Simplified Chinese Radicals List Version 4 Available for Download

Version 4 of the Simplified Chinese Radicals List, a free printable radicals reference 終於出爐了!

I’ve finally got round to updating this. A big thank you to “Gharial from Chinese-forums” who took the time to comment the last time we posted this and provided us with a lot of feedback.

Here is a summary of what the list is and what has changed.

It is based upon the CASS 189/POCD 188 simplified system. Includes 其 and 业, which are not present in the Kangxi system.

A couple of Kangxi radicals that do not exist in the CASS list have been retained, such as 生 and 牙.

The list is ordered by stroke-order and variations are shown together, except in the case of 毋/母. Currently 覀 and 西 are placed together, as are 己,已 and 巳, however I may alter this in the future.

Generally the stroke count of the most common form of each radical dictates its position in the list. For example 食 is placed quite far up the list because by far the most common form is 饣and it only consists of three strokes. I realise there might be some debate are to what the “most common” form is for certain radicals, so please leave a comment if you feel I’ve made a mistake.

I have chosen to shade grey radicals that were classed as variants in the Kangxi System (although not necessarily in the CASS system) purely because it’s all quite tightly packed together and it aids reading/navigation.

Pinyin pronunciation has been added to each radical, however since the single-character pronunciation for a lot of radicals is not commonly known, it’s generally better to refer to them by colloquial name. We will be adding a colloquial name field to each of the Radicals in our online reference in the near future, however squeezing them onto an A4 page really pushes Inkjet technology to its limits.

The page was designed to printed on A4, black and white, though should also print fine on US letter sized paper.

Head over to MandarinPoster where you can download the latest vesion.

  • Hi Chris,

    What you’re attempting to do here is a great thing. Many Chinese learners will appreciate this.

    For 雨 would it be worth also including its radical form such as in 雷 where it appears different (i.e. much shorter, outside lines are on an angle, dots come out below outer vertical lines, etc.).

    Keep up the awesome work!!! 🙂

  • Hey Max,

    Thanks for the kinds words 🙂

    I know exactly what you mean, however I can’t for the life of me find that variant of 雨 in any Chinese font.

    I am certain I’ve seen it somewhere though. Hmm. Maybe I’ll have another look.


  • Edited the file to show the variant form of 雨 (at the top).

    • Great job! Where did you end up finding it?

      • Couldn’t find a font so just had to cut it out of another character!

  • Pingback: Learn Chinese radicals that look so darned similar « Learn Chinese Weekly()

  • Mai Laoshi

    This poster is fantastic, and I’m sure it will help my students a lot. A pretty remarkable achievement to get them all on one page!

    A few comments/questions:

    Not sure about 弋 (line 3, seventh radical) meaning “Two-hands”. I think it means “to shoot” (with a retrievable arrow, no less!).

    Any way to include the 牜(bound, usu. on the side) variant of 牛?

    It looks like the 牛 radical and the 老 radical have the top part in grey overlaid on top of the character. Is that intentional? Lack of “real estate”?

    Nice to have both “yue4” and “rou4”, but in simplified Chinese, there’s no distinction between the graphs any more.

    I wonder about the usefulness of including 鬥 (sixth last radical) for simplified Chinese. I can’t find simplified characters that contain it. Maybe you could remove it and free up more room (?)

    Thanks for your efforts!

  • Hi Mai Laoshi,

    This is great, thanks so much for the suggestions. I’ve made a couple of quick edits just now to fix the ‘shoot’ and ‘cow’ entries but will leave the rest till after Christmas has passed.

    Thanks again,

  • Gharial from Chinese-forums ;)

    Thanks for the hat tip, Chris! 🙂 I like the look of this new version a lot, and think it will really help embed the radicals in one’s mind (it’s far easier to often glance at your poster chart on a wall than to heave a dictionary down each time and flip to its much smaller charts!).

    A few suggestions still, if I may (those that others haven’t picked up on):

    1) You could be nice n fuzzy and name 一 as yī/yīhéng (一横), to cover both the independent character and the name of the componential stroke (which is colloquial yet monosyllabic enough that it’ll fit easily onto the chart, as will the names in 2)). Could also try (yī)héng (see also see 2)).

    2) 丨 seems more commonly known as shù or yīshù 一竖(the bisyllabicism doubtless helps when decomposing and describing unknown characters with this stroke e.g. over the phone). Maybe call it (yī)shù, then. Same thing really with 丿 and 丶 , which I’d call (yī)piě and (yī)diǎn respectively.

