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Most Common Chinese Characters List

It’s often the most challenging part for Chinese learners that is mastering the Chinese characters. No matter its formation or memorizing methods, they are all different from other languages. Don’t be frustrated! As one of the most ancient and long-live characters system, Chinese characters have their combination logic. Only if you understand it, Chinese characters can be much more accessible. One of the most practical toolkits is analyzing each character as if you are playing the Lego game. Chinese characters are a combination of various character components. One of the key components is called Chinese radical, which is used to index Chinese characters. The radicals often indicate certain meanings of the characters. Therefore, it’s an efficient method to learn and memorize Chinese characters by radicals. Here is the daily used Chinese Characters List, which is categorized by frequently used radicals. You can also feel free to download both simplified and traditional Chinese characters list PDF versions.

“mouth” Radical: 口

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
1 kǒu mouth
2 huí to whirl
3 pǐn product
4 chàng to sing
5 ma yes or no question particle
6 ha breath out
7 ba let us (do something.)
8 ne what about?
9 jiào to call
10 gào to tell
11 chī to eat
12 chuī to blow

“speech” Radical: 讠

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
13 rèn to recognize
14 shí to be aware
15 lesson
16 tǎo to denounce
17 lùn to discuss
18 jiǎng to talk
19 shuō to speak
20 tán to talk
21 ràng to let
22 shì to try
23 word
24 shī poem
25 to miss; misunderstand

“walk” Radical: 辶

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
26 to reach
27 jìn to enter
28 hái / huán still / to return
29 yuǎn far
30 to get lost
31 to approach
32 退 tuì to move back
33 chí to walk slowly
34 xùn fast
35 fǎn to go back
36 lián to link
37 zhè this
38 biān side
39 yùn Transport
40 sòng give away
41 xuǎn select
42 táo escape
43 tōng through
44 yáo remote

“Ice” Radical: 冫

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
45 bīng ice
46 lěng cold
47 dōng winter
48 liáng cool
49 dòng to freeze
50 liè very cold
51 jiǎn to decrease
52 zhǔn level, standard
53 jué to decide
54 jìng clean
55 kuàng condition, situation

“Water” Radical: 氵

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
56 hàn Han nationality
57 hàn sweat
58 lèi tears
59 hǎi sea
60 jiāng River
61 River
62 lake
63 to wash
64 Creek
65 tāng soup
66 qīng clear
67 law
68 shā sand
69 chén to sink
70 vapor
71 pào bubble
72 huó to live
73 nóng concentrated
74 dàn light
75 jiāo Pouring
76 làng wave
77 bath
78 shēn deep
79 qiǎn shallow
80 jiàn gradually
81 wēn temperature
82 yóu tour
83 mǎn full
84 yǎn to play, to act
85 excite
86 bào / pù rainstorm / waterfall

“Water” Radical: 灬

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
87 diǎn point
88 heat
89 liè strong
90 rán Of course
91 jiān Fry
92 xióng Bear
93 shú / shóu familiar/ cooked
94 yàn Swallow
95 zhǔ to boil
96 áo boil
97 jiāo focal

“Wood” Radical: 木

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
98 běn basis, origin
99 wèi not yet
100 end
101 shù Technique
102 machine
103 shā kill
104 quán right
105 miscellaneous
106 duǒ (measure word for flower)
107 lái Come
108 Lee, plum
109 cūn village
110 cái material
111 guǒ fruit
112 lín forest
113 sēn forest
114 sōng loose
115 bǎn board
116 qiāng gun
117 zhī branch
118 fēng maple
119 liǔ willow
120 Withered
121 gēn root
122 grid
123 qiáo bridge
124 táo Peach
125 chái firewood
126 tǒng barrel
127 (measure word for tree)
128 lóu floor, building

