Female substructures (乃,丫,丑,母,etc.) in Chinese script

Females in Chinese Script

by Jennifer Ball
© February 16, 2011

Why is “Y” at the end of our alphabet? Because the shape of “Y” is not a pretty picture. In Chinese, besides meaning “slave girl,” this “Y” shape also means “bifurcated, forked.” “Y” is the shape of a fork or anything with two prongs spread apart. The “spread” is key to “Y.” A “yawn” is made by spreading open the lips of the mouth. To “yaw” is to deviate from course. “Ya” can also can mean “yes”: Yah!, which is what slaves of any sex must say.

The following Chinese characters are those that have any kind of relationship to females, including body parts and definitions that characterize females.

This is a work-in-progress.

What do neon and breasts have in common?

They both grab people’s attention.

The B-shaped Chinese character乃 (nai3) is acknowledged as a woman’s breasts when the “woman” radical is in front, but without the radical it means “thereupon.” Why do you suppose “thereupon” uses the symbol for breasts? Because birth is the next thing that happens to a pregnant woman. It is cause and effect in action: a precept of life, and therefore can be counted upon. Following this are the characters that use this B-shaped Chinese character乃 (nai3).

After that are characters that use the “woman” or “mother” radical, or somehow denote “female” by definition.




ear of grain; flowering, luxuriant; refined, elegant, graceful
xiu4 (sau3)

persuade, entice, induce; guide
you4 (jau5)

different, to distinguish
you4 (ngaa4 zaau5)

weeds, tares; undesirable, evil
you3 xiu4 (jau5)

to accumulate; to amass; to store up, superior, handsome, refined, eminent
jun4 ya2 (zeon3)

to be pregnant, to conceive, non-classical form
yun4 (zaan6)

blessings, happiness
reng2 (jing4)
to speculate; to conjecture; to assume; to make an intelligent guess; to fathom, (of a woman) beautiful, used in girl’s name
duo3 (do2)
heap; buttress; battlements
duo3 (do2)

chop by pounding, mince,
hash duo4 (do2)

chou3 (cau2)

little girl (she has no milk)
niu1 (nau2)
mother; female elders; female (she does)
mu3, mu2, wu3 wu2 (mou5)
each, every
mei3, mei4 (mui5)

give birth to; bring up, educate
yu4 (juk1)
to move
pan2 (po4 pun4)
(Cant.) feminine
suffix na3 (naa2)
labrus, moving fish
mou2 (mau4)

Wikipedia says, “Labrus is a genus of wrasses of the Labridae family….The word “wrasse” comes via Cornish from the Welsh word gwrach meaning an old woman or hag.”
a plumpy; fat face
hui4, wei4, xue3 (bik1, fui3)
(ancient form of 侮) to insult, to ridicule
wu3 (mou5)

nü4 (no Cant.)

gong1 zhong1 (gung1)

ma1 (maa1)
interrogative particle; repetition of a tune, small; tender (insignificant tiny-trad. char.)
yao1, mo (no accent), me (no accent), ma (no accent), mo3 (jiu1 mo1)
(ancient form of 幻) deception; sleight of hand; magic
huan4 (nap6 wan6)
beautiful, graceful
juan1 ( gyun1)
goblin; witch; devil; bewitching; enchanting; monster; phantom; strange, weird, supernatural
yao1 (jiu1)
妖言heresy(words, speech; speak, say)
yao1 (jiu1) + yan4, yan2, yin2 (jin4)

妖冶 pretty and flirtatious
yao1 (jiu1) + ye3 (je5)
smelt, fuse; smelt, fuse metals; cast, found
ye3 (je5)
室女 virgin, virgo
shi4 nü3
處女 virgin; inaugural
chu3 nü3
处女 virgin; inaugural (simplified)
chu3 nü3
室女座 virgo (according to Google) (座zuo4 seat; base; stand; measure word for large, solid things)
large rope, cable; rules, laws to demand, to exact; to search, inquire; isolated
plump, voluptuous, beautiful
yan4 (jim6)
纏足 “bound feet”

to cut, pare, trim, shave
xian3 (hin2)
luan2, lian4 (lyun5)
(non-classical form of ) (interchangeable) to admire; to remember (old days, etc.), exquisite; fine, to obey; obedient; to comply, (same as ) to bind; binding, used in girl’s name
lian4 (lyun2)
bells hung on a horse
luan2 (lyun4)
happy, glad; enjoyable; music
le4, yue4, yao4, luo4, liao2 (lok6, ngaau6, ngok6)
(ancient form) chaos; distraction; confusion, confused, continuous; uninterrupted to tie together, to manage –
luan2 (lyun4)
barbarian, barbarous, savage; bullying; very; quite; rough; reckless
man2 (maan4)
jealous (looks like penis envy)
mào du4 (dou3)
be jealous of, be envious
mao4 (mou6)
prostitute, harlot
chang1 (coeng1)
gate of heaven, main gate of palace
chang1, tang1 (coeng1)

