Are these words perfectly synonymous, or are there rules to distinguish them? Google Ngram shows that they're all used with about the same frequency.

I don't like it when several different words have the same meaning because I'm forced to learn each of them if I don't wanna look stupid when someone uses the one I don't know.

3 Answers 3


走路, 行走, and 步行 all mean 'walk'

走路 emphasizes the 'traveling a distance on foot' aspect. e.g. 走路去要十分鐘 (traveling on foot need 10 minutes)

行走 emphasizes the 'moving' aspect. e.g. 御前待衞可以在禁宮行走 (Royal guards could walk (move) around within the Forbidden City); 電動車充一次電祇能行走五十公里 (Electric vehicles can only run for (move) 50 kilometers on one charge)

步行 emphasizes 'the act of walking (use of legs/ by foot)' aspect. e.g. 病臥床上,不能步行 (sick on bed, can no longer walk)

  • If you walk a distance to a destination, you should use 走路 or 步行

  • If you are walking (moving around) in an area, you should use 行走

  • If you are doing the action of walking (a few steps attempt or a few miles travel) you should use 步行

More examples:

走路上京 (go to the capital on foot)

行走江湖 (traveling around the country)

步行健身 (walking for fitness)

You cannot say 行走上京,走路江湖, 步行江湖, 走路健身,行走健身

步行上京 (go to the capital by foot) is acceptable, but 上京 implies a long distance travel, it is better to use 走路 in this instance. Meanwhile 步行到街口 is better than 走路到街口

  • 1
    I think it should be : Associate 行走 with "movement (including walking and other means) in area or distance", 走路 with "to travel on foot", and 步行 with "bipedally walking "
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 20:46
  • 1
    行走 implies you freely move within/around an area or on a path
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 20:58
  • 1
    Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "to traverse": (intransitive verb) 1 : to move back and forth or from side to side. I would add "freely" to this definition for 行走. So it could be "to freely traverse"
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 21:04
  • 1
    御前待衞可以在禁宮行走, 電動車充一次電祇能行走五十公里 and 行走江湖 are good examples for the Cambridge dictionary definition of "to traverse":
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 21:11
  • 1
    The more we discussed about 行走, the more I convinced those questionnaires were wrong to use 行走
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 21:17

1、走路和步行的意思最为接近,可为同义词,只是走路比较口语化。 2、行走的意思不一定就是用足或脚来移动,比如:船行走在海上/火车行走在铁轨上。还有一个名词“走行件/部”,如:转向架是火车的走行件。指直接参与运动并影响运动状况的部分。 3、徒步一般专指运动项目。 4、制作指的是以手工为主,制造指的是用工具或设备。我们不会说:制作了汽车或制造了蛋糕。

  • 1
    Hi leb, welcome to Chinese Language. Not all users of this site are fluent in Chinese. It would be more helpful if you wrote your answers in English, along with examples in Chinese.
    – blackgreen
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 10:44

Almost no differences, you can use them interchangeablely.

走路 walk + road

行走 moving + walk

步行 step + walk

徒步 only steps

All these four expressions mean the same. They are synonyms. You can use them interchangeablely.

I don't like it when several different words have the same meaning

It does not matter whether you like it or not. There are words with exactly the same meaning. This is how languages work.

How do you go to school?

A. I walk to school.

B. I go to school on foot.

Anything different?


A. 我走路去上学。

B. 我步行去上学。

C. 我徒步去上学。

D. 我行走去上学。

Anything different?

While some people may try to find out some differences, I have to say. Those are only the differences in their local dialects. China is a big country, so the expression may vary from place to place. In some dialects, 走路 may even mean to “go on the road” (by car, ship, metro, bike, etc)

Here are the examples:


  • 我行走去上学 is weird
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 16:48
  • When people reply "There's no difference" , I would always look closer to find some. IMO, There's always some difference between synonyms. No matter how slight a difference is , it is still a difference
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 16:56
  • @TangHo That's your problem. Actually, most of the questionnaires use this expression. 出行方式: 1. 行走 2. 自行车 3. 公交 4. 地铁
    – Victor
    Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 17:06
  • @TangHo When people say there are differences, I have to say “no, that's just your dialect problem”
    – Victor
    Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 17:10
  • I disagree with the person who decided to use 行走 instead of 步行 in the questionnaires
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 18:02

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