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Chinlingo Chinese character: 手

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Hold out your right hand, and look at the palm. Have you seen the palm lines and wrinkles? In fact, it's an art to know about the knowledge. Most people have three horizontal and legible lines in either palm, as well as a vertical line intercrossing the three horizontal ones. These three horizontal strokes and the vertical stroke make up the character "手" (shǒu).


In modern Chinese, many words are related to "手". For example, based on its original meaning, there are such human body-related nouns as "左手" (zuó shǒu), "右手" (yòu shǒu) , "手指" (shóu zhǐ) and "手腕" (shǒu wàn), which mean "left hand", "right hand", "finger" and "wrist" respectively. Hands of human beings are different from claws of animals, as they can use tools to work skillfully. So "手" can be used to refer to "a person skilled in or good at something". For example, "歌手" (ɡē shǒu) for "singer", "水手" (shuí shǒu) for "sailor", and "猎手" (liè shǒu) for "hunter".

现代汉语中,与手相关的常用词汇有很多。比如,从它的基本意出发,与人体有关的一类名词有,"左手(zuó shǒu)"、"右手(yòu shǒu)" 、 "手指(shóu zhǐ)"、"手腕(shǒu wàn)"。人的手与动物的爪不同,它能够利用工具某事、练就技巧。因此,"手"可引申为从事某种职业的人。比如,"歌手(ɡē shǒu)"指的是以唱歌为生的人。此类词语还有,"水手(shuí shǒu)"、"猎手(liè shǒu)"等等。

"手" acts as a radical of other characters as well, when its writing pattern varies. If it is the left part of a compound character, the original "亅" would be changed to "丿", as shown in the character "拜" (bài), which means "make a solute with hands". If it is the bottom part of a compound character, it keeps unchanged, as showed in the character "掌" (zhǎng), which means "palm".

"手"也作汉字部首,利用它组成的合体字时,书写方式有所不同。如果"手"在合体字的左边时,原先的竖钩"亅"要变体为撇"丿"。比如,汉字"拜(bài)", 其字义是"用手行礼"。如果"手"在合体字的底部时,字形不变。比如,汉字"掌(zhǎnɡ)",其字义是手心。 

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