I'm trying to learn the few remaining HSK5 words I haven't fully learned yet. This one I keep forgetting:

周到 (zhōu​dào / zhōu​dao)
CC-CEDICT: thoughtful / considerate / attentive / thorough

It would help to understand the underlying logic here, but I can't figure it out: 周到 seems like the combinations of two random characters.

周 (zhōu)
CC-CEDICT: to make a circuit / to circle / circle / circumference / lap / cycle / complete / all / all over / thorough / to help financially

到 (​dào)
CC-CEDICT: to (a place) / until (a time) / up to / to go / to arrive / (verb complement denoting completion or result of an action)

I get nothing from this, and googling 周到 etymology didn't give anything useful.

Question: How does 周到 mean "thoughtful"?

3 Answers 3


周 can be taken as 周边 or 四周(everywhere around).

到 can be 到达(reached or arrived).

周到,as a whole, can be understood as reached everywhere around.

So, metaphorically, "reached everywhere" suggests "having considered all the aspects", hence "it's thoughtful".

In Chinese, we say: 周到代表''围四周都照顾''了。It's close to the English word "thoughtful".


Sorry I don't know this word's etymology. But maybe understand the synonym helps to remember.

As far as I know, 周到 has nearly the same meaning as 面面俱到(miàn miàn jù dào). 周 (zhōu) is like 面面(miàn miàn), meaning in almost all aspects; and 到 (​dào) means taking care of it. So that 周到 means taking care of all aspects, that is thoughtful.

  • 1
    That is right. 周到 means 方面都照顾. @Becky 李蓓♦ As you mentioned, 周 (zhōu) has the meaning of thorough, in 方面. 到 is in 照顾. Why 周 has the meaning of thorough (周到) and to help financially (周转资金)? Because the basic meaning of 周 is making it circle, a angle of 360°. 周到 is planning something in all aspects/perspectives (360°) and planning it deeply. 周转 is transferring funds to help someone, i.e., transferring funds to make it a loop.
    – Bósài
    Dec 19, 2020 at 3:14

周 - everywhere (all aspects)

到 - reach (attend to)

周到 (attended to all aspect) = thoughtful / considerate / attentive / thorough


服务周到; 服待周到 (attentive service)

想得周到 (think of everything - not missing anything)

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