Learn Chinese word radical – Bone

I’m linking to the above youtube video because it deals with a health issue related to what we are discussing today – 骨 (gǔ bones), and also because Bob and Brad are my favorite physical therapists on the Internet.

The character 骨 (gǔ) is used as a radical for just a few Chinese words. 骨骼 (gǔgé) or 骨骸 (gǔ hái) refers to the anatomical skeleton. 骷髅 (kūlóu) are the skull and bones of a dead human being or animal, like the ones featured on Halloween. 骰子 (shǎi zi or tóu zi) are dice. 滑 (huá) means slippery or to slip.

In everyday language we say 骨头 (gǔtou) instead of simply 骨 (gǔ). So, lazy bones are called 懒骨头 (lǎn gǔtou).

Here are a few parts of the human skeleton. Learn these words so that when you make a visit to 骨科 (gǔkē orthopedics), you will be able to refer to the correct part that ails you. 额骨 (égǔ) frontal bone
颚骨 (ègǔ) jawbone
骨脊 (gǔjí) spine
椎骨 (zhuígǔ) vertebra
骨节 (gǔjié) joint
坐骨 (zuògǔ) ischium
坐骨神经痛 (zuògǔshénjīng tòng) sciatica
骨刺 (gǔcì) bone spurs
骨盆 (gǔpén) pelvis
骨髓 (gǔsuǐ) bone marrow
骨干 (gǔgàn) is the backbone. 骨干企业 (gǔgàn qǐyè) means the key enterprise.

骨化 (gǔ huà) is to ossify, and 骨灰 (gǔhuī) are the ashes of the dead.

骨肉 (gǔròu) means flesh and blood. The phrase 骨肉相連 (gǔròu xiānglián) means closely linked like flesh and blood.

骨瘦如柴 (gǔshòurúchái) describes a person who is skinny like firewood.

骨 (gǔ) also connotes the essence of one’s character. So, 骨气 (gǔqì) means the strength of character or moral integrity. A person with 傲骨 (àogǔ) is one who has a lofty and unyielding character.

Literally, 骨子里 (gǔzilǐ) means in one’s bones. Figuratively, it refers to one’s true (often not so noble) intentions.

表面上他态度诚恳,但我们知道他的骨子里别有用心.
Biǎomiàn shàng tā tàidu chéngkěn, dàn wǒmen zhīdào tā de gǔzilǐ biéyǒuyòngxīn.
On the surface he acts cordially, but we know he has ulterior motives.

In the article I posted on 9/29/20, we came across the word 露骨 (lùgǔ showing one’s bones). This expression describes a remark or action that is considered point-blank, explicit, or without polite disguise.

骨器 (gǔqì) are objects made out of bones. Yes, it sounds exactly the same as 骨气 (gǔqì).

骨牌 (gǔpái) is the game of domino.

脫胎換骨 (tuōtāihuàngǔ) is to be reborn, i.e. totally transformed.

他自从去了巴黎就脱胎换骨, 变了一个人.
Tā zìcóng qùle bālí jiù tuōtāihuàngǔ, biànle yīgè rén.
Since he went to Paris, he has changed completely into a different person.

刻骨铭心 (kègǔmíngxīn) means to be engraved on one’s bones and heart. This expression is often used in a thank you letter to say that one will remember the favor with gratitude to the end of one’s life.

粉身碎骨 (fěnshēnsuìgǔ) means to have one’s body smashed to pieces.

我愿为她粉身碎骨, 在所不辞.
Wǒ yuàn wéi tā fěnshēnsuìgǔ, zài suǒ bùcí.
I’m willing to break my bones for her and not hesitate under any circumstances.

连皮带骨 (lián pí dài gǔ) means skin, bones and all, i.e. the whole thing.

当心啊! 别让那怪物把你连皮带骨给吃了!
Dāngxīn a! Bié ràng nà guàiwù bǎ nǐ lián pídài gǔ gěi chīle!
Beware! Don’t let that monster swallow you whole!

万圣节快乐
Wànshèngjié kuàilè!
Happy Halloween!

Homonyms for the Chinese word for deer

Deer in the Woods

Deer in the Woods

Deer are not part of the Chinese zodiac. They are getting a mention here because the Chinese word for deer has a number of homonyms that I’d like to bring to your attention.

Deer in Chinese is 鹿 (lù). Sika deer, or 梅花鹿 (méihuālǜ), originated mostly from Japan, Taiwan and East Asia. They are mentioned in “The Little Monk“, a short novel that features Taiwan in the seventeenth century.

Giraffes are called 长颈鹿 (chángjǐnglù), or long-necked deer. 驼鹿 (tuólù) refers to moose or elks.

Literally, 逐鹿 (zhúlù) means to chase the deer. Figuratively, it means to bid for state power.

中原 (zhōngyuán) are the Central Plains in China that cover the middle and lower reaches of the Huanghe River. Many ancient Chinese dynasties established their government seats in this central area. The term 中原 (zhōngyuán) is also generally used to refer to the entire country of China. Therefore, 逐鹿中原 (zhúlùzhōngyuán) is to engage in a fight for the throne.

People competing for a high position or a coveted prize are likened to hunters going after the same deer. If you have no diea about who will most likely be the winner, you could say:

不知鹿死谁手.
Bùzhī lùsǐshuíshǒu.
Don’t know at whose hand the deer will die.

