- cai (nonstandard)
- Hanyu Pinyin reading of 才, 纔.
- Hanyu Pinyin reading of 材.
- Hanyu Pinyin reading of 犲.
- Hanyu Pinyin reading of 裁.
- Hanyu Pinyin reading of 財, 财.
- Hanyu Pinyin reading of 溨.
- Hanyu Pinyin reading of 㒲.
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.
- Indicates an inanimate, tangible thing
- Cái răng cái tóc là góc con người. ― Essentially, teeth and hair tell how good one looks.
- 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!
- (only in compounds) a thing; a whatsit
- Synonym: đồ
- cái đánh trứng ― a whisk (literally, “the thing for whisking eggs”)
- cái đẹp ― beauty / the Beautiful (literally, “the beautiful thing / the thing of beauty”)
- cái cao cả ― greatness / grandeur / the Sublime (literally, “the great/grand(iose) thing”)
- 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.”)
Attested in the title of Phùng Hưng, 布蓋大王 () ( puoH kɑiH dɑiH ɦʉɐŋSV: 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.
- (North Central Vietnam) cấy
- (of a non-human and non-avian species of animal or plant or their reproductive organs) female
- hoa cái ― carpellate flower; female flower
- (now chiefly in compounds) big, large, main
- sông cái ― the big river
- ngón chân cái ― the big toe
- (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.