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Learn “Fang” With Ruo Fang Chinese

Above are a few usages of the word 「方」(Fāng). Fāng is an extremely versatile character that has a multitude of meanings and usages. Above details four of those usages being:

  • 大方Dàfāng or generous
  • 方便 fāngbiàn or convenient
  • 方法fāngfǎ or method
  • 地方dìfāng or place.

In this blog post we will talk about one of Fāng’s other usages. This usage is directly related to shapes., more specifically the square and the rectangle:

  • 正方形 Zhèngfāngxíng or square
  • 長方形 Chángfāngxíng or rectangle.

As you by the pronunciation or possibly by the form of the characters these two square two identical characters:

  • fāng
  • xíng

Lets start with the easier of the two to define, or 形 xíng. 形 xíng in this particular case means form or shape.

fāng on the other hand could be said to mean a quadrilateral in this instance.

  • fāng : quadrilateral
  • xíng: shape or form

Therefore fāngxíng means a shape with 4 sides. Now if you look closely at 正方形 Zhèngfāngxíng and 長方形 Chángfāngxíng, you will notice that it is the first character that separated the two. These characters are:

  • Zhèng
  • Cháng

Zhèng in Chinese is a complicated word in Chinese with many meanings, but it is primarily seen to be as proper or right but also exactly. So in the case of a shape or a quadrilateral, it signifies that all sides are exactly equal. In other words all four sides are the same length, or a square.

Cháng in this instance means long. So a rectangle is stretched out longer in two of its sides, therefore it is a long quadrilateral.

  • Zhèng: exactly equal
  • Cháng: long

Therefore we can translate the 2 words accordingly:

  • 正方形 Zhèngfāngxíng: An equal sided quadrilateral
  • 長方形 Chángfāngxíng: A long sided quadrilateral

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