Word of the day – 龜
(guī) , noun = tortoise, turtle
This is my favorite Chinese character and one of the few that sort of resembles the word it represents. At the top you have the head, then the two bits sticking out on the left are the claws, the shell is on the right and at the bottom is the tail. If I hadn’t told you this though, I doubt if you would have guessed the meaning of this character.
The turtle is a symbol of longevity, strength, stability and prophecy in Chinese culture. The idea that the world is supported by a giant turtle appears in stories in many cultures.
By the way, in case you’re wondering, the Chinese character at the top of this page means character, letter or word and is pronounced zì in Mandarin Chinese, ji in Japanese and ja in Korean.