Homonyms of the Chinese Yuan

Now that you’ve learned the word (yuán edge, border, or predestined relationship), you may wonder what other words sound exactly like it. Well, the edge or border could be that of a circular object, such as a disk or a table. The Chinese word for a circle is (yuán). It can also serve as an adjective. A round table would be called 圆桌 (yuánzhuō). Warrior and knights are called 武士 (wǔshì). Therefore, 圆桌武士 (Yuánzhuō wǔshì) refers to the Knights of the Round Table.

As you know, (yuán) is a unit of currency used in China and Taiwan. The Japanese Yen is actually a Japanese simplified form of the same character. In China and Taiwan, the same currency is often written as (yuán).

(yuán) means first, primary, fundamental, or a unit. This is why New Year’s Day is often referred to as 元旦 (Yuándàn).

Place (yuán) in an enclosure, and you’ll get the character for an area for public recreation, (yuán). A vegetable garden is called 菜园 (càiyuán).

Tā zài càiyuán li jiāoshuǐ.
She is watering the plants in the vegetable garden.

Take the frame away from (yuán), and you will get the character (yuán), which is a member, or a person engaged in some activity.

Yùndòngyuán yībān dōu hěn jiànzhuàng
Athletes are generally quite healthy and strong.

(yuán) has several different meanings. We’ve learned before that 原因 (yuányīn) is the cause or reason for something. 原来 (yuánlái), 原本 (yuánběn) and 原先 (yuánxiān) all mean original, originally, at first, former, or formerly.

我原先以为他是韩国人. (yuánxiān)
Wǒ yuánxiān yǐwéi tā shì hánguórén.
At first I thought he was a Korean.

原料 (yuánliào) is unprocessed, raw material. 原罪 (yuánzuì) is the original sin.

原谅 (yuánliàng) is to forgive.

qǐng yuánliàng wǒ.
Please forgive me.

平原 (píngyuán) refers to plains or flatlands.

Add three drops of water to (yuán) to get the character (yuán), which means the source or origin, such as of a river, of money, or of some other resources.

The Chinese idiom 饮水思源 (yǐnshuǐsīyuán) reminds people to be grateful to those who have enabled them to enjoy what they have. So, when you drink water (from a stream), think about its source and be thankful.

(yuán), with the “hand” radical on the left side, means to lend a hand, to offer aid to, to help or to support. On the other hand, (yuán), with the “woman” radical on the left side, means a beauty. When writing to other people in polite formal Chinese, you would refer to their daughter as 令媛 (lìng yuán), which is the equivalent of “your charming daughter”.

(yuán) is a Chinese surname. Add the “dog” radical to it and you will get the word for an ape, (yuán).

Now you can safely claim that you know most of the Chinese words that are pronounced the same as the Chinese Yuan.


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