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Ed Jaggard's Chinese Words for Week of 03-02-98

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擲鑣盤 - zhi biao pan2

dart board

zhi2 - to throw, cast
biao1 - bit for a horse; dart-like projectile thrown by hand as a weapon
zhi2biao1 - darts (game)
pan2 - tray; plate; dish

Here are two words at once - darts (the game) and dart board.

I find the word for dart interesting because of the fairly complex characters. The character zhi2 is not that unusual, but it's not a character you see everyday. The word for dart, biao1, has a primary meaning of "bit for a horse", but it can also refer to a dart-like object. Pan2 is relatively common and in this context means "board" as in "game board". It is also used in the word for chessboard -
棋盤 - qi2pan2.

I'm giving you one link that seems to cover the whole subject. It has dart links, dart software, dart companies, etc.

March 8, 1998

Dart Board - Dart Links

槲寄生 - hu2 ji4 sheng1

mistletoe (Viscum coloratum)

hu2 - a species of oak (Quercus dentata)
ji4 - depend on; attach oneself to
sheng1 - alive; living
ji4sheng1 - a parasite; parasitic; parasitism

Mistletoe conjures up images of Christmas and the custom of "kissing under the mistletoe" for many in the Western world. I've provided a link at the right that delves into the origin of the mistletoe custom.

The second link describes mistletoe as a parasite of trees. It has an extensive discussion of the plant(s) and makes for interesting reading.

The third link to the Mistletoe Center has a nice picture of mistletoe and some interesting links that you might want to check out. In particular, there is a link to Medicinal and Poisonous Plant Databases at the University of Maryland that discusses not only mistletoe, but other plants that have medicinal and/or poisonous properties.

March 7, 1998

Kissing Under The Mistletoe
Possible origins of the custom

Forest Pathology - Parasitic Plants

The Mistletoe Center

腳踏桿 - jiao3 ta4 gan3

foot pegs (as on a motorcycle)

jiao3 - foot; the feet
ta4 - step upon; tread upon; trample
gan3 - wooden pole, cane, stick, club

This is definitely one of those words that you would hardly ever imagine someone asking you to translate. But if someone does, now you know!!

March 6, 1998


滅音器 - mie4 yin1 qi4

muffler (of an engine)

mie4 - to destroy; extinguish
yin1 - sound
qi4 - apparatus; device

Not that uncommon a word, but nice to have it handy when you need it.

March 5, 1998


風標 - feng1 biao1

weather vane

feng1 - wind
biao1 - indicator; sign

A fairly common and useful word.

March 4, 1998


非前線 - fei1 qian2 xian4

don't pass line [craps]

fei1 - negative; not; non-
qian2 - front; forward
xian4 - line
qian2xian4 - pass line [craps]

Now here is an interesting game - craps. I live near Atlantic City, so once in a while I drive over, buy into a table and try to make a little money. I usually play the pass line, place the 5, 6 and 8 and make a small field bet, then wait for the numbers to roll. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.

I'm not going to explain the game because there are links out there that can do a much better job of that than I can. By the way, the day of this word, I hit a cold table at the Sands and lost. The following night, I played at the Trump Plaza and made up the loss plus $69. As you can see, this term is not just another pretty Chinese word for me.

March 3, 1998

Explains the game

Harrah's Tahoe

Atlantic City Links
Casino Guide


撕條 si1 tiao2

pull tab (of a packaged product)

si1 - to tear; rip
tiao2 - strip; stripe; something long and narrow

Pull tabs on packaged products are definitely a part of our daily lives, but how do you say "pull tab" in Chinese?
Well, here you are 撕條 - si1tiao2.

March 2, 1998

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