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Chinese Character Bites – #35 – 以

Chinese Character Bites 35 - 以

Our character for today is 以

Simplified Chinese character: 以
Traditional Chinese character: 以
(The simplified character and the traditional character are the same)


This character is pronounced yǐ in the 3rd tone.

What it means:

On its own, 以 can mean ‘to take something as something’ or ‘in order to’.

However, you’ll mostly see it as part of words, such as 所以 (so, therefore), 以前 (before), 以后 (after), 以外 (besides, except), 可以 (can, may)

Let’s break it down:

This character has evolved over time. It was originally written something like 㠯, and was the same as the character 已, but later it became modified and other parts were added and it took on the form it has today.