speak chinese like a native

Character etymology for newbie "Pretty Clothes" 衣服

Posted by mandarinboy September 13, 2008 in the Group General Discussion .

Tags: etymology, character, newbie

Since probably more than just me wonders over the characters I thought that I as well could post my own structure of the words in the lessons. I take one word per post since otherwise the post would be too long.

New word                                

衣服   yīfu clothing               


Pinyin: yī

Meaning: clothes, clothing; cover, skin

HSK level: 1 (basic)

Frequency: 590

Strokes: 6   

Stroke animation: (the strokes are drawn the direction the picture is tipping)



Etymology: The picture shows on the top the outer garments with sleeves and the bottom the flowing robes.



You have probably seems the Chinese cloths with the big hanging sleeves:




Stroke order animation: http://www.yellowbridge.com/chinese/character-stroke-order.php?searchChinese=1&zi=%E8%A1%A3

 Is a radical. Combined with other characters parts it denotes something with clothes.

jiā Buddhist monks robe          

Notes, when the radical is on the left in a character it changes shape to this:

chèn underwear; inner garments

Gives pronunciation to other characters, such asrely on, consent, obey a wish (here it is the person that is the radical)

Example words:

Example words:

洗衣机 xǐ yī jī washer / washing machine 
内衣 nèi yī undergarment / underwear 
睡衣 shuì yī night clothes / pajamas 
衣装 yī zhuāng garment 
雨衣 yǔ yī raincoat 
衬衣 chèn yī shirt 
救生衣 jiù shēng yī life jacket / life vest 
洗衣店 xǐ yī diàn laundry-shop 
戎衣 róng yī military uniform 

衣厨 yī chú wardrobe

衣架 yī jià clothes-hanger clothes-rack  



Meaning: clothes; wear, dress

HSL level: 1 (basic)

Frequency: 357

Strokes: 8   


Stroke animation: (the strokes are drawn the direction the picture is tipping)







Etymology: This is a tricky one, especially since the left part (moon) has replaced the original boat part. The lower right part, is a hand (think of the lower right part as the arm and the three other as fingers). To the left of that is a seal part. In ancient China seals where used to sign important government documents so this represents to govern or to be governed. The character really looks like a Chinese seal. The left part is nowadays a representation of the moon but where from the beginning a boat. So, this is the action of the boat under the direction of the captain to yield, to assent to, to be attached to, just like a girdle and that leads us to clothes.

The moon part is the radical

Other words with this character:

服务 fú wù to serve / service 

舒服 shū fu comfortable / feeling well 

佩服 pèi fú admire 

倾服 qīng fú to admire

服用 fú yòng to take (medicine) 

服务业 fú wù yè service industry 

服药 fú yào to take drugs 

服务费 fú wù fèi service charge / cover charge 

工作服 gōng zuò fú work clothes 

运动服 yùn dòng fú sportswear 

服务台 fú wù tái service desk / information desk / reception desk 

服刑 fú xíng to serve a prison sentence 

服气 fú qì to convince 

脱衣服 tuō yī fú undress 

女服务员 nǚ fú wù yuán stewardess,female clerk 

男服务员 nán fú wù yuán steward / male clerk / male flight attendant 

使人信服 shǐ rén xìn fú convincing 

使信服 shǐ xìn fú to convince 



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