cái

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Mandarin[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

  • cai (nonstandard)

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (file)

Romanization[edit]

cái (cai2, Zhuyin ㄘㄞˊ)

  1. Hanyu Pinyin reading of , .
  2. Hanyu Pinyin reading of .
  3. Hanyu Pinyin reading of .
  4. Hanyu Pinyin reading of .
  5. Hanyu Pinyin reading of , .
  6. Hanyu Pinyin reading of .
  7. Hanyu Pinyin reading of .

Vietnamese[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.
Particularly: “I have been pretty confident in the foreign origin of this form since the Sinitic forms with falling diphthong explain Vietnamese cái pretty well. However, the Vietic cognates with monophthongal front vowel (/e/ or /i/) would be hard to account for using the foreign origin. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that even if this word turned out to be of native origin, there should still be some influence/contamination from Sinitic and its usage as a classifier is certainly not of Proto-Vietic age.”

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

In Middle Vietnamese, this classifier is also attested to be used for certain animals (e.g. cái kiến (an ant), cái baba (a soft-shell turtle)). However, in Modern Vietnamese, this function has been completely taken over by the general animate classifier con. The size of the animal did not seem to be a factor on whether cái or con was used.

In Muong dialects, this usage can also be seen. For example, Muong Bi has cảy lòi (a wild boar), cảy ca (a chicken).

Classifier[edit]

cái (, 𫡔)

  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.
    Cầm cái con dao này đưa cho mẹ.
    Take this knife and hand it your mom.
    Cái thằng đần thối này!
    You moron!
See also[edit]

Noun[edit]

cái (𫡔)

  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.

Attested in the title of Phùng Hưng, 布蓋大王 (MC puoH kɑiH dɑiH ɦʉɐŋ) (SV: Bố Cái Đại Vương), with the first two characters rendering words ancestral to modern vua (monarch) and cái ("great, main"), equivalent to the Chinese 大王 nexts to it, i.e. the title is the phrase "great king/monarch" written in two languages.

Alternative forms[edit]

  • (North Central Vietnam) cấy

Noun[edit]

cái (𡡇, , , )

  1. (archaic) mother
See also[edit]
Derived terms

Adjective[edit]

cái (𡡇, , , )

  1. (of a non-human and non-avian species of animal or plant or their reproductive organs) female
    hoa cáicarpellate flower; female flower
  2. (now chiefly in compounds) big, large, main
    sông cáithe big river
    ngón chân cáithe big toe
Synonyms[edit]
See also[edit]
Derived terms

Prefix[edit]

cái (𡡇 - , , )

  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
    Sieves the rice so skillfully, 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 get away from the heavy rain.
Synonyms[edit]