Ideogrammic compound (會意): 女 (“woman”) + 子 (“child”).
The widely accepted meaning of this character is that the characters for "female" (女) and "child" (子) were put together to form a compound because it was good for a woman to have a child. Similarly, it has been proposed that the compound originally refers to the mutual affection between the mother and child, which then extended to mean "good". These theories are supported by the smaller 子 found in some oracle bones and bronze inscriptions.
However, broader interpretations of the second character 子 could lead to other theories. 子 could also mean "son", so it may have meant two children, a boy and a girl next to each other, which is a good fortune to have a boy and a girl. 子 could also mean "man", so it may have referred to the love between a man and a woman, which is good. Duan Yucai, in his annotated version of Shuowen, interpreted it as originally referring to the beauty of 女子 (nǚzǐ, “woman”). Lastly, it could mean that the "attitude" of a girl was considered good.
The two pronunciations are cognate – pronunciation 2 is the *-s suffixed form, or exoactive/putative of pronunciation 1, literally "to consider good". Compare 惡 (OC *qaːɡ, “bad; evil”) > 惡 (OC *qaːɡs, “to consider bad; to hate”).
This word has been compared with Proto-Sino-Tibetan *hu (“to raise; to rear; to nourish”): Proto-Lolo-Burmese *hu3, Abor-Miri u, Qiang (Mawo) χu, which is only attested in a limited number of languages. If this is correct, it may be related to 畜 (OC *l̥ʰuɡs, *l̥ʰuɡ, *hluɡ, “to raise; to rear; domesticated animal”). Alternatively, compare Tibetan མཁོ (mkho, “necessary, important”).
Cognate with Central Bai hux (“good”), which may be a loanword from Chinese.
- good; well
- Antonyms: 壞／坏 (huài)
― Nǐ hǎo ma?
― How are you?
― Zhēn shì ge hǎo zhǔyì!
― That's a good
- Used as an interjection
- good; very well; nice
- OK; alright
- nice; kind
― Tāmen duì wǒ hěn hǎo.
― They are very kind
- friendly; close; acquainted
― hǎo péngyǒu
- done; ready
― Wǒ jiù yào hǎo le.
― I'll be ready
- to be good to, easy to
― Zhè shuǐlóngtóu hǎo nǐng.
― This tap turns easily
- (making it) convenient, easy for
- so that
- to recover from an illness
- (somewhat dialectal) very; quite; rather; so
- a pleasure to VERB
― a joy to use
- properly; carefully
― Jìdé dài hǎo yǔjù!
― Remember to bring along rain gear! / Make sure your rain gear is on you!
― Tīng hǎo le!
― Now listen carefully!
- Particle used after verbs to denote the completion or near-completion of an action.
― Zuòyè zuò hǎo le ma?
― Have you finished your homework?
- Particle denoting agreement, support or wish to terminate a conversation.
- Particle denoting dissatisfaction in ironical sentences.
- Vietnamese: hẩu (“kind, good, delicious”)
- to be fond of; to like
― to like
to learn without feeling tired
- to have a tendency to; to be prone to; good to; easy to
- (dialectal Mandarin, Wu) can; to be able to
好 (háo, háu, hảo, hão, hếu, hiếu, hấu, hẩu)
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