Google says it means "you" and is pronounced "mí"

Wiktionary says it is "you" but only for deity and pronounced “nǐ”

My pinyin input method offers it for "mi" or "ni"

CEDICT makes it a "memorial tablet in a temple commemorating a deceased father"(or a surname) and pronounced "mǐ"

I'm guessing all three meanings are correct, but that would mean at least one of the pronunciations is wrong (since Google and Wiktionary give it the same meaning with different sounds).

  • Wiktionary puts definitions on the page for the traditional character, where available. So the definition of "memorial tablet" is on the page for the traditional character 禰. 祢 when meaning "you" does not have a traditional variant, so that's why the page for 祢 only says "you".
    – mic
    Aug 27, 2020 at 13:34

3 Answers 3


新华字典 only gives mí, meaning the temple of one's deceased father, an ancient word.

Also in some Christian texts, 祢 is used as a variant of 你 to address the god, I'm not sure but I think it's because the character 祢 happens to be 神 and 你 combined. In this case, of course, it's pronounced same as 你.

Neither meaning is widely used today. In fact, the most possible place where you may still see this charactor is 祢衡, name of a Chinese historical figure.

  • I think 他 & 你 are probably etymologically correct. The forms for female and deity are probably coinings later by people who thought that they needed their own "words."
    – 伟思礼
    Oct 27, 2017 at 14:32
  • 她 was created in about 1920, less than 100 years ago, under the influence of western "she". Before that, 他 was used for both genders. Oct 28, 2017 at 3:48

你 and 祢 are pronounced nǐ. Just like 他 她 祂 ,which are pronounced tā.祢and祂 are formal callings for gods. These two words can also be changed by 他 你 in some informal occasions. Frankly speaking, these formal words are not used very frequently.


There are some personal pronouns in traditional Chinese:
我: I, me.
你: you, for male. 妳: you, for female. 祢: you, for god, nymph, etc.
他: he, him, for male. 她: she, her, for female. 祂: he or she, for god, nymph, etc.
它: it, for lifeless, 牠: it, for any animals, except human.

They changed to English style in simplified Chinese:
我: I, me.
你: you.
他: he, him. 她: she, her.
它: it.

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