Word of the day – 和

The Chinese character héIn Mandarin Chinese, the word 和 (hé) has a number of meanings. On it’s own it is usually means ‘and’, but also means harmony, peace, to be affable, the sum, and ‘of Japan’.

Here are a few words featuring this character:
和平 (hépíng) – peace; peaceful; mild
和鳴 [和鸣] (hémíng) – to sound in harmony
和風 [和风] (héfeng) – a gentle breeze
和服 (héfú) – a (Japanese) kimono
和氣 [和气] (héqi) – gentle; affable; agreeable; friendly
和聲 [和声] (hésheng) – (musical) harmony

When pronounced , this character means to match; to harmonize, or to write a poem in reply (和詩). It has another pronunciation – huò – which means to knead or to mix. Apparently some people pronounce it han as well, but I’ve never heard that pronunciation.

In Japanese, this character is pronounced wa, o, yawa- or nago- and means peace; harmony; the sum; the total; Japan and various other things.

This entry was posted in Chinese, Japanese, Language, Words and phrases.

4 Responses to Word of the day – 和

  1. In Japanese it also has an uncommon reading where it is used in the word 大和 (yamato), as in 大和魂 (yamato damashii – Japanese Spirit) or 大和時代 (yamato jidai – Yamato period [250AD – 710AD])

  2. goofy says:

    和食 wa shoku – Japanese food

  3. Weili says:

    In Taiwan, this character is pronounced as both han and he when used as and/with. Under my impression the han pronunciation only exists in Taiwan.

  4. yuko says:

    In Japanese, it is also pronounced as “ka-zu” ,
    which is likely to be choosen as a name of boys and girls,
    ka-zu-mi (和美)for boys and girls
    ka-zu-ko (和子)for girls
    yo-shi-ka-zu(良和)for boys

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