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Fish - Yu - Chinese Character Profile

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Fish - Yu - Chinese Character Profile

The Chinese character meaning fish is 魚 in the traditional form and 鱼 in the simplified form. It is pronounced yú.

This character is also a radical, meaning that it is used as a building block in other, more complex Chinese characters, many of which have something to do with fish or seafood, as in these examples:

  • 魦 - shā - shark family, including some rays and skates
  • 魨 - tún - leatherfish
  • 鮚 / 鲒 - jié - oyster
  • 鮞 / 鲕 - ér - caviar; fish roe
  • 鯁 / 鲠 - gěng - blunt; fish bones; unyielding
  • 鯖 / 鲭 - qīng - mackerel; mullet
  • 鯨 / 鲸 - jīng - whale
  • 鱟 / 鲎 - hòu - king crab

The character 魚 / 鱼 is a pictograph which, in its earliest forms, clearly showed the fins, eyes, and scales of a fish. The current traditional form incorporates the four strokes of the fire radical (火 - 灬), perhaps suggesting that fish is most useful to human beings when it is cooked.

Mandarin Vocabulary With Yú

Traditional Characters Simplified CharactersPinyinEnglish
八帶魚 八带鱼 bā dài yú octopus
鮑魚 鲍鱼 bào yú abalone
捕魚 捕鱼 bǔ yú to catch fish
炒魷魚 炒鱿鱼 chǎo yóu yú to be fired
釣魚 钓鱼 diào yú to go fishing
鱷魚 鳄鱼 è yú alligator; crocodile
鮭魚 鮭鱼 guī yú salmon
金魚 金鱼 jīn yú goldfish
鯨魚 鲸鱼 jīng yú whale
鯊魚 鲨鱼 shā yú shark
魚夫 鱼夫 yú fū fisherman
魚竿 鱼竿 yú gān fishing rod
魚網 鱼网 yú wǎng fishing net

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