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cái (Zhuyin ㄘㄞˊ)

  1. Pinyin transcription of ,
  2. Pinyin transcription of
  3. Pinyin transcription of
  4. Pinyin transcription of
  5. Pinyin transcription of ,
  6. Pinyin transcription of
  7. Pinyin transcription of



Etymology 1[edit]

Non-Sino-Vietnamese reading of Chinese (one thing; classifier, SV: ).



  1. Indicates an inanimate, tangible thing
    Cái răng cái tóc là góc con người.
    Essentially, teeth and hair tell how good one looks.
  2. Precedes another classifier (any one but “cái” itself), effectively acting as a focus marker, sometimes conveying a connotation of deprecation, especially if persons are referred to.
    Cái thằng đần thối này!
    Why you retarded moron!
See also[edit]



  1. (only in compounds) a thing; a whatsit
    Synonym: đồ
    cái đánh trứnga whisk (literally, “the thing for whisking eggs”)
    cái đẹpbeauty / the Beautiful (literally, “the beautiful thing / the thing of beauty”)
    cái cao cảgreatness / grandeur / the Sublime (literally, “the great/grand(iose) thing”)
  2. the solid bits of a broth
    Canh này thì chỉ có nước là ngon, còn cái thì dở ẹc.
    Only the liquid part of this broth tastes good, the solid bits suck.
    (literally, “As for this broth, only the liquid part is good, as for its solid bits, they suck.”)
See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Proto-Vietic *-keːʔ (woman; female). Compare gái.

Alternative forms[edit]

  • (North Central Vietnam) cấy



  1. (archaic) mother


cái ()

  1. (of a non-human and non-avian species of animal or plant or their reproductive organs) female
    hoa cáian exclusively "female" flower, one that can bear fruit
  2. (now chiefly in compounds) big, large, main
    sông cáithe big river
    ngón chân cáithe big toe
Derived terms[edit]
Derived terms
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  1. (Northern Vietnam) Title affixed to rural young girls' names.
    Cái Bống là cái bống bang
    Khéo sảy khéo sàng cho mẹ nấu cơm
    Mẹ Bống đi chợ đường trơn
    Bống ra gánh đỡ chạy cơn mưa ròng.
    Oh, Little, Little Goby
    Be careful filterin' the rice, so that Mommy can cook it.
    Goby's Mommy has returned from the market on a slippy road
    Goby goes help her carry the pole, to [quickly] get away from the heavy rain.