Tuesday, 28 March 2017

百 | bǎi

In Mandarin Chinese, (Pinyin: bǎi 🔊; not to be confused with , 🔊) is a word for “hundred”. It is often used figuratively, in a sense “numerous”, “countless”, “every”, “all”, “entirely”, “at all”, etc. When they actually mean the number 100, “one hundred”, Chinese say exactly that: 一百 (yī bǎi 🔊).

There is a great variety of historical forms of this character. is a phono-semantic compound where pronunciation of seemingly unrelated word (bái) “white” is combined with meaning of . (Recall that, apart from “one”, also means “each”, “every”, “whole” and so on). A good trick to remember this character is to write the number 100 with “boxy” zeros, then rotate it 90° clockwise.

Another hanzi with the same meaning, , is mainly used for accounting purposes.

More photos related to numbers and sea glass @ Shutterstock.

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