I am using Flashcards to remember vocabulary, but could not remember the meanings for these 2 words. If you have any easy mnemonic, image or story, please advise. thanks

  1. 支 zhī disperse, pay, support, branch
  2. 技 jì skill
  • 1
    支 can be "branch" as in 分支, 支流, or "support" as in 支持, 支撐, 支柱. With a hand on its side, you can think of the word as using one hand to support something, and maintaining balance requires "skill", thus "技", as in 技巧, 技術, 技能.
    – r13
    Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 3:48

1 Answer 1


支 is a hand 又 holding a bamboo branch (half of 竹, or 个). Initial meaning is branch, which became 枝; later on 支 meaning was changed to support/assist possibly because those small branches and sticks were used to help prop up against bigger objects to prevent them from collapsing or falling over.

支 is the phonetic component of 技. Unlikely there is any actual link to meaning of 技, but if you want a sort of mnemonic, you can think of it as this:

A hand holding a bamboo branch and can be manipulated skillfully, and the hand can craft many things with bamboo --> skill, craft.

  • Note 枝 has the distinct use on trees and shrubs for branches grow out of the main trunk, so wood "木" plus branch " 支" becomes 枝, as in "樹枝". It is incorrect to say 樹"支".It has no meaning of "support".
    – r13
    Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 20:27

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