Chinese

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clear; bright; to understand
clear; bright; to understand; next; the Ming dynasty
 
white; empty; blank
white; empty; blank; bright; clear; plain; pure; gratuitous
 
simp. and trad.
(明白)
Literally: “clear and clean”.

Etymology

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Attested in Zhuangzi ("clear and clean"), Chu Ci ("bright and clean"), Mozi ("to be evident, clear"), Tao Te Ching ("to know, to understand").

Pronunciation

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Rime
Character
Reading # 1/1 1/1
Initial () (4) (3)
Final () (111) (113)
Tone (調) Level (Ø) Checked (Ø)
Openness (開合) Open Open
Division () III II
Fanqie
Baxter mjaeng baek
Reconstructions
Zhengzhang
Shangfang
/mˠiæŋ/ /bˠæk̚/
Pan
Wuyun
/mᵚiaŋ/ /bᵚak̚/
Shao
Rongfen
/miaŋ/ /bak̚/
Edwin
Pulleyblank
/miajŋ/ /baɨjk̚/
Li
Rong
/miɐŋ/ /bɐk̚/
Wang
Li
/mĭɐŋ/ /bɐk̚/
Bernard
Karlgren
/mi̯ɐŋ/ /bʱɐk̚/
Expected
Mandarin
Reflex
míng
Expected
Cantonese
Reflex
ming4 bak6
BaxterSagart system 1.1 (2014)
Character
Reading # 1/1 1/1
Modern
Beijing
(Pinyin)
míng bái
Middle
Chinese
‹ mjæng › ‹ bæk ›
Old
Chinese
/*mraŋ/ /*bˁrak/
English bright white

Notes for Old Chinese notations in the Baxter–Sagart system:

* Parentheses "()" indicate uncertain presence;
* Square brackets "[]" indicate uncertain identity, e.g. *[t] as coda may in fact be *-t or *-p;
* Angle brackets "<>" indicate infix;
* Hyphen "-" indicates morpheme boundary;

* Period "." indicates syllable boundary.
Zhengzhang system (2003)
Character
Reading # 1/1 1/1
No. 9188 207
Phonetic
component
Rime
group
Rime
subdivision
0 0
Corresponding
MC rime
Old
Chinese
/*mraŋ/ /*braːɡ/

Verb

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明白

  1. to understand; to know
    長大明白 [MSC, trad.]
    长大明白 [MSC, simp.]
    Děng nǐ zhǎngdà jiù míngbai le. [Pinyin]
    You'll understand when you grow up.
    明白 [MSC, trad.]
    明白 [MSC, simp.]
    Wǒ jiǎng de huà nǐ míngbai le ma? [Pinyin]
    Do you understand what I said?
    什麼心裡明白 [MSC, trad.]
    什么心里明白 [MSC, simp.]
    Nǐ zài xiǎng shénme, wǒ xīnli quán míngbai. [Pinyin]
    I know for sure what you are thinking.

Usage notes

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When used as a verb, 明白 (míngbai) conveys an understanding of a meaning or a situation. To express an ability to understand a language, see 會說会说 (huìshuō, “to be able to speak”), 聽懂听懂 (tīngdǒng, “to understand by listening”) or 看懂 (kàndǒng, “to understand when reading”).

Synonyms

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Adjective

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明白

  1. clear; obvious; evident
  2. open; explicit; frank
  3. sensible; reasonable

Synonyms

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  • (clear):
  • (explicit):

See also

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  • (not to be confused with) 明日 (míngrì)

Derived terms

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Descendants

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Sino-Xenic (明白):
  • White Hmong: meejpem
  • Japanese

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    Etymology 1

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    Kanji in this term
    めい
    Grade: 2
    はく
    Grade: 1
    on’yomi

    Pronunciation

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    Adjective

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    (めい)(はく) (meihaku-na (adnominal (めい)(はく) (meihaku na), adverbial (めい)(はく) (meihaku ni))

    1. clear, obvious, plain, undeniable
      明白(めいはく)(あん)()()(けつ)()()(はん)だ。
      Meihaku na anporiketsugīhan da.
      It is a clear violation of Security Council resolutions.
    Inflection
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    Noun

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    (めい)(はく) (meihaku

    1. obviousness, undeniability

    Etymology 2

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    Kanji in this term
    あからさま
    Grade: 2 Grade: 1
    jukujikun
    For pronunciation and definitions of 明白 – see the following entry.
    あからさま
    [adjective] open; candid
    Alternative spelling
    明白地
    (This term, 明白, is an alternative spelling (literary) of the above term.)

    References

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    1. ^ Matsumura, Akira, editor (2006), 大辞林 [Daijirin] (in Japanese), Third edition, Tokyo: Sanseidō, →ISBN
    2. ^ NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute, editor (1998), NHK日本語発音アクセント辞典 [NHK Japanese Pronunciation Accent Dictionary] (in Japanese), Tokyo: NHK Publishing, Inc., →ISBN
    3. ^ Kindaichi, Kyōsuke et al., editors (1997), 新明解国語辞典 [Shin Meikai Kokugo Jiten] (in Japanese), Fifth edition, Tokyo: Sanseidō, →ISBN

    Vietnamese

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    chữ Hán Nôm in this term

    Adjective

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    明白

    1. chữ Hán form of minh bạch.