The Chinese character 老 means old; aged; or experienced. It is commonly used as a prefix to the surname of a person to show affection or familiarity. It is also used to indicate birth order in a family. It is pronounced lǎo.
The character 老 is a radical, but is made up of two elements - 耂 and 匕. The first element, 耂, is also pronounced lǎo, and is simply a variant of the character 老. The second element is 匕 (pronounced bǐ) and means spoon, ladle; or knife. It also looks a little bit like a cane, so the character 老 could be imagined as an old man with a cane.
The character 考 (kǎo) is related to 老 because it originally meant "old". The modern meaning of 考 (kǎo) is to check; to verify; to test; to examine; to take an exam. Its radical is listed as 老 (lǎo).
There are very few characters based on the radical 老 (lǎo). They mostly have to do with aging, and include:
- 耄 - mào - aged
- 者 - zhě - -ist, -er (person); person (who does something)
- 耆 - qí - man of sixty or seventy
- 耋 - diè - aged; in one`s eighties
Mandarin Vocabulary With Lǎo
|Traditional Characters||Simplified Characters||Pinyin||English|
|白頭諧老||白头谐老||bái tóu xié lǎo||live to ripe old age in conjugal bliss; remain a devoted couple to the end of their lives|
|老百姓||老百姓||lǎo bǎi xìng||ordinary people; the "person in the street"|
|老闆||老板||lǎo bǎn||boss; business proprietor|
|老二||老二||lǎo èr||the second child or brother (or sister)|
|老公||老公||lǎo gong||(informal) husband|
|老婆||老婆||lǎo pó||(informal) wife|
|老家||老家||lǎo jiā||native place; place of origin; home state or region|
|老實巴交||老实巴交||lǎo shí bā jiāo||honest; good natured|
|老鼠||老鼠||lǎo shǔ||rat; mouse|
|聖誕老人||圣诞老人||shèng dàn lǎo rén||Santa Claus|