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高手往往把面擀得薄如白纸,拌好的萝卜丝儿铺到饼上后,得再折叠两三次,要求饼熟之后表皮是透明的,能透过表皮看见萝卜丝儿。最后用刀切成块状,饼便做好了。

This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, chapter 19. What is the meaning of 块状? pieces great? pieces form? That is said by dictionaries if you search the characters 块 and 状 separately.

Otherwise, the EC dictionary says that 块状 means lump while the Pleco dictionary says it is an adjective meaning bulky or massive, but I cannot make any of these definitions make sense. Any help?

3 Answers 3

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Edit: in pieces" may imply "broken apart" I would say "in chunks" or "in blocks" sound better

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块 = piece

状 = 状态 = state

"块状" means "in pieces"

"一块块的状态" (in the state of pieces) --> "块状"(in pieces)

Since 块 can be different sharps, 状 in 块状 wouldn't mean 形状(shape), it can only be 状态 (state)

If you cut the whole thing into little squares. it would be 切成方块 (cut into square pieces) while 切成方状 (cut into square shape) would mean it became a square shape as a whole

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  • On the one hand, pieces include 片状, which is definitely not 块状. Simply saying 块状 means in pieces would be in my opinion inaccurate. On the other, 块 can be 2-dimensional shape as in 几块田地, or more commonly 3-dimensional. 块状 can be either of them, with a solid shape.
    – lilysirius
    Dec 9, 2022 at 2:40
  • yes, "in pieces" may imply "broken apart" I would say "in chunks" or "in blocks" sound better
    – Tang Ho
    Dec 9, 2022 at 3:16
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"~状" is a construction that means "having the form or appearance of". It is usually used after a noun that stands for an object with some definite and recognizable shape or form, and can thus be roughly translated as "-shaped". For example, the word for coronavirus is 冠状病毒, which glosses as "crown-shaped virus".

In this case, 块 means lumps or pieces, so 块状 is literally "lumpy-shaped", but more accurately just means "pieces" or "dice". Taken literally this construction seems redundant, but the compound is idiomatic, especially in recipes or food writing, where it might be used along with other words describing differently shaped cuts of food, like 片状 (flat, thin slices) 条状 (strips) 团状 (round globs).

In this sentence, though, I would say the instructions are a little vague and unnatural. Normally I would think of 块状 as a shape that has roughly equal dimensions (probably a few centimeters) on all sides. This would be a weird shape to cut a pancake into. Thus I think the author probably simply meant "pieces", rather than a more precise shape.

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  • 条状 and 团状 are like 方状, all have a definite shape; 状 would mean "shape" in these cases, but 块(piece) doesn't have a definite shape -- "piece shape" doesn't make sense.
    – Tang Ho
    Dec 8, 2022 at 15:07
  • @TangHo Just because the construction doesn't make literal sense, doesn't mean it's not an actual word or common usage. A quick google for "切成块状" turns up over a million pages. The word doesn't have to have the same sense as implied by its components. Insisting so would be committing an etymological fallacy, like saying "红墨水" doesn't make sense because morpheme-wise it glosses to "red sooty water".
    – Elliot Yu
    Dec 8, 2022 at 15:13
  • I consider, 状 in 块状 to be similar to the 状 in 泥状 (in the form/state of puree) e.g. 将鱼肉打成泥状 (puree the fish meat)
    – Tang Ho
    Dec 8, 2022 at 15:23
  • @TangHo Also, I don't agree that 块 is a shape any less definite than 团 or 条. I have explained in my answer that 块 does designate a shape that can be defined by certain geometrical features to the same degree as 团 and 条. I also don't believe there is a meaningful distinction in the sense of 状 as "shape" vs "state" here, because the focus is on a geometrical shape or physical state and doesn't involve the more abstract "state of being" sense.
    – Elliot Yu
    Dec 8, 2022 at 15:30
  • Consider, in this context, 块 in 块状 refers to 碎块 or 散块
    – Tang Ho
    Dec 8, 2022 at 15:35
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My opinion:

For the cake, "块" indicates a "chunk" (a square/rectangular piece) of it.

"狀", as in 形狀, means "appearance" or "shape".

Combined, 块狀 - chunk appearance/shape.

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