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Left - Zuo - Chinese Character Profile


The Mandarin Chinese character for left is 左 (pronounced zuǒ). It is composed of two elements - the radical 工 (gōng - meaning worker or work) and a stylized version of the character for hand - 手 (shǒu).

The character 工 is a pictograph representing a carpenter's square. So you could interpret 左 as a left hand holding a square.

Compare this character with 右 (yòu), which means right. Both of these characters depict a hand, in the case of 右 combined with a mouth, which reminds us that it is common to eat with the right hand.

Mandarin Vocabulary With Zuǒ

Traditional Characters Simplified CharactersPinyinEnglish
左邊 左边 zuǒ biān left (side)
左輪手槍 左轮手枪 zuǒ lún shǒu qiāng revolver
左右 左右 zuǒ yòu about; approximately; left and right; around
左面 左面 zuǒ miàn left side of something
左右勾拳 左右勾拳 zuǒ yòu gōu quán the old one-two; a left and a right hook
向左 向左 xiàngzuǒ facing left
中左 中左 zhōngzuǒ center-left
相左 相左 xiāngzuǒ to be at right angles
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