If you stack a hill, 丘(qiū), on top of a mountain, 山(shān), the result is a high mountain, 岳 (yuè). The father of one’s wife is called 岳父 (yuèfù) or 丈人 (zhàngrén). Correspondingly, the mother of one’s wife is called 岳母 (yuèmǔ) or 丈母 (zhàngmǔ).
岳 (yuè) is also the surname of an ancient Chinese general, 岳飞 (Yuè Fēi), who was regarded as a symbol for loyalty to one’s country. Why, on his back were tattooed these characters: 尽忠报国 (jìn zhōng bàoguó). 尽 (jìn) means to exhaust, being exhausted, or to do something to the limit. 忠 (zhōng) means loyalty, or being loyal and trustworthy. It’s a popular character in Chinese names for men. 报国 (bàoguó) is to devote oneself to serving one’s country. There will be hope for world peace if we apply such dedication and fervor to participation in constructive projects for our own country rather than to acts of harming people in other countries.
Chinese folklore and kung fu stories often tell of immortal beings or wizards who live as hermits in remote high mountains. A 仙人 (xiānrén) is usually depicted as a kindly old man with a balding head and a long white beard and dressed in a long white robe. On the other hand, his female counterpart, a 仙女 (xiānnǚ), is the Chinese equivalent of a beautiful young fairy. Records show that many a party were dispatched by ancient Chinese emperors to foreign lands in search for the elixir of life, which is referred to as 仙丹 (xiāndān). The most well-known story is about Xu Fu and the boys and girls he took along on such a journey.
岔 (chà) means to branch off or to turn off. It appropriately contains the character 分 (fēn to divide). 打岔 (dǎchà) means to interrupt a conversation. 出岔子 (chūchàzi) is for something to go wrong.
Qǐng bùyào dǎchà.
Please do not interrupt.
Xiǎoxīn qù zuò. Bùyào chūchàzi.
Go about it with care. Don’t bungle up.
岩 (yán) is a cliff, while 岩石 (yánshí) is a general term for large rocks.
炭 (tàn) is coal mined from mountains.
峽 (xiá) is a gorge. 海峡 (hǎixiá) is a strait.
崖 (yá) is a cliff. 悬崖 (xuányá) is a steep cliff. 悬崖勒马 (xuányálèmǎ) is a common idiom used to describe how one is able to avert danger at the last moment as with reining in one’s horse at the brink of a precipice.
A rugged mountain that is high and steep can be described as being 峻峭 (jùnqiào). Its homonym, 俊俏 (jùnqiào), written with the “person” radical, is what you would use to describe someone with handsome physical features.
Wǒ xīnshǎng tā jùnqiào de bízi.
I admire her handsome nose.
岸 (àn) is a shore. 靠岸(kàoàn) is a verb that means to pull in to shore.
Chuán kàoàn le méiyǒu?
Has the boat pulled in yet?
崇高 (chónggāo) means high or sublime. Now you see why 崇拜 (chóngbài worship) contains the character 崇 (chóng lofty, high).
Take care not to mix up 崇 (chóng lofty, high) and 祟 (suì evil spirit).
鬼祟 (guǐsuì) means clandestine or surreptitious. It’s often used in the form 鬼鬼祟祟 (guǐguǐsuìsuì).
Tā guǐguǐsuìsuì de zuòfēng, lìngrén huáiyí.
His clandestine ways arouse suspicion.