Beginner in Chinese?

Sign up to get a free basic Chinese course complete with MP3 audio, 
plus learning tips and video lessons! 
 
 

Chinese Character Bites – #50 – 么

Chinese Character Bites - 50 - 么

Our character for today is 么

Simplified Chinese character: 么
Traditional Chinese character: 麼

Pronunciation:

This character is pronounced me in a neutral tone, and you’ll always see it as the last character in a word

What it means:

么 always comes as part of another word. It appears in really common words such as

什么 – what
为什么 – why
怎么 – how
那么 – so, in that case
这么 – so (for example 这么热 – so hot)

I’ve also seen in used as slang in text messages to refer to the sound of kissing, but this probably isn’t a meaning you’ll find in a dictionary!

Let’s break it down:

The traditional character is 麽, which is 麻 (hemp) with 幺 (small) on the bottom

The simplified character is just the bottom part, 幺, which is a picture of two silk cocoons, and is also related to a character for ‘small’.