I just stumbled on 稻, and can't find more context, comparing it with other ways of calling rice. The main difference seems to be it is often used as part of "rice paddies" (稻田).

But other than that I would appreciate examples of when to use which one of all the possible ways to talk about rice, cooked, raw, grain (米粒), etc.

For example I remember from Chinese101 that 米饭 refers to cooked rice.

  • (形声。从禾,舀(yǎo)声。本义:水稻)同本义〖rice〗 其谷宜稻。——《周礼·职方氏》 浸彼稻田。——《诗·小雅·白华》 一种一年生的草本植物,在温暖气候下广泛栽培,种子用作人类主食,谷壳和其它副产品可饲养家畜,稻秆用来造纸。分水稻和旱稻,通常指水稻。子实叫谷子,碾制去壳后叫大米。有糯稻、粳稻、籼稻之分。古以粘者为稻,不粘者为粳
    – jett chen
    Aug 4, 2021 at 13:26
  • leran more baike.baidu.com/item/稻/12014984
    – jett chen
    Aug 4, 2021 at 13:27
  • 1
    @J.C. It's rice paddies, not patties. Rice patties are entirely different things.
    – monalisa
    Aug 4, 2021 at 15:59

2 Answers 2


稻/水稻, known as Asian rice, has a scientific name Oryza sativa since it is a plant:Oryza sativa

Generally we don't use this word to describe what people eat, unless in a formal context.

世界一半以上的人口以水稻为主食 (OK)

今天晚上吃水稻 (very weird)

米粒 (rice grain) is usually used when you want to describe the quality or quantity of rice:

这些米粒晶莹剔透,每颗都非常饱满 (OK)

一粒米也不剩 (OK)

今天晚上吃些米粒 (still, very weird)

米, usually describes raw rice, especially when you specify the type of rice:

大米/稻米: 大米

买十斤大米 (OK)

今天晚上吃大米 (again, weird)

米饭, since it contains 饭 (meal, food), refers to cooked rice:

今天晚上吃(大米)饭 (perfectly fine)


:the plant from which rice is harvested. Depending on the amount of water it needs to grow, there are 水稻 and 旱稻。

稻穀(谷):the grains harvested from the plant.

稻殼(売):husk/hull, the outer, inedible part of 稻穀。



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糙米:the grain without the husk.

胚芽米:the grain without the husk and bran. It's less nutritious than 糙米。

米/大米/白米:endosperm/white rice, the grain without the husk, bran, and germ. It's less nutritious than 胚芽米。 Birds eat 米, people don't.

糙米飯:飯 obtained from cooking 糙米。

飯/白飯/米飯:米cooked with proper amount of water to yield a product without visible water. One hundred grams of 米 typically yield two hundred grams of 飯。

:porridge/congee, 米cooked with more water than above to give a gooey product, usually with visible 飯粒 in it.

稀飯:it could mean 1)粥, or 2) 粥 with even more water.

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