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Chinese Character Bites – #16 – 国

Our character for today is 国

Simplified Chinese character: 国
Traditional Chinese character: 國
(The simplified character has 玉 inside, whereas the traditional character has 或 inside)


This character is pronounced guó in the 2nd tone.


What it means:

国 means country or kingdom. It’s used in a lot of words for countries, such as
美国 měiguó – America and
中国 zhōngguó – China (the middle kingdom)

Let’s break it down:

The simplified character is 国, which is 玉 (jade) inside an enclosure.

The traditional character has 或 inside the box, which is huò (it has the same vowel sound as guó, so it indicates that the pronunciation of the two characters is similar.