The Chinese character 日

And its meaning component form

(trad: 日 )

  1. sun
  2. day
  3. date (of the month)
  4. date

The Chinese character  was drawn to look like the sun. It was originally a lot rounder!
Here’s a sentence using 日: 生日快乐! 
Happy Birthday! 

日 is a meaning character component

The Chinese character component 日 ri and it's meaning

is used as a meaning component in Chinese characters. You’ll find in characters and words related directly or indirectly to the sun, light, time or drying.

These characters all contain and have a direct link with time, light, sun or drying:




bright, to understand




early, morning

The character component 日 in other types of words

The meaning component 日 can be found in Chinese characters and words that are related to the sun, time or light, which makes sense. You can also find the meaning component 日 in characters that are less directly related to these themes.

That’s either because their meaning has evolved over time, or because the characters’ meanings used to involve the sun, light or time before and no longer do. Sometimes 日 is also the phonetic component in a character, so always ask yourself when you run into it: does it indicate something that has to do with time, the sun, light or drying?

Most of the time it will, but sometimes, just so you know, it won’t or the link won’t be very clear. Mandarin is a living language, so that’s not surprising!


You can also find the character component 日 used in words indirectly related to time, the light, sun, or drying or completely unrelated to these themes, such as:

 tì: to substitute for, to replace, to stand in for

zēng: great-grand (child, etc)

 hòu: thick, profound, deep

You’ll also find the meaning component  日 for light, sun, time 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. 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 character components one by one, with this selection of meaning components and phonetic components.

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NinchaneseChinese Character Component 日 date – meaning