头三个人",which means, the first three people. Another example is '头排',which means 'the first row'. Here '一' is missing because generally '头'and '一' refers to the same meaning. You can replace '头'by'第'sometimes. e.p. you can say either '头一次遇到' or '第一次遇到'. BUT! '头三个人' and '第三个人' have different meanings. '第三个人' means the third person.

  • Well, you can say 头一排 and the same as 头一次遇到, where you can also say 头次遇到 or 初次遇到. 头三个 and 前三个 mean the same.
    – dan
    Aug 26 '17 at 20:30
  • Yes, absolutely.. Just don't want to repeat too many similar examples :)
    – Ran
    Aug 27 '17 at 14:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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