    3) You could do with indicating which side of characters each of the 阝 appears on. Then, the CASS 189/POCD 188 ordering has the L (mound) before the R (town), but you have them the other way around.

    4) Although it is in some respects logical to include the 3rd variant that you have for ‘hand’, it will not help the learner to then discover that actual dictionaries such as the POCD only allow one to search for e.g. 看 under 目. That is, note that the variant you’ve included does not end in shùgōu 亅(the compound vertical downstroke + hook).

    5) I’m not sure that 寸 should be glossed as ‘thumb’.

    6) Is the 3rd variant of 小 valid? (In the way the 7), as opposed to 4), is).

    7) Unlike 4) above, I can see the point of including 已 as a variant, as one will of course find this in the 己 radical section in the POCD etc. Nice one! 😉

    8) I’m not sure that 歹 should be glossed as ‘death’, but I can see it’s in the right ballpark.

    9) The gloss for 牙 is ‘Fang’ (which isn’t English LOL ;).

    10) Have you included 攵? It is classified as a different radical to 攴 in the CASS system, and even in the Kangxi (which holds them to simply be variants), the 攵 “variant” is actually how the radical invariably appears (the only appearance of 攴 in most modern dictionaries is in the character 敲). Feel free (if you haven’t already!) to consult and plunder my guide to simplified radicals here regarding these tricky points (they can still get me checking sometimes LOL 8).

    11) 虍 is another one I’d cut out of a full character to make it look more how it does as a radical ( ~ in characters).

    12) (@Mai Laoshi) 鬥 was presumably retained in the POCD and similar dictionaries due to them catering for traditional look-ups also (e.g. 鬥 itself, and 鬧, each as opposed to simply 斗 and 闹).

    If I spot any more questionable items or omissions etc, I’ll post again, but I think those are the main ones (and I’m going cross-eyed now!).

    • dejj

      I concur about: 阝 – at least give us some positional hinting. Centering both radicals doesn’t do anything for the reader.

  • Gharial from Chinese-forums ;)

    Oops, re. 9), of course Fang is English! As in White Fang LOL :))

  • Thanks for the feedback guys, will have a look over the suggestions and get an updated version out as soon I get some free time. Cheers.

  • OK made some changes. Not final, but hopefully an improvement.

    -Radicals 1 to 4 have had their pronunciaton updated to show a more used colloquial name.
    -阝and 阝have switched places to match the CASS list plus the side they are found on has been noted.
    -Updated the meaning of 寸 to Thumb/Inch.
    -Updated the meaning of 歹 to Death/Bad.
    -Changed the font of 虍 to better represent it’s shape as a radical.

  • Gharial from Chinese-forums ;)

    Looking good!


    I’d get rid of the “meat” radical. I don’t recall seeing that particular font or variant much, and (as Mai Laoshi has already pointed out), in the simplified system it’s (held to be) identical with the radical-character for ‘moon’. (Come to think of it, there aren’t even that many traditional characters that actually have 肉 as their WYS radical).

    Regarding 攴, I’d replace it with 攵. (If you have space, include both, but not as variants of each other – they’ll need separate entries). As I’ve pointed out several times now, 攵 isn’t regarded as a variant of 攴 in the simplified system (it is held to be an entirely separate radical – WYSIWYG), and is far more common and thus important. The former meanwhile only appears in one character (敲), so it wouldn’t be missed much. I think you may be overlooking this particular point due to your likely greater familiarity with the traditional Kangxi system.

  • Gharial from Chinese-forums ;)

    Edit: When I say get rid of the meat radical, what I mean is just have the form for ‘moon’, but give it a combined gloss of meat/moon (that’s the ordering of the most common meaning-positions), or if you prefer, moon-meat (which at least gives precedence to the meaning of the independent character). Again, see my Guide for more, and possibly my comments in the following link:

  • Gharial from Chinese-forums ;)

    Oops, this comment (saves reading too much preceding stuff), didn’t spot the permalink until now:

  • dejj

    I saw that you released v5 of the sheet– nice. Even nicer if you could post a changelog.
    You still have 2x Stone, and 2x Enclosure on it though.

    • dejj

      also 2x Walk

    • Hi Dejj,

      I’m working on getting a proper changelog online, and giving this Rads list a proper page here on ChineseHacks rather than just a post.

      As for the contents of the list I’ll leave that question for Chris to field.