Basic Language | Dong

Previous Index Next 
dong : east Pinyindōng (first tone)
Pronounced like 'doong'

The story behind this character is that it is a picture of the sun rising behind trees. The modern, simplified form of the character has lost much of the clarity for this derivation.

The Chinese often put 'opposites' together in words to mean general concepts. In this classic case the word 'dong xi' (literally 'east-west') gives the impression of generality (anything under the sun) and so means 'anything'.

The provinces of Shandong (literally mountain East) and Guangdong (literally vast East) have the character as part of the name.

dong : east xi : west
east west = thing

Copyright © SACU 1965-2017. If you have any comments, updates or corrections please let us know via our Contact page.