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Ed Jaggard's Chinese Words for October 1998

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chou1 ti4 jia4

slide-out shelf (as in a refrigerator)

chou1 - to draw out; pull out or open; take out
ti4 - a drawer
jia4 - 1. a prop; stand; rack; frame; to prop up; to support 2. framework; scaffold

This is one of those "what do you call it" words that is fairly simple and useful. The meaning is fairly evident from the Chinese characters. Pay attention to jia4 if you are new to the Chinese language. It's a useful suffix which when it occurs at the end of a word such as this one usually means something on the order of shelf or some other type of support apparatus such as a bookshelf, a shelf in a closet, a scaffold or trellis.

October 14, 1998


yan3 ku4

eye bank

yan3 - 1. the eye 2. a tiny hole; an opening; an orifice
ku4 - 1. storeroom; storehouse; warehouse 2. treasury

Here is a fairly simple word that does demonstrate some of the idiom differences between English and Chinese words. Notice that the word "eye-bank" in English translates into "eye storehouse" or "eye warehouse" in Chinese. There is nothing too complicated here.
An eye bank is, of course, a place where eyes taken from donors (who have died and willed their eyes) are stored while awaiting transplant into someone who needs new eyes. I've simplified the process for the sake of brevity but there are many links on the internet about this topic.

October 13, 1998


yi2 shao4

young diehard

yi2 - 4. to leave over; remnants; left-overs 5. anything left behind by the deceased; to bequeath; to hand down; legacy
shao4 - young; youthful; junior; juvenile

Have you ever come across a new word or maybe just an old word in a new context and had that sudden flash of instant recognition? That's the way this word hit me when I came across it in my English-Chinese dictionary the other day. The meaning was listed as "a young person with the mentality of an old fogy; young diehard." At once, a couple of examples of such a type of individual came to mind and I said to myself, "Aha, that sounds like ...".

This type of word is useful not only for describing a certain type of individual, but as a review word. I find that for each Chinese character, I like to have several words that I review on a semi-regular basis to try to lock the characters into my memory. It helps if they are unusual in one way or another (part of the purpose of this Word-A-Day site). Words that make you stop and think seem to stick better than ho-hum, everyday, run of the mill words (my experience has been that the ho-hum words are sometimes harder to recall than the unusual words.) The character yi2 is used elsewhere in this dictionary in a word for genetic engineering. It helps to have several words in your review file for each character to really nail it down!

October 12, 1998


xun4 meng3 long2

raptor; velociraptor

xun4 - swift; rapid; sudden
meng3 - 1. fierce; violent 2. sudden and quick (strike, thrust, etc.)
long2 - dragon

The movie "Jurassic Park helped make these critters popular. These were the smaller, extremely fast and somewhat intelligent dinosaurs that were really giving the characters a hard time toward the end of the movie.

Also, check my dictionary entry for T. rex at
Tyrannosaurus rex

October 6, 1998

Info and pix!!!

An excellent Finnish site for velociraptor

lan3 hou2

slow loris

lan3 - lazy; indolent; idle; inactive; listless; reluctant; disinclined
hou2 - monkey
Here is the Chinese for a cute little animal you will encounter in most zoos. They are native to southeast Asia and are found in the jungles there. I've provided a couple of links with more information.
The characters lan3 and hou2 are good vocabulary builders.

October 2, 1998

Slow Loris
Info and pix!!!

Primate Gallery - LORIDAE
More info and links!

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