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I know that dry is "乾燥", but according to Google Translate:

  • dried apples = 蘋果乾
  • dried apricots = 杏乾
  • dried mangosteens = 山竹果乾
  • dried durians = 榴蓮幹
  • dried yeast = 幹酵母
  • dried chickpeas = 幹鷹嘴豆
  • dried cranberries = 蔓越莓幹

What is the difference between 乾 and 幹?

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As a noun, only '乾' means 'dried product' While 幹 as a noun means 'tree trunk'. They are two different words

'乾' as an adjective means 'dry'

Both 乾 and 幹 were simplified to 干 in simplified Chinese

Sometimes when people translate simplified Chinese back to traditional Chinese 干 was wrongly translated as 幹 instead of 乾, or vice versa. For example 蘋果乾 --> 苹果干 -->蘋果幹(wrongly translate 干 as 幹 instead of 乾); 幹好工作 -->干好工作 --> 乾好工作 (wrongly translate 干 as 乾 instead of 幹)

Similarly

Both 發 and 髮 are simplified to 发

I had seen many instances of 紅髮 --> 红发 --> 紅發 (wrongly translate 发 as 發 instead of 髮)

Even Google Translate makes the same mistake enter image description here

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「乾」 (Baxter-Sagart OC: /*[k]ˤar/) is the original character meaning dry. Using 「幹」 for dry was sometimes found in history, but in Modern Chinese this should be considered a spelling mistake.

「幹」 is a corruption of 「榦」. 「榦」 is comprised of semantic 「木」 and phonetic 「倝」, indicating the meaning tree trunk, extended to mean main body > main organisation, cadre, framework > to conduct, to do. 「木」 was sometimes corrupted into 「干」 to give an additional sound hint, producing 「幹」, and this is the variant that the Taiwan and Hong Kong standards use.


「干」 depicts a two-pronged weapon, but this meaning is no longer used. Most other meanings you find with this character are phonetic loans; it is now most commonly used for the Heavenly Stems (天干地支), unless you're learning Simplified Chinese.

「乾」 is sometimes pronounced qián (OC: /*[ɡ](r)ar/), meaning sky, heaven. This is a phonetic loan.

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