In this question, we can clearly see the origin of 巨 is 矩, which is originally formed from 工 + 大 (corrupted into 矢). However, nowadays 巨 has lost the left hand side of 工, and so naturally the radical appears to be "匚".

Some dictionaries list 巨 as having , and some as radical. For example, Hanping (using CC-EDICT) says it's 工, but Baidu (obviously not authoritative) and Pleco say it's 匚. Even some native speakers I talked to cannot agree whether it's 工 or 匚, and some say they were taught that it is 匚 very early in education.

Is there a fairly authoritative, widely accepted source on which radical 巨 falls under?

2 Answers 2


Since radicals are dictionary headers, "what is the radical of X" is dependent on the dictionary you're looking at.

The most internationally-agreed-upon dictionary radicals for Chinese characters would be the Kangxi Dictionary, which lists it under 「工」. Thankfully, most dictionaries have sets of radicals which are derived from the Kangxi list, and most dictionaries are in agreement with Kangxi's classification.

enter image description here

My edition of Pleco doesn't list the radical as 「匚」.

enter image description here


first of all, don’t fixated on regular script (楷書), read and think on bronze script or seal script; please.

look at the components semantic tree (部件樹):

矩 is 大 + 人 + 工

enter image description hereenter image description here

in the same page, the 漢語多功能字庫 stated clearly that


roughly, the “大” separated from “工”, only the “手” is connect to “工”; which make the character “巨”

enter image description here

this picture shown such separation :)

巨 has lost the left hand side of 工, and so naturally the radical appears to be "匚".

Baidu (obviously not authoritative) and Pleco say it's 匚

only in regular script, that 巨 would appear belong to radical 匚 (radical 22), or 匸 (radical 23).

巨 in bronze script:

enter image description here

巨 in seal script:

enter image description here enter image description here

these three clearly shown the “工“ in the character “巨”

Is there a fairly authoritative, widely accepted source on which radical 巨 falls under?

as droooze said, the authoritative dictionary is 康熙字典

another one using 540 radicals is 說文解字. you may guess it, “巨” is in volume 5, (工, radical 147)

enter image description here

last, authoritative resources for etymology:



use the 漢語多功能字庫 first, compare the “pictures” of different scripts. read the etymologies (形義通解); these’re experts’ explanations in one place.

imo, it’s enough for novices, even advance users.

if one need a bigger pictures of characters in particular scripts, shift to 小學堂

have fun :)

  • @droooze , edited :) btw, don’t you think there’re more questions about etymology recently? Sep 4, 2020 at 15:20
  • 2
    Lots of questions recently, but mostly from one person. Some of them are actually really fun questions, but would take too long for me to compile a bunch of convincing research :(
    – dROOOze
    Sep 4, 2020 at 15:24
  • @droooze , yes, like a toddler asking about philosophy, astronomy or biology 😹 Sep 4, 2020 at 15:28
  • It's never too late to learn something challenging! I couldn't read any seals or 先秦 writings when I first joined this site, but that was just under 3 years ago
    – dROOOze
    Sep 4, 2020 at 15:33
  • 1
    @droooze 工多藝熟,斯之謂也 😸 Sep 4, 2020 at 15:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.