Thank you in advance or your help. I am working on a small word puzzle in which the puzzle's creator uses some Mandarin characters. There is one that I have not been able to identify. It might be a character with a meaning on its own, or it might be a radical. It might be flipped in reverse. There are no other strokes near this character or radical.

I think there are 3 likely options:

  1. This character has no meaning and is simply meant to look like a Chinese character by imitating the strokes.
  2. This character does have a meaning on its own, without any other strokes or characters added.
  3. This is a radical that is part of a character, and that character has a meaning. My guess is that this will be the correct option, but that is just a guess.

In trying to identify this character, I do not know whether it matters that the vertical stroke peeks out above the horizontal stroke. I do not know if it matters that the left side of the horizontal stroke is longer than the right side.

Thank you so much in advance for your help. As you can see, with my level of knowledge, it would be difficult for me to identify the correct character or radical. If it is a radical, it would then be tough for me to determine whether there are many characters that use this radical.


It is not a Chinese radical. None of the two-strokes radical looks like it

  1. You can see it as the combination of two strokes/ radicals

Radical #1 一

Radical #6 亅

  1. You can see it as the character 寸 (also the radical #41 itself) missing a dot 丶 (丶 is also the radical #3)

Notice: It is not the character 丁 (the radical of 丁 is 一 )

Side note: If it is offered as a riddle, my answer would be 一寸少一点 (one inch minus a dot) = slightly less than an inch; 一点 (a dot) can also mean 'a little'

  • Thank you very much. That makes sense. Some follow-up questions if you or some else is able to help me clarify some things that will help me. Cun, 寸, was one of my most likely options. Another was Cai, 才, and also Ke, 可. I assume that 可 is not similar enough to the image since the vertical stroke does not peek out above the horizontal stroke in 可. My question now is: Do 寸 and 才 come from the same source, even if the term for it is not a radical? Are there any other characters that use it? Thank you very much.
    – Alex7
    Apr 6 at 5:25
  • @ Alex7 The radical of 寸 is 寸(#41); The radical of 才 is 扌 (#64). 寸 and 才 are two characters that happen to share two same strokes in the same order, similar to 'dot' and 'dog' share the two same alphabets in the same order.
    – Tang Ho
    Apr 6 at 5:41
  • Quote: Are there any other characters that use it -- All the characters from 寸 radical; 寸:對寺尋導壽封射將尉尊
    – Tang Ho
    Apr 6 at 5:50
  • Thank you for that detailed response. Based on all of this, my top guess is that the image is based on 寸. I cannot completely rule out other characters that use the same two strokes because I don't know that this puzzle's creator was thinking in terms of radicals rather than strokes and visual similarities, but I will focus on 寸. If my ignorant top choice was cun, and your informed first response was too, that is a good indication that cun is the intended character. Thank you!
    – Alex7
    Apr 6 at 6:00
  • Okay, last question. Thank you for your time and expertise. This is a tremendous help. The way the puzzle is working out, 可 might actually be the correct character. Does the fact that the vertical stroke (radical 6) in the image extend above the horizontal stroke (radical 1) prevent this image from being part of 可? It appears to me that this would eliminate 可 as a possibility, but I don't know whether that extra part of the vertical stroke would be considered poor penmanship in Mandarin. Thank you!
    – Alex7
    Apr 6 at 6:55

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