鹿皮 (lùpí) is deerskin.

There are many other words that are pronounced exactly the same as 鹿 (lù). We will look at a few common ones.

(lù) or 山麓 (shānlù) is the foot of a mountain.

(lù) or 道路 (dàolù) is a road, a path or a route. 高速公路 (gāosùgōnglù) is a freeway, and 地下铁路 (dìxiàtiělù) means subway. 路标 (lùbiāo) is a road sign, and 路灯 (lùdēng) are street lamps.

Crossroads are called 十字路口 (shízìlùkǒu). See how the Chinese numeral 10 looks like an intersection of two roads.

路面 (lùmiàn) is the road surface or pavement. 路边 (lùbiān roadside or curb) is usually used as an adverb,as in:

路边有许多摊贩.
There are many street vendors on the road side.
Lù biān yǒu xǔduō tānfàn.

迷路 (mílù) means to lose one’s way. When you lose your way, you will want to ask for directions, or 问路 (wènlù), and someone might be kind enough to show you the way, or 带路 (dàilù).

路程 (lùchéng) is the distance traveled or to be traveled on a journey.

走路 (zǒulù) means to go on foot. 路人 (lùrén) are passersby.

路人皆知 (lùrénjiēzhī) is an idiom that means everybody knows, referring to a well-known fact.

走投无路 (zǒutóuwúlù) means to have no way out or to be in an impasse.

When (lù) takes on a bird radical, it becomes (lù). 白鹭 (báilù) is a great white egret, and 苍鹭 (cānglù) is a gray heron.

(lù) or 陆地 (lùdì) means land, and 着陆 (zhuólù) is a verb that means to land. 大陆 (dàlù) means mainland or a continent. Eurasia is called 欧亚大陆 (Oūyàdàlù). 内陆 (nèilù) means inland or interior.

陆军 (lùjūn) is the ground force or army, and 海军陆战队 (hǎijūnlùzhànduì) are the marine corps.

陆续 (lùxù) means one after another.

旅客们陆续上了火车.
Lǚkèmen lùxù shàngle huǒchē.
The travelers got on the train one after another.

(lù) means to kill or slay, and 杀戮 (shālù) is a massacre.

(lù) and 贿赂 (huìlù) are bribes. 贿赂 (huìlù) can also be used as a verb.

正直的官员不会接受贿赂.
Zhèngzhí de guānyuán bù huì jiēshòu huìlù.
Upright officials will not accept bribes.

As a noun, (lù) means dew. It can also refer to a sweet drink distilled from flowers. 雨露 (yǔlù) is rain and dew. Figuratively, it connotes grace or a favour. On the other hand, 鱼露 (yúlù) is fish sauce. This is one example of why it is important to pay attention to the tone of the Chinese words you utter.

As a verb, (lù) means to reveal or to show. So, 露出 (lùchū) is to expose or to protrude from under a cover.

露面 (lùmiàn) means to show one’s face or to appear. In ancient China, women from good families were expected to stay at home and lead a private existence. Those who dared to show themselves unashamedly in public, or 抛头露面 (pāotóulùmiàn), were looked down upon

露一手 (lòuyīshǒu) is to show off one’s abilities or skills.

Literally, 露骨 (lùgǔ) means showing one’s bones. Figuratively, this expression describes a remark or action that is considered point-blank, explicit, or without polite disguise.

不露声色 (bùlùshēngsè) means to do things quietly and not show one’s feeling or intentions, like keeping a poker face.

原形 (yuánxíng) is the original shape or the true shape under the disguise. 原形毕露 (yuánxíng bìlù) is having the whole truth unmasked. In the same vein, 露出马脚 (lùchūmǎjiǎo) is to reveal the cloven foot or to give oneself away unintentionally.

透露 (tòulù) is to divulge, disclose or leak information.

If you see a friend taking a large wad of cash out of his wallet to count in the open, you could offer him this advice:

财不露白.
Cái bù lòubái
Don’t show your money in front of people.

露天 (lùtiān) means in the open air or outdoors. Therefore, an outdoor concert is called 露天演唱会 (lùtiān yǎnchàng huì).

露营 (lùyíng) is to camp out. When amping out, please be careful not to start a forest fire!

(lù) means to write down, to record or to register. 记录 (jìlù) is to record or take notes. A documentary film is called 纪录片 (jìlùpiàn).

录取 (lùqǔ) is to recruit, and 录用 (lùyòng) is to take on as an employee.

录音 (lùyīn) means sound recording. 录像机 (lùxiàngjī) is a video-recorder or camcorder. In Taiwan, it is called 录影机 (lùyǐng jī).

(lù) is also used as a noun that means a record or a collection of records. Memoirs are called 回忆录 (huíyìlù).

(lù) means busy or commonplace. 忙碌 (mánglù) is to bustle about, or to be busy with commonplace things.

劳碌 (láolù) to toil or work hard.

(lù) or 俸禄 (fènglù) refers to an official’s salary in ancient China. Therefore, it is an auspicious word. Therefore 福禄双全 (fúlùshuāngquán be happy and wealthy) is a popular wish to give to or to receive from an acquaintance.

中秋節快樂!
Zhōngqiū jié kuàilè!
Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

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