Can you add an illustration please and elaborate on the strokes, each one and the detailed meaning nehind it? Ie..I have held this character close to my heart and wear it on my sleeve so to speak. Tattooed on my shoulder on my 25th birthday as a landmark or signpost to commemorate it's beauty and poetic renaissance vibration in which it is for me, unbound by any dating of self or time. In this regard it is why I ask.

I understand that it also means a message as in a letter or mail and delivery method as well. A doctor of medicine said this to me in a brief passing of kindred souls communication in an honest way.

3 Answers 3


I'm afraid that you are reading much too into this. There is no "meaning behind each stroke".

「信」(Baxter-Sagart OC: /*s-ni[ŋ]-s/, sincerity) is composed of semantic「言」(speech, here vaguely hinting at honest words) and phonetic「人・亻」(/*ni[ŋ]/).


The character in question is: 信. This might not be the answer that you want, but this is how Outlier explains the character:

信 xìn contains the meaning component 言 “speech; words,” indicating the original meaning, “sincerity; honesty.” 亻 rén gives the sound.


In 信 xìn, 亻 rén is a sound component, though this is not obvious in Mandarin.

In 信, 言 “speech; words” is a meaning component, indicating “sincerity; honesty.”

Character meanings

1 (orig.) honesty
2 → to trust, to believe

3 ⇒ person who delivers letters (i.e., a trustworthy person. Only used in ancient texts)

4 ⇒⇒ letter; correspondence

5 ⇒⇒⇒ message; information





信 originally meant "honest; sincere"


made up of 人(people) and 言 (words)


Extended meanings 信 contains:

信(honest; sincere) --> 信(trust) --> 信(believe)

信(trust) --> 信(faithful)

信(sincere) --> 信(letter)

Compound words with 信 as a component:

誠信 (sincerity; honesty)

信用 (trustworthiness)

守信 (trustworthy)

相信 (believe)

信任 (trust)

信心 (confidence)

忠信 (faithful)

信仰 (faith; religious belief)

信奉 (believe in (religion/ principle))

書信 (letter)

strokes order: http://bishun.strokeorder.info/mandarin.php?q=%E4%BF%A1

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