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Common Chinese Words

A list of the most common Chinese words ordered by their frequency of use. You can use this list to learn words efficiently, ensuring you cover the basic vocabulary of Chinese.

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Rank Word Pinyin Meanings
 
1 wǒ, ě, 1ernacular, 1nd=common, 2nc=literary, 2nd=rare 1. I, me
     認識 高興xìng。 - I am pleased to meet you.
2 1. (informal) you (the person spoken to or written to)
     你好 - hello
      今天 ? - How are you today?
      喜歡 。 - I like you.
3 dì, dí 1. bright; clear; distinct
2. white; white-coloured
3. white forehead of horses; white-foreheaded horse
4. centre of target for archery
5. aim; standard; criterion
6. target; objective
     目的dì - purpose, aim, goal
4 shì 1. (obsolete) this; this thing
2. (copulative) to be.
3.    (indicating that the subject and object are the same.)
4.   ::泰晤士河 是 ^英國 第二 長 的 河流。 - The River Thames is the second longest river in the UK.
5.    (indicating that the subject has the qualities described by a noun or noun phrase.)
6.   ::我 是 老師 - I am a teacher
7.   ::我 是 中國人 - I am Chinese.
5 liǎodiǎo 1. adv. (obsolete) The appearance of something hanging.
le 2. (Used after a verb, indicate perfective aspect (action completion).)
      蘋果。 - I ate the apple.
      ^北京 。 - He lived in Beijing for two years.
3. (Used at the end of a sentence, indicate a change of state.)
      大學生 。 - He has become student / He is a student now.
liǎo 4. to finish, to be completed
6 1. he; him; she; her (originally gender-neutral; nowadays usually referring to males)
      。 - He went away.
      認識shi 。 - I know him.
2. other; another
      - have no other request (formal)
7 men, mén, 1ernacular, 2nc=literary 1. (Suffix indicating plural for pronouns, some animated nouns and personifications.)
     我們 - we
     孩子zi - children
8 me 1. exclamatory final particle
yāo, āo, 2ariant 2. one
3. interrogative final particle
4. tiny, small
5. insignificant, small, tiny
6. adj. tiny; minute
7. a suffix (interrogative)
9 yǒu 1. to have; to possess (when a subject is present)
      。 - I have two cars.
2. there is; to exist (when a subject is absent)
      。 - There are a lot of people.
     這兒r ? - Are there any books here?
3. (euphemistic) to be pregnant with a child
4. abundant; affluent
10 zài 1. (located) in, at
      ^中國。 - I live in China.
2. to exist, to be (located)
      哪裡? - Where is he?
3. be ...-ing, in the middle of doing something (indicating an action in progress)
      電視。 - I'm watching TV.
4. during; in
11 zhè, zhèi 1. (Beginning Mandarin) this, these
      。 - This is not your book, it's mine.
      。 - This is really good. Buy this one.
      。 - Read this book.
12 shén, shí 1. file of ten soldiers
2. 10
3. num. ten (used in fractions)
4. adj. miscellaneous, assorted
13 1. not (preceding verbs and adjectives)
     這個 。 - This is not good.
      。 - He does not love you.
2. no (answer to a yes-no question)
      日本人 不是。 - Are you Japanese? No, I'm not.
3. n-g, Used with
      每天 不是 上班就是 義工一點兒r 休息 時間 沒有。 - Everyday, he either goes to work or volunteers, not leaving any time for rest.
14 nà, nèi 1. that, those
      ? - Who is that person?
      什麼? - What's that?
2. n-g, Used after
3. then; in that case
      ? - (Then) what about me?
nǎ, něi 4. (dated) (zh-alt-form, 哪, which; where)
15 lái 1. to come; to arrive
2. to happen; to occur
3. to do ((specific meaning depending on the context))
4. since
5. next; coming; future
6. (after a number) about; approximately; around
7. (Used after a verb of motion to indicate movement toward the speaker.)
16 1. Kangxi radical №1
2. Shuōwén Jiězì radical №1
3. one (numeral, adjective and noun)
4. each
5. single, alone
6. whole entire, all, throughout
7. same, identical
17 yāo      yāo - to request
     yāo - to threaten, to blackmail
     yāo - to restrict, to agree to a contract/offer/bid
     yāo - to intercept, to ambush
     久要yāo - former contract
yào 1. to want; to wish; to need
      睡覺jiào。 - I want to sleep.
18 gè, ge 1. piece, item; individual
      - an individual; personal
      - individuality
2. size, height
      - height, stature
     r - size
3. separate, respective; separately, individually
19 jiù 1. to approach; to move towards
2. to undertake; to engage in
3. to succeed; to complete
4. to comply; to follow; to accept
5. to suffer; to be subjected to
6. (of food) to go with
7. with regard to; concerning
20 1. li (a unit of distance equal to half a kilometre in modern China)
2. in, inside
     公里 - kilometre
3. place
4. village (an administrative unit in the Republic of China)
5. inside, interior, within
6. lane (a type of road in Hong Kong)
21 rén 1. man, person, people
2. human being, Homo sapiens
3. body
4. everybody, everyone
5. physical, psychological or moral quality or condition
6. a person associated with a particular identity or trait; -er
7. manpower, worker, employee
22 huì 1. union, group, association
2. a place where people meet; an economic or political centre; city, town
3. occasion, opportunity, chance
4. to understand, to grasp
5. to gather, to assemble
6. to meet, to rendezvous
7. meeting, gathering
23 méi 1. not have; there is not; to be without
     沒意思 - uninteresting literally: to not have fun
     這兒r 。 - There's nobody here.
2. be not so ... as (when comparing)
      。 - I'm not as tall as you.
3. less than, no more than
4. n-g, Negative prefix for verb
24 1. she, her
      。 - She went away.
      認識shi 。 - I know her.
25 ma 1. part. (Beginning Mandarin) final interrogative particle on a yes/no question
      喜歡 ? - Do you like it?
2. n. Used as a phonetic character.
      - morphine
      - manna
26 wéi 1. to do, to make
2. (to turn, to transform) into, to
3. to be (equivalent to, equal to)
4. to take something as
5. to act as; to serve as; to behave as
6. as (in the capacity of)
wèi 7. for; to
27 shuō 1. to say, to speak
      ^漢語 - speak Chinese
     說話 - to speak
2. to explain
      清楚 - to make it clear
3. to refer to
4. to discuss
28 1. to go to; to go away; to leave; to depart
      哪兒r? - Where are you going?
2. (before or after a verb) to go in order to do something
3. to remove; to get rid of
4. (between two verbs) to; in order to
5. (Particle used after a verb of motion to indicates movement away from the speaker.)
6. to send; to dispatch
29 1. also; too
      。 - I also went.
2. (in negative sentences) neither, either
      如果 。 - If you don't go, I won't either.
3. (An adverbial particle used in the (lang, zh, 連……也……) and lang, zh, 連……也不如) constructions. Interchangeable with
4. (Used for emphasis.)
      不像話 。 - This is way too outrageous.
30 ba 1. part. Emphatic final particle; used at the end of a sentence to indicate a suggested action; often used to express imperative mood: let us ...; why don't you ...
      ! - Let's go!
      時間 。 - Do it when you have time.
     大家 工作 。 - Get to work, everybody.
2. part. Used at the end of a sentence used to concede a point.
      ! - Alright!
3. n. (onomatopoeia) sound of crackling; crack
Dictionary entries from Wiktionary
Word list from OpenSubtitles