The symbol “~” appears in many definitions. What does it mean? Examples:

2   纯;专:专~。~心~意。


1   头的前部,脸:脸~。颜~。~目。~~相觑。 


2   旧时指读书人:~子。~民。学~。


UPDATE: And, what does it mean when there are two consecutive swung dashes? Such as in: “~~相觑。”

  • 1
    it stands for repeated head word in dictionary entries, see dictionary's "Guide to the Use of the Dictionary": "~ represents the word of each entry"
    – user6065
    Jun 12, 2019 at 15:37
  • 1
    note ~ represents the head word, which need not be a single character, e.g.气量,。。。他~大,他~小,混 ~合(=混合)。。。~饲料(=混合饲料)
    – user6065
    Jun 12, 2019 at 17:56

1 Answer 1


The use of this swung dash means the entry character or word is used in the corresponding words.

2 旧时指读书人:~子。~民。学~。

... is equivalent to:

2 In olden times, refers to educated people. 士子。士民。学士。

This is a common typographical convention, used in many dictionaries globally, including in English.

EDIT: for reduplication or for other forms of repeat of the entry, the swung dash is often repeated, viz for 面

~ ~ 相觑

... is equivalent to


  • Thanks. What about when there are two consecutive swung dashes. Such as in: 头的前部,脸:脸~。颜~。~目。~~相觑。
    – Xa1
    Jun 12, 2019 at 16:07
  • 1
    how about "each instance of ~represents one instance of head word of entry" ? e.g. ,。。。。。,~~相觑=面面相觑
    – user6065
    Jun 12, 2019 at 17:34
  • @user6065 Good point; have edited my answer.
    – Michaelyus
    Jun 13, 2019 at 8:20

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