I met the word 唰 shua1 in a Xi Yang Yang book as the sound 唰唰 one character makes while eating. Two sources agree it is "onomat. quick slick up." I don't know the English "quick slick up." Google translate makes a plausible but unclear suggestion of shabu shabu for 唰唰.

What is this word?

Here is the context. Lazy lamb is enjoying a snack. The panel caption tells us this is outside of the sheep village school, with a light breeze blowing (羊村“教室外,风儿轻轻吹过).


  • The sound of swoosh as in 鳥兒唰地一下飛了過去 (That bird swooshes through).
    – George
    Aug 21, 2013 at 3:48
  • Seriously, I don't know whether it's proper to learn Chinese from Xi Yang Yang books, as they're written for very very young children.
    – Stan
    Aug 21, 2013 at 7:42
  • Show us the original text or photo, so we can discuss more out of it.
    – George
    Aug 21, 2013 at 14:13
  • @Stan Have you looked at them? I was expecting simple vocabulary, as found in say French or Italian children's books which I enjoyed when i began reading those languages. But these books are written to be read to children and not by them. Seeing Growler's answer I find this use of 唰 very sophisticated, cleverly relying on the mouth radical, and not a child-level character. Aug 22, 2013 at 14:55
  • @ColinMcLarty That's easy, click "edit", then click the sixth (beginning from the left) icon on the tool bar, shaped like a photo, a window pops up, chose "From my computer" -> "Choose File" -> "Add picture". System will generate a link for the uploaded image and cite it similar to a webpage link.
    – George
    Aug 22, 2013 at 15:17

2 Answers 2


baike.com describes it as "swiftly" or "swish"... I believe it is indeed onomatopoeia.

唰 <形> - Adverb

形容迅速的样子 【swiftly】。如:唰地一下跳上墙;唰溜溜(形容极其迅速);唰啦(形容迅疾)

Describes "swiftly" or "quickly" doing something. Like to "swiftly" jump on the wall.

唰 <象> - Adjective for sound

形容迅速擦过去的声音 【swish】。如:唰唰;唰喇喇

Or describes a sound, to "swish" by something.

  • So it is the sound lazy lamb makes as his snacks swiftly swish through his mouth. Aug 20, 2013 at 21:10
  • @ColinMcLarty haha yes I suppose so
    – user3871
    Aug 20, 2013 at 21:11
  • 2
    @ColinMcLarty FYI, "shabu shabu" means "swish swish" in Japanese (and, by extension, a type of dish) Aug 20, 2013 at 22:26
  • 1
    @StumpyJoePete kind of reach, but maybe Ocarina of time's Jabu Jabu (es.zelda.wikia.com/wiki/En_la_Tripa_de_Jabu-Jabu) is an extension of Shabu Shabu? :D
    – user3871
    Aug 20, 2013 at 22:44

唰者 亦「𠴪」之正體也

唰 is considered as the standard for its variant 「𠴪」

  • 廣韻.入聲.薛韻 謂之曰 「𠴪 鳥理毛也 所劣切」 From a dictionary, '𠴪 is the act of a bird combing through her feather, consonant following 所, vowel following 劣'.

  • 集韻.入聲.薛韻 謂之曰 「唰 鳥治毛也」 Another dictionary puts it this way: '唰 is the act of a bird combing through her feather'.

  • 字彙.口部 謂之曰 「唰 所劣切 音刷 鳥理毛也 𠴪 同上」 Yet another dictionary shows that '唰 consonant following 所, vowel following 劣, sounded as 刷, is the act of a bird combing through her feather. 𠴪 ditto'.

  • 正字通.口部 謂之曰 「𠴪 同唰」 And another dictionary tells that '𠴪 is same as 唰'.

  • 康熙字典.口部 謂之曰 「𠴪 廣韻所劣切 音刷 鳥理毛也 按 廣韻有「𠴪」無「唰」 玉篇 集韻 類篇有「唰」無「𠴪」 實即一字 譌分為二」 This famous dictionary also says something about it: '𠴪 as shown in 廣韻, is the act of a bird combing through her feather, consonant following 所, vowel following 劣, sounded as 刷, editor's note: in 廣韻 there is an entry for 𠴪 but not 唰; while in anyone of these 玉篇, 集韻, 類篇 唰 has an entry but 𠴪 does not. Thus these two are indeed one characters, somehow split into two versions.' Scanned page of 康熙字典.同文書局版.口部.唰𠴪二字.口部:



台灣教育部異體字字典 (Ministry of Education, Taiwan)


Please leave comment when you have questions.

  • 1
    𠴪, UTF encoding: U+20D2A. Is this character unable to render properly on your PC? BTW, comprehensive answer +1. But I don't think it's necessary to post the whole page of 康熙字典, you can simply leave a link to that source.
    – Stan
    Aug 21, 2013 at 16:02
  • Thanks for 𠴪's encoding! Just wanna give a image without any website link on it. 有圖有真相嘛 哈哈
    – George
    Aug 21, 2013 at 16:15
  • What does it mean to say "consonant following 所, vowel following 劣"? Aug 22, 2013 at 2:10
  • 1
    @ColinMcLarty, in today's system, it can be seen as s (所 suo) + ie (劣 lie) = sie (extinct already), somehow it evolves into 數滑切 sh (shu 數) + ua (hua 滑)= shua
    – George
    Aug 22, 2013 at 2:25
  • I had not seen such decomposition of characters into vowel and consonant. What is a good reference for it? Aug 22, 2013 at 14:46

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