i am working on an interactive dictionary with common Chinese characters.
I found the word 乒乓 pīngpāng, the Chinese word for ping-pong (table tennis).
I consider the graphic of the association of these two characters is very well linked to the object.
Are there any others similar Chinese words as well illustrated as that one, by the chosen characters ?

  • 1
    You do know a percentage of Chinese characters are hieroglyph/ pictogram (象形文字) , right? Most of them are simple nouns, the less evolved a character the more it looks like an illustration of the object it depicts zdic.net
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 14:06
  • Thanks :-) i know, but i am not interested by single characters. 乒 pīng and 乓 pāng are different characters, with different meanings but their association in the word 乒乓 makes graphically sens. Maybe other words like that one ?
    – faure
    Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 16:00

4 Answers 4

  • an area with many trees is called a 森林
  • something pointy (small on one end, big on the other) is called 尖
  • something that isn't right is called 歪
  • small pieces of dirt are called 尘
  • a string going through several things is 串
  • The word 森林 sēnlín is by the words i am looking for :-) Thanks a lot
    – faure
    Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 16:02

All I can think of off the top of my head:

牛羊: cattle (see the cow and goat face)

凹凸: bumps

The similarity between words and objects are most likely coincidental.

  • 1
    +1 for 凹凸: bumps
    – blackgreen
    Commented Jun 16, 2020 at 19:00

I think you are looking for a subset of Chinese characters with meaningful construction.

The classification of Chinese characters can be summarized with 六書 (Six ways of writing):

Wikipedia - Chinese character classifications

  • 象形: pictograms e.g. 日 (sun)
  • 指事: simple ideograms e.g. 一 (one), 上 (up) 下 (down)
  • 形聲: phono-semantic compound
  • 會意: compound ideograms e.g. 信 (trust) from 人 (person) + 言 (speech)
  • 轉注: derivative cognates
  • 假借: rebus (phonetic loan)
  • no :-) i am not looking for these hanzi, only words...
    – faure
    Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 16:05
  • 1
    @faure My answer implies you could look up characters belonging to these methods of construct. There are too many to list, so you could pick the ones you like on your own. Most single characters in Chinese may be classified as "words", but there are still words which consist of multiple syllables. Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 19:40
  • 1
    一一 and 上下 and 人人 and 日日 are words.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 23:30

A notable one is:

囧 (jiong3)

(and its alternative form 冏) which is used as a "sad face" emoticon. It must be noted that the original meaning of the character according to Baike is 光明。 The "sad face" meaning is an informal usage developed in online chat and texts.

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