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Chinlingo Chinese character: 呆

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As showed by itself, "呆" (dāi) means "dull or silly". It is an up-down structured character. "口" (kǒu, mouth) at the top looks like a square head, indicating "stiff and rigid", while "木" (mù, wood or treeat the bottom resembles the rigid shoulders, hands and feet of a person. As an adjective, "呆" is usually used to describe a person.

"呆" (dāi)是一个表里如一的汉字。它的字形和字义都充分展示了笨拙的风采。"呆"上下结构。上部为"口"犹如人的四方脑袋,规规矩矩,显得古板。下部为"木",状如人僵直的肩膀、双手和脚。"呆"是形容词,意思是指不灵活的、傻笨的。常常用来形容人。


In modern Chinese, "a dull person" is called "呆子" (dāi zi). In addition, to show a vivid image of "呆", some characters referring to animals or plants are used together with it. For example, "呆鸟" (dāi niǎo) and "呆瓜" (dāi ɡuā) are often used in spoken Chinese to describe a "rigid and inflexible person".

现代汉语中称"头脑迟钝的人"为"呆子"(dāi zi )。现代汉语还借助动植物的形象来修饰"呆"的程度。口语里就常用,"呆鸟"(dāi niǎo)、"呆瓜"(dāi ɡuā)来形容不会变通的人。


Words containing "呆" are basically derogatory. When they are used, pay attention to the contexts and emotions to avoid misunderstanding.


The character "呆" is composed of two components: 口 and 木. Let's take a look at their meanings. 

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"口" (kǒu), meaning "mouth" originally, looks like an opening mouth. In modern Chinese, it also usually means "the entrance or opening of something", as showed in the words "门口" (mén kǒu, doorway), "出口" (chū kǒu, exit) and "港口" (ɡǎnɡ kǒu, port).

张嘴即是"口(kǒu)"。汉字"口(kǒu)"的字形看起来就像张开的嘴巴。其本义为"嘴"。在现代汉语中,"口(kǒu)"还常常表示进出、通过的地方,如单词"门口(mén kǒu)"、"出口(chū kǒu)"、"港口(ɡǎnɡ kǒu )"。


In addition, "口" is an important radical of other characters. For example, "吃" (chī), left-right structured, means "eat"; "吹" (chuī), left-right structured as well, means "blow"; "吞" (tūn), up-down structured, means "swallow".

"口(kǒu)"也是重要的偏旁。与其组合而成的常用字有:  "吃(chī) ",左右结构,指"把东西放进嘴里咽下"。"吹(chuī)",左右结构,指"合拢嘴唇用力出气"。"吞"上下结构,指"不用嘴细嚼而咽下"。

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"木" (mù) meant "tree" originally. It is the general name for trees in modern Chinese. It also means "wood or wood products". For example, the word "木材" (mù cái) refers to roughly-processed wood materials.

"木(mù)"的本义是树木,在现代汉语中,它是树类植物的通称;"木(mù)"还有木料,木制品的意思,如单词"木材(mù cái)"指的是经过初步加工的木质材料。


A tree could not be moved after taking root in the soil. Thus, ancient Chinese people extended the meaning of "木" (mù) to describe someone who is clumsy, wooden-headed, or dumb. For example, the word, "木讷" (mù nè) "means "inarticulate and hesitant to speak".

由于树木植根土壤后就无法移动。中国古人引申此意,利用"木(mù)"来形容人的行动迟缓、笨拙,不善于说话。如单词,"木讷(mù nè)"指的是没有口才的人


Also, "木" (mù) can be used as a radical to form new characters basically related to wood or trees. For example, "林" (lín) is made up of two "木"s side by side, portraying a large number of trees in a stretch of land; "森" (sēn), comprising three "木"s in the pyramid shape, also refers to a large number of trees. When combined, "林" and "森" become the word "森林" (sēn lín) in Chinese, meaning "forest".  

"木(mù)"也是汉字的一个部首。以"木(mù)"作为部首的汉字多与树木有关。如:"林(lín)",字形是左右结构,由两个"木"组成。形象地指长在一片土地上的许多树木。"森"(sēn),字形是品字结构,由三个"木"组成。指的是树木众多、茂密。"林"和"森"组合起来,就是常用词语——"森林"(sēn lín)。

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