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The Most Common Mandarin Chinese Words - Part One

Arranged By Pinyin - A B C


There are many Mandarin frequency lists which show the relative frequency of Chinese characters. For example, the Chinese Text Computing web page has several lists of Chinese characters compiled from various sources.

However, Chinese words are often composed of more than one character, so lists of single characters can be deceiving.

Here is a list of the most common Mandarin words, as opposed to individual characters. Some of the entries are individual characters, but the majority are character compounds which form Mandarin words. Adapted from the Steering Committee of the Test of Proficiency - Huayu


Traditional: 啊
Simplified: 啊
Pinyin: a

Meaning: Interjection showing surprise, doubt, approval, or consent. Can be pronounced in any of the four tones.


Traditional: 矮
Simplified: 矮
Pinyin: ăi

Meaning: short (not tall)


Traditional: 阿姨
Simplified: 阿姨
Pinyin: āyí

Meaning: auntie


Traditional: 安全
Simplified: 安全
Pinyin: ānquán

Meaning: safe; secure; safety; security


Traditional: 吧
Simplified: 吧
Pinyin: ba

Meaning: modal particle indicating polite suggestion; ...right?; ...OK?

Traditional: 八
Simplified: 八
Pinyin: bā

Meaning: eight; 8

Traditional: 把
Simplified: 把
Pinyin: bă

Meaning: (a measure word); (marker for direct-object); to hold; to contain; to grasp; to take hold of


Traditional: 爸爸
Simplified: 爸爸
Pinyin: bàba

Meaning: (informal) father


Traditional: 白
Simplified: 白
Pinyin: bái

Meaning: white; snowy; empty; blank; bright; clear; plain; pure; gratuitous


Traditional: 百
Simplified: 百
Pinyin: băi

Meaning: hundred

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