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Chinese Character Bites – #36 – 生

Chinese character bites 36 - 生

Our character for today is 生

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


This character is pronounced shēng in the 1st tone.

What it means:

生 can mean ‘give birth’, ‘alive’, and is also used in names of occupations.

You’ll see it in:

出生 (to give birth), 生活 (life), 活着 (alive), 先生 (Mr), 医生 (doctor) and 学生 (student)

Let’s break it down:

生 originally came from a picture of a plant growing, representing life or being alive.