"元" means "original or first". For example, in modern Chinese, the New Year's Day is called "元旦" (yuán dàn, the first day of a year), and January or the first month of a year is called "元月" (yuán yuè).
“元”的本意为“初始的、第一的”。如，现代汉语中将新年的第一天，称为“元旦”（yuán dàn）；“一年的第一个月”称为“元月”（yuán yuè）。
"元" looks like an athletic champion opening his or her arms to greet the finish line. The short horizontal stroke on the top can be imagined as his or her head, the long horizontal stroke followed is like the opening arms, and the two strokes below act as the two feet.
In addition, it has another important basic meaning. It is the basic monetary unit of China. A price in Chinese is always composed of a number and "元", e.g. 128元 (128 yuan).
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