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Stroke order
Stroke order


Ideogram (指事): a person with arms stretched out as far as possible, implying the meaning of big/great/large. This is in contrast to which represents a person with lowered arms implying small in size.

Compare with , which is a man with bent legs with the meaning of weak.

Compare also , which is a man with arms outstretched and a chest or a tattoo on his chest denoting culture or language, and to , which is a man with arms outstretched and leaning to side (running), denoting youth.

大 大 大 大
Oracle bone script Bronze inscriptions Large seal script Small seal script

Han character[edit]

(radical 37 +0, 3 strokes, cangjie input 大 (K), four-corner 40030)

  1. big, great, vast, large, high
Derived characters[edit]
Related characters[edit]


  • KangXi: page 248, character 1
  • Dai Kanwa Jiten: character 5831
  • Dae Jaweon: page 492, character 25
  • Hanyu Da Zidian: volume 1, page 520, character 1
  • Unihan data for U+5927



(Jyutping daai6, Yale daai6)

  1. big, large




(POJ thài, Guangdong t'ai5; t'ai3 [Meixian, Bao'an], Hagfa Pinyim tai4)




(grade 1 “Kyōiku” kanji)



  • 大邱 (てぐ, tegu) Japanese name for Daegu, Korea
  • 大判 (ōban) big size
  • 大道具 (ōdōgu) stage settings
  • 大喧嘩 (ōgenka) big fight
  • 大地震 (ōjishin) huge earth quake
  • 大火事 (ōkaji) big fire
  • 大騒動 (ōsōdō) huge mess
  • 大掃除 (ōsōji) through clean-ups
  • 大安 (たいあん, taian) lucky day
  • 大意 (たいい, taī) schema
  • 大家族 (だいかぞく, daikazoku) extended family
  • 大河 (おおかわ, ōkawa) river
  • 大河小説 (たいがしょうせつ, taigashōsetsu) saga novel
  • 大火 (たいか, taika) large fire
  • 大会 (たいかい, taikai) convention; rally
  • 大海 (たいかい, taikai) ocean; (おおうみ, ōumi) fabric pattern
  • 大学 (だいがく, daigaku) university
  • 大寒 (だいかん, daikan) midwinter
  • 大観 (たいかん, taikan) broad overview
  • 大関 (おおぜき, ōzeki) second highest sumo rank
  • 大気 (たいき, taiki) atmosphere
  • 大規模 (だいきぼ, daikibo) large-scale
  • 大儀 (たいぎ, taigi) state ceremony
  • 大義 (たいぎ, taigi) justice
  • 大逆 (たいぎゃく, taigyaku) high treason
  • 大挙 (たいきょ, taikyo) in force
  • 大虚 (たいきょ, taikyo) Taikyo
  • 大業 (おおわざ, ōwaza) great feat
  • 大局 (たいきょく, taikyoku) general situation
  • 大君 (おおきみ, ōkimi) emperor; king
  • 大群 (たいぐん, taigun) large herd; large flock; large crowd
  • 大軍 (たいぐん, taigun) large army
  • 大系 (たいけい, taikei) compendium
  • 大穴 (おおあな, ōana) large hole, deficit
  • 大言壮語 (たいげんそうご, taigensōgo) boasting; bragging
  • 大口 (おおぐち, ōguchi) large amount; big mouth; big talk
  • 大工 (だいく, daiku) carpenter
  • 大綱 (たいこう, taikō) fundamental principals; general outline
  • 大黒天 (だいこくてん, daikokuten) god of wealth
  • 大根 (だいこん, daikon) Japanese white radish
  • 大佐 (たいさ, taisa) colonel; navy captain
  • 大阪 (おおさか, ōsaka) Osaka
  • 大差 (たいさ, taisa) great difference
  • 大罪 (だいざい, daizai) serious crime
  • 大使 (たいし, taishi) ambassador
  • 大志 (たいし, taishi) ambition
  • 大事 (だいじ, daiji) important; serious
  • 大字 (おおあざ, ōagi) larger section of a village
  • 大樹 (たいじゅ, taiju) huge tree
  • 大衆 (たいしゅう, taishū) general public
  • 大暑 (たいしょ, taisho) midsummer's day
  • 大将 (たいしょう, taishō) general; admiral
  • 大小 (だいしょう, daisho) various sizes; large and small; a pair of swords worn together
  • 大丈夫 (だいじょうぶ, daijōbu) all right; okay; safe
  • 大食 (たいしょく, taishoku) gluttony
  • 大臣 (だいじん, daijin) cabinet minister
  • 大人 (おとな, otona) adult
  • 大西洋 (たいせいよう, taiseiyō) Atlantic Ocean
  • 大切 (たいせつ, taisetsu) important; valuable
  • 大戦 (たいせん, taisen) great battle; great war
  • 大胆 (だいたん, daiten) bold; daring
  • 大潮 (おおしお, ōshio) spring or flood tide
  • 大動脈 (だいどうみゃく, daidōmyaku) aorta
  • 大同小異 (だいどうしょうい, daidōshōi) with only minor differences
  • 大脳 (だいのう, dainō) brain
  • 大幅 (おおはば, ōhaba) full-width; drastic
  • 大名 (だいみょう, daimyō) feudal lord
  • 大様 (おおよう, ōyō) large-hearted; generous
  • 大洋 (たいよう, taiyō) ocean
  • 大理石 (だいりせき, dairiseki) marble
  • 大陸 (たいりく, tairiku) continent
  • 大量 (たいりょう, tairyō) a large amount
  • 大和 (やまと, yamato) Yamato
  • 大統領 (だいとうりょう, daitōryō), president

