The sick radical

The flu season is arriving late this year. Hopefully it will leave sooner than usual. 感冒 (gǎnmào) is to have a common cold, and 流行 (liúxíng) means widespread, in vogue or trendy. Therefore, the flu is called 流行感冒 (liúxíng gǎnmào) in Chinese.

Xiànzài zhèzhǒng duǎnkù hěn liúxíng.
Right now this kind of shorts are very popular.

Tā ài tīng liúxíng gēqǔ.
She loves listening to pop songs.

Wǒ dé le liúxíng gǎnmào.
I have the flu.

An epidemic disease is called 流行病 (liúxíngbìng). If you see any word with the (nè sick) radical, you’ll know it is associated with some kind of physical or mental illness, disease or pain.

A disease or illness is referred to as (bìng), 疾病 (jíbìng), or (zhèng). For example, 心脏病 (xīnzàngbìng) is heart disease.

生病 (shēngbìng) means to fall ill. 症状 (zhèngzhuàng) are the symptoms of a disease.

疾苦 (jíkǔ) means hardship or suffering. (jí) also means speedy. Therefore, 疾风 (jífēng) is a strong wind.

我不舒服. 头有点儿疼.
Wǒ bù shūfu. Tóu yǒudiǎnr téng.
I don’t feel well. My head hurts a bit.

(tòng) and (téng) both mean pain or painful.

疫苗 (yìmiáo) is a vaccine. 肝炎疫苗 (gānyán yìmiáo) is hepatitis vaccine. The character (yán) contains one fire character on top of another. It means scorching hot, or an inflammation. Therefore, 肺炎 (gānyán) is pneumonia, and 皮肤炎 (pífūyán) is inflammation of the skin.

冻疮 (dòngchuāng) is a frostbite, (zhěn) is a rash, and (zhì) is a mole. (tán) is phlegm.

肿瘤 (zhǒngliú) is a tumor. 良性肿瘤 (liángxìng zhǒngliú) is a benign tumor. 恶性肿瘤 (èxìng zhǒngliú) is a malignant or cancerous tumor. (ái) is cancer. 肺癌 (fèiái) is lung cancer, 肝癌 (gānái) is cancer of the liver, etc.

Now, a couple diseases of the mind. (fēng) is pronounced the same as wind, but with the “sick” radical, it means to be insane or crazy. 疯狂 (fēngkuáng) is to be frenzied.

你疯了? (fēng)
Nǐ fēng le?
Are you out of your mind?

(chī) means to be idiotic, or to be crazy about or obsessed with someone or something. 痴心 (chīxīn) means infatuation.

I’ll leave you with this Chinese adage to think about.

祸从口出; 病从口入.
Huòcóngkǒuchū; bìngcóngkǒurù.
Trouble stems from what comes out of your mouth; illness starts from what goes into your mouth. (Trouble comes from what you say; illness comes from what you eat.)

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Nora Joy Wilson
    Feb 22, 2012 @ 01:12:15

    This is so informative and interesting. Personally it really helps me cement the concepts in written Chinese. Thanks so much!


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