Why are some characters preferred in some areas more than others? I am referring to 綫 vs 線 in Hong Kong. They mean the same thing right?

I was also reading some articles related to the Dragon Boat Festival, why is 粽 preferred, but I also see the character 糭 in some (but really rare occasions).

Would you have other examples?

  • 4
    Does this answer your question? Traditional 綫 vs. 線?
    – L Parker
    May 23, 2021 at 15:26
  • No. They are not the same, 綫 means boundary line as 前綫, 界綫, whereas 線 is the tangible thread, string line, 縫衣線, 毛線, 情牽一線. Your question is too broad, as there are regional differences, as well as differences between traditional and simplified Chinese.
    – r13
    May 23, 2021 at 18:44

1 Answer 1


This is called 异体字 and I don't know this concept in English. In the old days, there are often multiple characters for a single 字, if you know some japanese kanji, you would even find more 异体字, some even different from those in China.

  • Corresponding English concept should be spellings, e.g. favor v.s. favour, analyse v.s. analyze, and travelled v.s. traveled. The connection to kanji is fantastic!
    – Sherry869
    Jun 28, 2021 at 16:40
  • Right! It is indeed an analogy!
    – ramhuw
    Jul 2, 2021 at 8:56

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