Now we will discuss some of the extended meanings of 方 (fāng).
First, a little math. 平方 (píngfāng) represents “squared”. Therefore 平方公尺 (píngfāng gōngchǐ) means square meters. In three-dimensions we have 立方 (lìfāng), standing for a cubed quantity.
Sān de shì píngfāng jiǔ.
3 squared is 9.
An equation is called 方程式 (fāngchéngshì). This could be a mathematical equation or a chemical equation.
In so far as 方 (fāng) means a direction or a side, it also represents an aspect of a matter or a party in a transaction.
方面 (fāngmiàn) means an aspect or a side of an issue.
Zhèi fāngmiàn wǒ bù hěn qīngchǔ.
I don’t know much about this aspect of the matter.
对方 (duìfāng) means the other party (the party opposite you).
Duìfāng tóngyì le ma?
Did the other party agree?
Shuāngfāng dōu tóngyì le.
Both parties agreed.
In a sales transaction, the purchasing party is referred to as 买方 (mǎifāng), while the seller is referred to as 卖方 (màifāng).
官方 (guānfāng) means official or pertaining to the government. 警方 (jǐngfāng) refers to the police.
方 (fāng) is also the abbreviation of 方法 (fāngfǎ), which means method or means.
Zhègè fāngfǎ bùcuò.
This method is not bad.
处方 (chǔfāng) is a prescription. Specifically, a medical prescription is called
A 方案 (fāngàn) is a plan or a scheme.
比方说 (bǐfangshuō) means “as an example” or “for instance”.
方 (fāng), being square and not crooked, implies honesty and uprightness. This may be why it is used as a Chinese surname.
大方 (dàfang) means generous or gracious.
Tā de nǚpéngyou měilì yòu dàfang.
His girl friend is beautiful and gracious.
方 (fāng) can also be used as an adverb. 方才 (fāngcái) means just now and is synonymous with 刚才 (gāngcái).
Wǒ fāngcái kàndào tā.
I saw him just a moment ago.
方 (fāng) and 才 (cái), when standing alone as an adverb, take on the meaning of “not until”. 方 (fāng) is the formal version. Use 才 (cái) in everyday speech.
Wǒ xiànzài cái zhīdào tā zhēnde ài wǒ.
Now I realize that he truly loves me.
(Hope it’s not too late.)
As an adjective 方便 (fāngbiàn) means convenient. As a verb, it means going to the lavatory.
Following are a few more commonly used words that take on the 方 (fāng) radical.
仿 (fǎng) means to imitate, as in 模仿 (mófǎng), or to be like, as in 仿佛 (fǎngfú), which is a formal way of saying 好像 (hǎoxiàng).
施 (shī) is to hand out or to apply or carry out. In the sense of handing out, it is synonymous with the word 给 (gěi to give).
芳 (fāng), with the “grass” radical on top, means fragrant. It is a favorite character for girl’s names.