“Hand” Radical: 扌

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
129 hit
130 rēng throw
131 pull down, cling to
132 tuō drag
133 tuō Care
134 sǎo sweep
135 kòu buckle
136 kàng anti-
137 káng Carry
138 (grammar particle)
139 bào hold, hug
140 bào Report
141 zhǎo Find
142 squeeze
143 Skill
144 Protect
145 tóu cast
146 zhuā Grab
147 qiǎng rob
148 Pull
149 lán bar, block, hinder
150 zhǐ indicate
151 huàn change
152 jiē Pick up
153 miáo Trace
154 mention
155 yáo shake
156 rub

“Grass” Radical: 艹

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
157 art
158 jié Section
159 máng mango
160 huā flower, to spend
161 cǎo grass
162 bud
163 bitter
164 píng (kind of grass)
165 yào medicine
166 chá tea
167 dàng swing
168 cài dish
169 luò drop
170 báo / bó thin / slight

“Person” Radical: 亻

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
171 shén What
172 huà Turn into
173 réng still
174 jǐn only
175 chóu hatred
176 he
177 men plural form
178 dài generation
179 xiān Immortal
180 jiàn Pieces
181 jià price
182 yōu excellent
183 you
184 dàn but
185 zhù live
186 wèi (measure word for person)
187 low
188 bàn Companion
189 使 shǐ to make, to let
190 xìn letter
191 便 biàn / pián so that, cheap
192 bǎo Guarantee
193 xiū repair
194 liǎ two, both
195 dǎo / dào fall/ pour
196 jiè borrow
197 zuò do
198 jiǎ / jià fake/ vacation
199 tíng stop
200 tōu steal
201 piān Partial, have had
202 xiàng image
203 sēng monk

“double person” Radical: 彳

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
204 háng / xíng Row/ walk, conduct
205 chè thorough
206 wǎng to
207 hěn very
208 de (grammar particle)
209 German, morals

“Female” Radical: 女

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
210 mom
211 nǎi milk; grandma
212 she was
213 hǎo / hào good/ like
214 Such as
215 woman
216 yāo Demon
217 jiě elder sister
218 mèi younger sister
219 shǐ beginning
220 xìng surname
221 baby
222 niáng mother
223 hūn marriage
224 grandma
225 Marry (man)
226 yīng infant
227 jià marry (woman)

“Insect” Radical: 虫

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
228 hóng rainbow
229 ant
230 xiā shrimp
231 shé snake
232 dié butterfly
233 xiè crab
234 fēng bee

“Earth” Radical: 土

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
235 dì / de Ground/ grammar partical
236 cháng / chǎng market, site, spot
237 kuài Piece
238 jiān Firm
239 huài Bad
240 zhǐ site
241 chéng city
242 tower
243 duī stack
244 qiáng wall
245 jìng territory
246 zēng increase

“Fire” Radical: 火

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
247 dēng light
248 huī gray
249 zāi disaster
250 càn brilliant
251 làn rotten
252 furnace
253 yán inflammation
254 chuī Cooking
255 zhá Fried
256 yān smoke
257 fán bother
258 shāo burn
259 kǎo grilled
260 zhú candle
261 bào burst

“Heart” Radical: 忄

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
262 Recall
263 máng busy
264 kuài fast
265 màn slow
266 怀 huái Pregnant, miss
267 xìng character, nature
268 afraid
269 guài strange
270 lián pity
271 hèn hate
272 qiāo quiet
273 huǐ regret
274 yuè Pleased
275 qíng mood
276 jīng shock
277 Pity
278 guàn used
279 cǎn awful
280 huāng Panic
281 Enjoy
282 lǎn lazy
283 dǒng understand

“Heart” Radical: 心

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
284 rěn endure
285 wàng forget
286 niàn Read
287 suddenly
288 zhōng Loyal
289 zěn How
290 zǒng total
291 think
292 anxious
293 angry
294 rest
295 è evil
296 kǒng fear
297 ēn favor
298 liàn love
299 nín you (polite way)
300 huàn Suffer
301 bēi sad
302 xiǎng miss, think
303 meaning
304 gǎn sense
305 yuàn willing