light of sun; good, proper
chang1 (coeng1)
guide, leader; lead, introduce, initiate, instigate, introduce, lead, initiate
chang4, chang1 (coeng1 coeng3)
mad, wild, reckless, unruly
chang1 (coeng1)
chang1 (coeng1)
iris, sweet flag, calamus
chang1 (coeng1)
鯧(鲳)the silvery pomfret, Stromateoides argenteus
chang1 (coeng1
to feed a prisoner ( a dish of light? hope?)
wen1, yun4 (no Cant. given)
old woman; lower-class woman ()
ao3 (ou2, wan2)
ugly woman: (vagina as big as mouth?)
(Not Mandarin. Cantonese only: leoi5)

old woman, hag
yu4, yu3 (jyu2)
dumb (“onomatopoeia” MandarinTools)
ba no accent, ba1 (baa1 baa6)
womanly, (same as 姶 yan3, ancient form) exquisite; fine, used in girl’s name, clever; bright; nimble, cute; lovable
yi4 (zaap1)
glamorous, beautiful, sexy, voluptuous
yan4 (jim6)
irregular and prominent teeth
pa2 (baa1 paa4)

flatter, charm
mei4 (mei4 mei6)
mei3 (Mandarin Text Project)
mei3 (mei5)
very fragrant; luxurious; beautiful the Philippines
fei1, fei3, fei4 (fei1 fei2)
(simp:)beautiful; pretty; magnificent; elegant
li4 or 2 (lai6 )
beautiful, fine
xu4, yu4 (jyu6 zeoi6)
華彩 gorgeous, resplendent (literally “flowery color”)
hua1, hua2 hua4, cai3
wei3 (wai4 wai5)
beautiful, lovely, pretty, graceful
chan2 (sim4 sin4)
attentively, carefully, lady
ying1 (jing1)
brindled ox; clear; eminent
luo4 (lok3)
polish; bright, radiant; smiling
can4 (caan3)
three women, beautiful things
can4 (caan3)
adultery. (Three women can only be beautiful if they compartmentalized synecdochically into concepts, as above.)
jian1 (gaan1)
quarrel; dispute (Wikitionary)
(ancient form of U+59E3 U+5B0C) handsome; pretty, cunning, meretricious allurements, to insult; to disgrace, licentious; profligate; lewd; (Cant.) amorous, in love with.

beautiful, handsome, pretty
jiao1 jiao3 xiao2 (gaau2 haau4)
obedient; united
ruo4 (no Cant. given)
to connect
zhuo2 (no Cant given)
(same as ) a kind of drill for sowing grain, to till lands
lou2 lou3 (laau5)
drill for sowing grain
lou2, lou3 (lau4)
the profundity of the harem, the mysterious and profound of the forbidden palace, the flourishing and exuberant of the flame
dan3 tan2 (taam4)
lady, female court official
qiang2 (coeng4)
return, turn around; a time; language
hui2 (wui4)
used in girl’s name, a woman’s countenance; features
sha4, zha4 (saap3)
健美 beautiful and strong, strong, robust, healthy; strength + beautiful, pretty; pleasing
jian4 mei3 (gin6 mei5)
relatives by marriage, marriage connections:
yin1 (jan1)

sodomy; to bugger
(gei1 in Cantonese)
(non-classical form of ) a girl; a little girl
(naau in Cantonese)
wife of father’s younger brother
shen3 (sam2)
在下 Concubine. The first character is “to be.” The second is “under.”
zai4 xia4
Widow (someone who is “crystallized.” Think “frigid.”)
shuang1 (soeng1 sung1)
Infant, baby, bother
ying1 (jing1)
Juggle frolic, play, amuse, play with
shua3 (saa2)
secure, sound; satisfactory, appropriate
tuo3 (to2 to5)
same as “pregnant” “to conceive”
yuan4 (lai1, zaan6)
soft and meek, weak, to arrange, to regulate
nian3 (nin2)
end of spine; buttocks, sacrum
kao1 (haau1)
change, convert, reform; -ize
(variant of ) hua4, hua1 (faa3)
distant and indistinguishable
yao3 (miu5) (sun in sky makes it hard to see)
purpose, aim; excellent
zhi3 (zi2)
ni2 (nei4)
little girl
ni1, ni2 (nei4)
What do nuns and little girls have in common?

female of species; deep gorge
pin4 (pan5)
a camel; humpbacked; to carry on the back
tuo2 (to4)
(same as ) hornless cattle
tuo2 (to4)
(same as VEA3E30 ) hornless cattle
tuo2 (to4)

the female of certain animals such as horses, a mare
cao3 (cou2)
a big mule (same as ) an ass; a donkey
lou2, lü2 (laau4 lou4)
offspring of a stallion and a she-mule
ju4 (geoi6)

(same as U+978D ) saddle; a saddle-like terrain or thing
(Cant. only ngon1)
saddle; any saddle-shaped object
an1 (on1)
to rob; to loot; to plunder
lou3 lu4 (laau2)
lust after, act indecently; lewd (a woman who wants to make a new generation?)
xie4 (sit3)
jealous; to envy; jealously
ao4, bie2 (ou3)
a bird-cage
nu2 (nou4)
damp, boggy, marshy
ru4, ru2 (jyu5 jyu6)
frivolous; flippant; disrespectful; irreverent; to insult, young, used in girl’s name
zuo4 (so1)








And from http://talaqa.com/chinese/chinese-english-dictionary/室女

Some examples of key words copied from various sites.