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Kan - Chinese Character Profile for Look


The Chinese character 看 (kàn) means look or see. It is a compound of two characters: Hand (手) and eyes (目).

Both 手 (shǒu) and 目 (mù) are pictographs. Although their modern forms are somewhat stylized, their earlier forms clearly showed the palm and fingers of the hand and the pupil of the eye.

Since we often look at things by placing the hand above the eye, the character 看 is an ideal representation of seeing.

Mandarin Vocabulary With Kàn

Traditional Characters Simplified CharactersPinyinEnglish
依我來看 依我来看 yī wǒ lái kàn as I see it; in my opinion
好看 好看 hǎo kàn good-looking
從外表來看 从外表来看 cóng wài biǎo lái kàn seen from the outside
注意看 注意看 zhù yì kàn watch carefully
看不起 看不起 kàn bu qǐ look down upon; despise
看得見 看得见 kàn dé jiàn visible
難看 难看 nán kàn ugly
看病 看病 kàn bìng see a doctor; see a patient
殺雞給猴看 杀鸡给猴看 shā jī gěi hóu kàn "kill a chicken in front of a monkey" - make an example out of someone (by punishing them) to frighten others
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