“Bamboo” Radical: ⺮

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
306 xiào laugh
307 prefix before a number
308 bèn stupid
309 flute
310 děng Wait
311 answer
312 jiǎn simple
313 suàn Count

“Sun” Radical: 日

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
314 jiù old
315 dàn Once
316 zǎo early
317 shí Time
318 míng Bright
319 easy
320 shì Yes
321 xiǎn display
322 xīng star
323 chūn spring
324 zuó Yesterday
325 yìng Reflect
326 shài bask
327 wǎn late
328 chén morning
329 jǐng view
330 zhì wisdom
331 jīng crystal
332 wǎn late
333 àn dark
334 nuǎn warm

“Eye” Radical: 目

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
335 máng blind
336 kān / kàn look after/ look, see
337 xiāng / xiàng mutually, phase/ appearance
338 shěng province
339 méi eyebrow
340 pàn Hope
341 zhǎ blink
342 yǎn eye
343 shuì sleep
344 xiā blind

“Meat” Radical: 月

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
345 yǒu Have
346 muscle
347 belly
348 péng Friend
349 jiān shoulder
350 féi fat
351 skin
352 zhǒng swollen
353 fèi lung
354 shèn kidney
355 bēi / bèi carry on the back/ body’s back, unlucky
356 shèng Win
357 dǎn Gall
358 pàng fat
359 wèi stomach
360 nǎo brain
361 xiōng chest
362 zāng dirty
363 lǎng bright
364 zhī fat
365 jiǎo foot
366 liǎn face
367 tuō Take off
368 neck
369 cháo / zhāo towards/ early morning
370 yāo waist
371 tuǐ leg
372 belly
373 arm

“Mountain” Radical: 山

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
374 suì year old
375 dǎo island
376 àn shore
377 yán rock
378 xiá gorge
379 fēng peak

“Ear” Radical: 阝

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
380 duì team
381 that
382 yáng Yang
383 zhèn Array
384 yīn Overcast
385 yuàn hospital
386 chú except
387 xiǎn risk
388 dōu / dū All/ city
389 unit
390 péi accompany
391 suí Follow
392 Every

“Iron” Radical: 钅

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
393 zhēn needle
394 diào to fish
395 zhōng bell
396 gāng steel
397 qián money
398 tiě iron
399 zuān / zuàn Drill/ diamond, auger
400 yín silver
401 tóng copper
402 guō pot
403 ruì sharp
404 suǒ lock
405 xiù rust
406 cuò wrong
407 jiàn key

“Animal” Radical: 犭

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
408 fàn Commit
409 kuáng mad
410 gǒu dog
411 fox
412 alone
413 hěn ruthless
414 shī lion
415 láng Wolf
416 hóu monkey
417 māo Cat

“Top” Radical: 穴

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
418 qióng poor
419 kōng / kòng air, empty, blank/ free time
420 Sudden
421 穿 chuān wear
422 qiè steal
423 zhǎi narrow
424 chuāng window

“Bow” Radical: 弓

No. Characters Pinyin Definition
425 gōng bow
426 yǐn to stretch
427 hóng great, vast
428 jiàng stiff, strong
429 ruò weak
430 xián bowstring
431 tāo bow case
432 crossbow
433 zhāng to expand
434 a prefic for ordinal numbers
435 younger brother
436 to hand over

3500 Commonly Used Modern Chinese Characters List

It’s always a big shock for the learners who know that there are more than 85,568 Chinese characters in the world for the first time. Don’t give up immediately. According to the official research of China Education Committee, there are only 3500 commonly used modern Chinese characters, which cover about 99.48% words and characters that you could read in daily life. And you can read around 97.97% of modern everyday Chinese if you know about 2500 characters out of the 3500 characters. To make your study more convenient, we provide you the 3500 commonly used Chinese characters list as following.

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