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Say It Right Series

Character etymology for Elementary - Checking Baggage 给

Posted by mandarinboy September 17, 2008 in the Group General Discussion.

Tags: etymology,

Today we look at a common and useful character gěi (to give)


Traditional form: 
Pinyin: gěi

Meaning: to give / for / for the benefit of / to let / to allow / used after a verb to indicate "giving"

Frequency: 212

Strokes: 9


纟 sī silk + hé unite,combine, collect

Radical part:

Alternative forms of radical: none

Radical meaning: silk

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




The left part:   means silk. In the original form the character looked like this: 

What we se is two silkworm cocoons and in the bottom some silk thread used to build the cocoons. The right part is An inverted mouth 亼 talking to another mouth 口 =to combine, to unite,to gather ,to collect. Unity and harmony among friends often requires gifts and silk have always been treated as one of the most pressures items so what can be better than give silk as an gift. To give also means to provide or supply. So, to get unity we need to GIVE some gifts and that happens to be silk.

Link to nciku usage of the character (examples, sound etc)

Example words:

带给 dài gěi to carry to 
献给 xiàn gěi present to / offer to 
寄给 jì gěi to send to 
转给 zhuǎn gěi to pass on to 
捐给 juān gěi to donate 
补给船 bǔ jǐ chuán supply ship 
给以 gěi yǐ give / grant

The tricky part:

There are actually one alternative pronunciation and meaning of this character:


verb: to provide

adjective: sufficient

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