The word 健忘 looks like a contradictio in adiecto: "healthy" + "forget". Am I missing something?


2 Answers 2


健 in this word means to be good at, to be skilled at.

健忘 means to be good at forgetting > forgetful.

  • So, indeed, 健 is ironic here, because forgetting is not a trained skill to be good at?
    – user22495
    Oct 5, 2019 at 10:49
  • @user22495 To Chinese speakers there's no irony because 健's meaning has changed. It's like "natural makeup" or "accurate stereotype".
    – 范阮煌
    Oct 7, 2019 at 2:02

健 is not meaning healthy,it means "good at something",like 健谈 means good at talking,康in健康means fine,healthy

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