The Chinese character 包

And its component form


  1. to wrap
  2. package
  3. bag
  4. classifier (for packages)

包 is both a character and a character component

Everything you need to know about the Chinese character component 包

In addition to being a character on its own, is often used as a phonetic component in other Chinese characters.

When used as a component in a Chinese character, the phonetic component 包 brings its pronunciation “bāo” to the words it’s in, or you can expect the words that contain 包 to have a pronunciation sound close to “bāo”. In fact, as a rule of thumb, most words that contain 包 will either be pronounced “bāo” or have the same pinyin, but a different tone, like “bào” or “bǎo”. You’ll also find words which are pronounced pao below.

These characters all contain and are pronounced either “bāo”, “bào” or “bǎo”:


 to hold; to carry (in one’s arms); to hug;


to eat till full; satisfied





Another possible pronunciation for the character component is “pao”

The Chinese language is over 5000 years old, so, unsurprisingly, some characters’ pronunciations have evolved a little over time.

In addition to sometimes being pronounced “pao” with a different tone, 包 the phonetic component will also frequently be found in Chinese words pronounced “pǎo”, “pào” or “páo”, three pronunciations which are only one letter off (and a tone) from the sound “bāo”.

Sound “pao”

You can find the character component 包 being pronounced “pao” in words like:

pǎo: to run

pào: bubble; to soak

páo: to roar

 pào: pimple; acne

You’ll also find the phonetic component 包 in many other Chinese characters. Browse the full list here.

All 80,000+ Chinese characters share the same character components. Chinese character components are therefore essential for Chinese learners: they are the building blocks of Chinese. Character components help tremendously with understanding a character: they provide information on its meaning or on its pronunciation. In short, knowing character components will help you analyse, learn and remember each Chinese character much better.

Join us on Ninchanese as we teach you everything about the Chinese character components you need to know, little by little.

Related: Explore the key character components to know one by one, with this selection of meaning components and phonetic components.

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NinchaneseChinese Character Component 包 (phonetic)