Without the knowledge of a character's components or radicals, I find some difficulty recalling the meaning or pronunciation of that character. I have looked at this poster containing radicals here, but cannot place which radicals comprise it. I'd appreciate any help. Thank you!

2 Answers 2


The correct term is just components. Characters aren't comprised of radicals (部首; section header). Radicals are just modern stroke-shapes used as indexing tools to mark the heading (首) of dictionary sections (部), equivalent to the first letter of an English word when you look it up in a dictionary ("A", "B", "C", etc.), and may not be related to the character at all.

Since a character isn't indexed under more than one radical in a dictionary, we also don't speak of characters having multiple radicals, just like English words don't have more than one first letter.

字形 參考資料
兼 11
兼 秝部
兼 衡方碑

「兼」 is a picture of a hand 「又」 simultaneously grasping two cereal plants 「禾禾」, indicating the meaning simultaneously, concurrently.

Be wary of the shape changes in 「兼」 over the course of history: 「又」 is still present in the middle of 「兼」 and now looks like 「⋺」, while the top of 「禾禾」 has been reduced to 「䒑」.


the main radical is 八, and the components are 䒑、⺕、八、丨 as per pleco.

For these types of questions often a dictionary is still the best choice. I am sure there are probably online ones as well if you prefer to pleco.

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