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Say It Right Series

Character etymology for 日 (rì,sun; day)

Posted by mandarinboy September 25, 2008 in the Group General Discussion.

Tags: etymology, sun,

We have before mentioned that most characters are build up from smaller parts, radicals. Today I meant to write about a more complex and highly frequent character but to be able to do that I first need to start with the parts that the character is build from. I start with .


Traditional form: 

Meaning: sun,day

Frequency: 67

Strokes: 4



Radical part:

Alternative forms of radical

Radical meaning: sun,day

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



This is a character that have looked pretty much the same during history.






It is basically the sun with the aura around it. There have been small variants like:







One early seal character that I find very interesting is this one:






In the next post we will talk about foot. This character form is having a foot inside the sun describing the suns movement over the sky.

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


Example words: 

日本 Rì běn Japan / Japanese 
日期 rì qī date 
生日 shēng rì birthday 
日报 rì bào daily newspaper 
当日 dāng rì that very day / the same day 
节日 jié rì
平日 píng rì an ordinary day 
日照 rì zhào sunshine 
日式 Rì shì Japanese style 
同日 tóng rì same day / simultaneous 
出生日期 chū shēng rì qī date of birth 
每日 měi rì daily

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