Learn Chinese word radical – Horse

You already know that (mā) (ma) contain the “horse” radical. There are quite a few other characters that also do.

Last week we saw how a crow was cheated out of a piece of meat by a sly fox. (piàn) is to deceive or cheat someone. 哄骗 (hǒngpiàn) and 欺骗 (qīpiàn) also mean to to deceive or dupe someone. 哄骗 (hǒngpiàn) leans on the side of coaxing or humoring someone, while 欺骗 (qīpiàn) is not well-intended. 蒙骗 (mēngpiàn) is to hoodwink or to deceive. 骗子 (piànzi) is a swindler or trickster.

Nǐ bié piàn wǒ.
Don’t’ lie to me. (Don’t try to fool me.)

Nàge tuīxiāo yuán shì gè piànzi.
That salesperson is a crook.

Wǒ bèi tā piàn zǒu le yī bǎi kuài qián.
I was cheated out of a $100 by him.

Understandably a number of words pertaining to riding or driving assume the horse radical.

(chí) is to gallop or speed forward.

(jià) is to harness a horse, drive a car, sail a boat or fly a plane. (shǐ) has the same meaning. These two words usually go together – 驾驶 (jiàshǐ).

驱驶 (qūshǐ) also means to drive, but usually in the sense of pushing someone to do something.

(yù), or 驾驭 (jiàyù), is to drive a carriage. 驾驭 (jiàyù) also means to control.

(qí) is to ride an animal, such as a horse, or to ride a bicycle.

Wǒ xiǎng qí jiǎotàchē héngkuà Měiguó.
I’d like to ride my bike across the United States.

(zhù) is to make a stop or to be stationed at a place. So, 驻美代表 (zhù Měi dàibiǎo) means a delegate stationed in the USA.

(tuó) is to carry on the back, usually said of an animal of burden.

(zǎo) are fleas. With a flea on a horse, (sāo) means disturbed, upset or coquettish.

(bó) means to refute or to contradict as a horse might refuse to obey orders. It is often used in 反驳 (fǎnbó to retort, or a retort).

(mà) is to scold or to condemn. Poor horse, with two mouths shouting at it.

Tā mà wǒ cūxīn.
He scolds me for being careless.

骆驼 (luòtuo) is a camel. (luó) is a mule. (lǘ) is a donkey. I just realized there is a fun song for each of these animals in “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes“.

I fail to see how an ant is related to a horse, but here you have it, 蚂蚁 (mǎyǐ ants). 热锅上的蚂蚁 (règuōshàngdèmǎyǐ) translates to “ants on a hot pan”. This expression describes a state of intense anxiety.

He is anxious and jittery like ants on a hot pan.
Tā jí de xiàng règuōshàngdèmǎyǐ.

Lead as a Chinese Polyphone

When you see the word “lead” out of context, you might interpret it to mean a clue or the action of guiding. Or you might conjure up a piece of heavy metal in your mind. Words that look identical but are pronounced differently and have different meaningas are called polyphones. In Chinese these are called 破音字 (pò yīn zì).

It just so happens that the Chinese word for “to lead” is also a polyphone. However, as you will find out below, its “alterego” is not a heavy metal.

(shuài) as a verb means to lead or to guide.

率领 (shuàilǐng) means to lead or to head a group. The leader is called 领袖 (lingxiù).

Xiàngdǎo shuàilǐng wǒmén zǒu guò mù qiáo.
The guide led us across the wooden bridge.

统率 (tǒngshuài) means to command and lead (a troop). 统率三军 (tǒngshuài sānjūn) is to command and lead the three armed services. This duty usually falls on the shoulders of the president of a nation.

率先 (shuàixiān) means to take the lead in doing something.

Tā shuàixiān biǎoshì fǎnduì.
He was the first to voice his objection.

表率 (biǎoshuài) is an examplar. This word is used as a noun. It is synonymous with 好榜样 (hǎo bǎngyàng a fine example) and 模范 (mófàn a model).

(shuài) as an adjective means to be hasty or to be forthright. So, 轻率 (qīngshuài) is being rash and careless.

率真 (shuàizhēn) means candid and sincere, and 坦率 (tǎnshuài) means candid and straightforward, while 率直 (shuàizhí) means straightforward and blunt.

Wǒ xǐhuān tā tǎnshuài de wéirén.
I like her candid and straightforward ways.

(lǜ) is a rate, a ratio or a proportion.

速率 (sùlǜ), or 速度 (sùdù), is the speed or velocity.

频率 (pínlǜ) means frequency. It can be the frequency of radio waves, or the frequency of occurrence of an event.

成人的正常呼吸频率约每分钟 12 次.
Chéngrén de zhèngcháng hūxī pínlǜ yuē měi fēnzhōng shí èr cì.
The normal respiratory rate in adults is about 12 breaths (times) per minute.

效率(xiàolǜ) is efficiency.

Tā zuòshì quēfá xiàolǜ.
He lacks efficiency in doing jobs.

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