护, 乎, 湖, 忽, and 壶
I've decided to scrap the idea of scheduled "theme days," instead just letting things fall where they may. Whimsy is a powerful driving force!
We'll start with 护 [hù], which means "protect." This character is found in lots of words, and all of them revolve around protection and guarding. 保护 [bǎohù] means "to protect" or "to safeguard," while 护士 [hùshi] means "nurse" -- literally, "a person trained to protect." In parks around China, you'll often see the word 爱护 [àihù] "to cherish, to take good care of" on signs asking people not to walk on the grass, trample flowers, etc. Radical: 手 (64). Components: 扌户. Strokes: 7.
Next we have a strange little character, 乎 [hū]. According to my dictionary, it is/was used in literary Chinese as a particle expressing surprise or admiration. In my experience, its most commonly seen as part of the adverbs 似乎 [sìhū] -- "it seems, seemingly" and 几乎 [jīhū] -- "nearly, almost" -- as well as the verb 在乎 [zàihu] -- "to care about, to mind." Radical: 丿 (4). Components: 丿. Strokes: 5.
Our hump character for today is 湖 [hú] -- "lake." Not surprisingly, the character is featured in words referring to lakes, and is generally found at the end of the names of lakes (i.e., Hangzhou's famous West Lake is 西湖 [xīhú]). Some other lake-related words include 湖泊 [húpō] -- "lakes" and 湖滨 [húbīn] -- "lakeside." Radical: 水 (85). Components: 氵胡. Strokes: 12.
Fourth we have 忽 [hū], which as an adverb can mean "suddenly," and which in compounds often means "neglect" or "overlook." I frequently encounter it in the words 忽然 [hūrán] -- "suddenly" and 忽视 [hūshì] -- "to ignore" or "to overlook." A slightly more literary form of 忽视 is 忽略 [hūlüè], which has basically the same meaning. Radical: 心 (61). Components: 勿心. Strokes: 8.
Bringing up the rear is our last 'hu' of the day, 壶 [hú] -- "kettle" or "bottle." This is a simple noun, and is found in words describing various kinds of kettles, pots, or bottles. One that is frequently encountered in China is the 茶壶 [cháhú] -- "teapot." 水壶 [shuǐhú] is a "water bottle" or "canteen," and can be used to refer to those little sports squeeze bottle that people take to the gym or attach to their bikes. Radical: 士 (33). Components: 士冖业. Strokes: 10.
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