Chinese Characters

Strokes
Each Chinese character is composed by strokes. The table below shows the basic strokes. Recognizing the strokes in a character is helpful for finding a character or radical in the Stroke Index, List of Radicals and Radical Index. Each of the following strokes is counted as one stroke.

Stroke Writing the stroke Examples
Héng left to right

千 主 女

Shù top to bottom

千 山 北

Piě top (right) to bottom (left)

千 人 么

top (left) to bottom (right)

人 木 又

Diǎn top to bottom

主 心 习

Bottom (left) to top (right)

习 打 北

Stroke with hook left to right, top to bottom

买 打 以 心

Stroke with turn(s)

山 马 女 么 又

Stroke with turn(s) and hook

北 习 认 马


Stroke Order

For the character to look correct, its strokes should be written in the correct order.
Knowing the order will also help you remember characters. The general rules of stroke
Order is as follows.

Rule Example Stroke order
Top before bottom

Left before right

Horizontal before vertical/downward

“Enter the room, then close the door”

Vertical stroke before sides/bottom


Simplified and Traditional Characters
The Chinese government simplified hundreds of Chinese Characters in mid-1950 by Reducing the numbers of their strokes. Such simplified characters are called 简体字 jiǎntǐzì. This dictionary uses jiantizi. Traditional versions (also known as complicated Characters) are still used in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and they are shown after Trad where applicable, e.g.: xué学 Trad 學