Last week we learned how to say “man 男(nán)” in Chinese. This week we will continue to learn how to say women in Chinese: 女 – ‘female’.


女 is pronounced nǚ.


The character 女(nǚ)was first seen in the Oracle bone transcript in the Shang Dynasty.  Its meaning is woman; female or daughter.

The character 女(nǚ), which was created to look like the image of a woman crossing her legs. Can you see it?

In ancient China, women were always depicted in this way on Oracle bones, as they were supposed to stay at home to do housework, while waiting for their husbands to come back from the farm work.


女大当嫁 (nǚ dà dāng jià )

Literally, a girl should get married upon coming of age. Meaning, It is natural to get married when you grow up. 

女大十八变 (nǚ dà shí bā biàn)

Literally, a girl changes eighteen times before reaching womanhood. Meaning, a girl changes fast in physical appearance from childhood to adulthood

女大不中留 (nǚ dà bù zhōng liú)

Literally, a grown girl can’t be kept at home. Meaning, when a girl is of age, she must be married off.

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