Some pairs of Chinese words have the same characters, but in a different order. In English, I would describe such a pair as anagrams . What is the equivalent Chinese term for such pairs of words?

Examples: 牙刷-刷牙;人工-工人;合适-适合.

1 Answer 1


Some are different meaning words (不同義詞) created by switching two characters' order


牙刷 (n): toothbrush

刷(v)牙(n): brush teeth (刷 and 牙 are two words [v + n])

人工(adj): artificial

工人(n): worker

中心(n): center

心(n)中(preposition): in the heart

Some are reversible compound words (可逆复合词). In most cases, the two characters in reversible compound words share similar meanings


合适 = 适合 = suitable

愛情 = 情愛 = love

浸沈 = 沈浸 = immerse

鬥爭 = 爭鬥 = struggle; fight

連結 = 結連 = connect; link

  • Is there a specific Chinese term used to refer a pair of such words? Mar 10 at 3:28
  • unrelated words = 不相关词; reversible compound words = 可逆复合词
    – Tang Ho
    Mar 10 at 3:32
  • 蜜蜂 mìfēng (honeybee) and 蜂蜜 fēngmì (honey) come to mind as well Mar 15 at 0:54
  • Saying 蜜蜂 and 蜂蜜 are "unrelated words" (不相关词) might leave room for argument. I am changing it to "different meaning words (不同義詞)" in my answer
    – Tang Ho
    Mar 15 at 1:00

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