Etymology 1[edit]


(hiragana だい, romaji dai-)

  1. big, large
  2. the large part of
  3. university
Usage notes[edit]

This is often the first half two-character shorthand name of universities, for example 東大 (Tokyo University, Tōdai)

Etymology 2[edit]


(hiragana おお, romaji ō-)

  1. big




  • Sound (hangeul):  (revised: dae, McCune-Reischauer: tae, Yale: tay)
  • Name (hangeul): 크다 (revised: keuda, McCune-Reischauer: k'ŭda, Yale: khuta)




Three pronunciations can be found in Modern Standard Chinese:

1) Modern , from Middle Chinese L, from Old Chinese *daːds. The phonological development from Old Chinese to Middle Chinese is irregular. Original sense: "big" (Shijing). Derived senses: "size" (Mozi), "thick" (Zhuangzi), "to respect" (Mengzi), "to respect" (Xunzi), "to extol" (Gongyang Zhuan), "to exaggerate" (Classic of Rites), "arrogant" (Guoyu), "good" (I Ching), "(of time) long" (Erya), "senior" (Shijing).

2) Modern dài, from Middle Chinese dɑiL, from Old Chinese *daːds. This Middle Chinese pronunciation-preserving (i.e. literary) pronunciation occurs only in compounds such as 大夫 (dàifu, "doctor") and 大王 (dàiwang, "(in operas, old novels) king; ringleader").

3) Modern tài, from Middle Chinese tʰɑiL, from Old Chinese *tʰaːds. This is the ancient form of (tài, "too, excessively") and is obsolete in modern languages.

Pronunciation 2), the diphthong reading, is traditionally regarded as the correct one. However, the monophthong reading 1) has been recorded as early as Han Dynasty, and Sui-Tang rhyme books record both. Both readings are reflected in Sino-xenic readings in non-Sinitic languages, although the diphthong readings dominate in compounds. Axel Schüssler postulates that all pronunciations can eventually be traced back to liquid initials, i.e. 1,2) **laːts, 3) **hlaːts.

The three pronunciations are cognate. Within Chinese, they are cognate with (tài, OC *tʰaːds, "too, excessively"), (tài, OC *tʰaːds, "big", note that this character also means "to reach", perhaps unrelated), (dàn, OC *l̥aːnʔ, "big, magniloquent, ridiculous"). There are no unambiguous Tibeto-Burman cognates. Proto-Tibeto-Burman *tay ("big"), from which came Written Tibetan མཐེ་བོ (mthe bo, "thumb"), Nung tʰɛ ("big, large, great"), Mikir tʰè, ketʰè ("id."), Written Burmese တယ် (tai, very), is often compared with. There is no final -s in the Tibeto-Burman words, but a -y, which, according to James Matisoff, "indicates emergent quality in stative verbs". Also compare Chinese (duō, OC *ʔl̥aːl, "many, much"), (dū > dōu, OC *taː, "all").


Mandarin (Standard Chinese, Beijing)
Zhuyin ㄉㄚˋ
IPA (key) /ta̠⁵¹/


(traditional and simplified, Pinyin )

  1. big, large, huge
  2. main, major
  3. loud, heavy
  4. eldest


(traditional and simplified, Pinyin )

  1. greatly, very much


  1. (dialect) father
  2. (dialect) father's elder or younger brother


(Pinyin (da4), Wade-Giles ta4)



  • "" (in Mandarin/English), MDBG English to Chinese dictionary ( Based on CC-CEDICT ). URL accessed on 2014-02-17.

Middle Chinese[edit]

Han character[edit]


Min Nan[edit]


(TLPA tōa (toa7), tāi (tai7), ta (ta1), Guangdong dua6, dai6, da1))



Han character[edit]

(đại, dãy, dảy)