For instance, in medical terminology, we can tease out the meaning from the words. But I cannot tell why we use 质 for proton and 荷 for charge.

2 Answers 2


質子 means 有質量的粒子 (subatomic particle with mass, in contrast with electrons which comparably have very little mass), where 質量 means mass (specifically in the field of physics). Although neutrons also have mass, they're called 中子.

荷 generically means load, burden, and in 電荷 it literally means electric load > electric charge.

  • 中子 is named so just because it's not electronic Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 2:37
  • Or rather, it has a neutral charge (compare 中立 for the general meaning of "neutrality")
    – Michaelyus
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 9:00

质 in Chinese mean inseparable (不可分割) such as 质数 (prime number)

Another explaination, 质:事物的根本特性.


Your Answer

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

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