Simplified Chinese Radicals List – Free Printable Reference

Greetings travellers,

We’ve created a new resource for your bag of Chinese study tools – a one-page printable reference of the Simplified Chinese radicals list. We couldn’t find a decent list of simplified radicals organised like this, so we made it ourselves.

Simplified Radicals List

When studying Chinese, most students, at sometime or other, encounter or become interested in learning the the various Chinese radicals (部首) that make up, or are contained within, Chinese characters (漢字).

In my opinion, learning the radicals is by no means essential, however, at times they can prove to be useful aids in creating mnemonics so as to better remember the definitions of characters. They also help you to remember how to write characters by hand. It can also be quite fun exercise to see what elements exist in a character and whether or not they can be linked to the actual modern meaning. Chinese dictionaries also usually offer a radical index, so by knowing the radicals you’ll have another way to look characters up.

The problem is that the most commonly referenced set of radicals – the Kangxi list (from the so named 康熙字典), is old and more useful for learners of Traditional Chinese.

Simplified Chinese Radicals

For Simplified Chinese we have the CASS (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences) list, which is found within a lot of simplified dictionaries, give or take a few entries. Though it’s difficult to find information about the CASS list and most information on radicals is geared toward the aforementioned Kanxi list. Here we’ve made an attempt to make a simple and clear radical reference list that is useful for simplified learners. This list is based on the CASS list, though has been altered in a few ways:

While the CASS contains all of the radicals and their variants, each variant is a seprarate entry. In our new list the variants have been grouped together to save space, which is more along the lines of the way the Kanxi list is organised – with different ways of writing a radical being a variant and not a distinct entry in the list. We have also ordered the radicals by the simplified stroke order of the most common variant. For example 讠 was deemed more common than 言 and so you will find this entry along with other 2 stroke radicals. In addition, a few less-frequently seen variants have also been excluded because we felt they weren’t as useful.

The reference is organised as so:

  • Larger font size indicates these are the more useful and frequently occurring radicals.
  • An asterisk next to certain entries suggest that this is a particularly frequently occurring radical.
  • The medium font size entries are not considered simplified radicals, however have been included because we think they are useful and commonly found in characters.
  • The radicals in a smaller font size located at the very base of the page are contained with the CASS list but are not frequently occurring. However, a lot of these entries are still useful as individual characters themselves, so by no means neglect them. They just do not show up very often as parts of other characters. For example 血 is a common character, but apart from 血 itself, don’t expect to see it a lot.

Finally, the pronunciation is not included because that is not the point of this list. Think of it more as a mnemonic guide/template to help you remember and get a better feel for certain characters. If you wish to know the know the pronunciation then you can check out our other free self printable radical poster, or check online.

We will be editing the list over time so suggestions are more than welcome.

Download the Simplified Chinese Radicals List – Free Printable Reference (hosted on

6 responses to “Simplified Chinese Radicals List – Free Printable Reference

  1. This is perfect, just the right thing for me to bring along to my next class. Already planning to pester my teacher to use this to practice writing Chinese characters, should be a blast!

  2. Good works! One thing that I would really like that I can’t seem to find is the common names for radicals like 三点水 sāndiǎnshuǐ. Really helps if you’re trying to explain a character to a Chinese person.

  3. I downloaded the pdf and found that some of the characters were incorrect. They have similar glyphs but the unicode is not in the right range.

    For example, the character used for the radical 厶 is actually the Zhuyin / BoPoMoFo character for the syllable “si” rather than the radical character (厶, U+53B6, or ⼛, U+2F1B as a radical specifically).

    Please check your character encodings against the list on Wikipedia:

    Thank you.

    – nello

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