How to learn Chinese characters with “亻”

亻is one the most used radicals (the component of characters). “亻”, “单人旁(dān rén páng)” as we call it, stands for “人rén (people)”, and many characters with  “亻” can be associated with people. In this blog we will take a look at some frequently used characters with “亻”, and give you tips on how to memorize them.


Character /Pinyin Meaning How to memorize Examples/ Examples’ pinyin Examples’ meanings
      You (尔ěr) means “you” in ancient Chinese 你的nǐ de Yours
mén A word to put behind personal pronouns to make them plural Same pronunciation with (门mén),  a lot of people pass by a door, and therefore, 们 stands for plural 我们wǒ mén We
xiū Rest  A person (人) resting under the tree (木mù) 休息xiū Rest 
Body  木=tree, 本(běn)=the root of the tree; thus the root/basis of a person is body 身体shēn tǐ Body 
rén Kind 亻+二 – When two (二èr) people (人) get along: be kind to each other 仁慈rén cí Mercy; kind 
huà Change  Originally it was, stands for two people, one normal, and the other one upside down, and thus “change” 变化biàn huà Change
jiàn Piece  In ancient times, people’s clothes are made of animal skins, probably the skin of cow (牛niú), thus 件 is often the measure word for clothes: 一件(衣服yī fú) 一件yí jiàn One piece
wèi Position  A  person 人 knows where he should stand (立lì) or where to sit 位置wèi zhì Position/seat
使shǐ Command; use  An officer (吏lì) tells people 人 what to do, and therefore “command; use” 使用shǐ yòng Use
zuò Do/make 亻+故, (故gù) has the meaning “reason(缘故yuán  gù)”: people do(做) things because of a reason (故) 做饭zuò fàn Cook  (make a meal)
zuò Arise; Job/work; Compose 亻+乍, (乍zhà) means sudden, therefore the original meaning of 作, as a person suddenly gets up, is “arise”. Furthermore, a person needs to get up first to do his work (工作gōng zuò) 作业zuò yè Homework
xiān Immortal/god-like


God-like people are often living in the mountains, apart from the common lives 仙女xiān nǚ Fairy
xiàng Seem/like  Imagine when a blind person 人touches the part of elephant (象xiàng) and think what seems like(像)… 好像hǎo xiàng Just like
xìn Letter; trust  When a person 人is writing down his (言yán), it is a letter; when a person 人 keeps his own words 言, he is trustworthy 写信xiě xìn Write letters
jiǎn Thrifty  亻+佥:(佥qiān) relates to face (脸liǎn) a person (人) who can keep his face or get a good reputation by being thrifty (俭) 节俭jié jiǎn Thrifty, being economic
gōng Give  亻+共: (共gòng) means together, a person (人) who gives (供) other people things to use them together (共) 提供tí gōng Give, supply
zhài Debt  亻+责: (责zé) means responsibilities or blames. A lot of responsibilities and blames from other people(人), hence debts (债) 债务zhài wù Debt
jiàn Healthy 亻+建: (建jiàn) means “to build or construct”; therefore, a healthy person (人) is well-built(健) 健康jiàn kāng healthy
伙伴huǒ bàn Friend/buddy 伴=亻+半, (半bàn) means “half”, two people are the half of each other, hence “friends”. 伙=亻+火,in ancient times people gather around a fire (火huǒ) place to eat together. Therefore, 伙伴is friends who eat together and also share a lot of things with each other 好伙伴hǎo huǒ bàn Good buddy

Do you know any other Chinese characters with “亻”? Share with us below in the comment how you memorize them!

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