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Chinese Character Bites – #47 – 里

Chinese Character Bites 47 - 里

Our character for today is 里

Simplified Chinese character: 里
Traditional Chinese character: 裏


This character is pronounced lǐ in the 3rd tone.

What it means:

里 can mean ‘a village’ or ‘half a kilometre’ (kilometre is 公里)

In these cases the traditional and simplified character are the same: 里

However, you’ll also see 里 in words like 这里 (here), 那里 (there) and 哪里 (where?)

In these cases, the traditional character for 里 is 裏 or 裡.

Let’s break it down:

里 comes from 田 (field) + 土 (earth), which is related to the meaning of ‘village’

裏 is 里 + 衣 (clothing) + 亠 on the top

and 裡 is the character 里 with 衤(clothing) on the left.