Easy Lookup Categories for Traditional and Simplified Chinese Characters

The Easy Lookup system divides both Traditional and Simplified Chinese characters into 12 Categories to make Chinese character lookup easier.

Categorization in the Easy Lookup System is based purely on the shape of Chinese characters. As a result, Chinese character lookup is made easier (even for beginners) because there is no need to know a characters radical, stroke count or pronounciation.

Categorization can be based on the initial element of a character or it's final element.

To make categories easier to remember they've been given descriptive names which relate to their shape.

To further simplify Chinese character lookup, categories are divided into a maximum of 16 groups.

Easy Lookup Categories Based on Initial Elements of Chinese Characters

For both Simplified and Traditional Chinese characters, the categories for Initial elements are shown below.

囗: Box
凵: Bottom
⺆: Cover
乛: Right
厂: Left
丿: Slant
丶: Dot
𠄌: Hook
八: Hat
十: Cross
丨: Vertical
一: Horizontal

The shape for a category is typical of all groups within that category.

For example:

Groups within the Box 囗 category include characters that begin with some variation of the Box shape.

Box 囗 category groups:
囗吅号足巳尸囗田日門艮眉黑罒目貝 .

Groups within the Bottom 凵 category only include characters that begin with some variation of the Bottom shape.

Bottom 凵 category groups
凵凹凸山豳豐屮出乚匕比

Groups within the Cover ⺆ category only include characters that begin with some variation of the Cover shape.

Cover ⺆ category groups
丹用月冂冊卩阝咼骨冖且皿几風

The above examples are for Traditional Chinese character Groups. But the same principles apply to Simplified Chinese character groups in the Easy Lookup System.

Easy Lookup Categories Based on Final Elements of Chinese Characters

Where initial elements are generally the top most, left most or outer part of a character, the final elements are generally the bottom most, right most and in some cases, the innermost part of a character.

Final element categories aren't just based on the final element of a character, but the final "stroke" or "strokes" of the final element. As such the categories for Final elements are slightly different, just because there are some shapes that exist at the end of Chinese characters that aren't found in initial part and vice versa.

The categories for Final elements are shown below.

口: Box
冂: Cover
凵: Bottom
一: Horizontal
十: Cross
丨: Vertical
亅: Left
乚: Right
人: O ("O" is the cangjie input code associated with the 人 shape).
乂: K ("K" is the cangjie input code associated with the 㐅 shape).
丿: Slant
丶: Dot

As with initial elements, the shape for a final element category is typical of all groups within that category.

For example:

Groups within the Cover 冂 category include characters that end with some variation of this shape (note the hook in the right hand leg!)

Cover 冂 category groups:
冂冋雨丙而冊甬冉用丹月⺼ .

Groups within the Right 乚 category only include characters that end with a stroke that bends to the right and ends with a hook.

Right 乚 category groups:
乚虎匕龍乜兄兀几巳㔾气弋戈戉

Groups within the K category only include characters that end with two crossed legs 乂 or with a shape that looks like the two right arms of the K shape (something like this ㄑ).

K 乂 category
乂又夜隻殳支及夂攵女艮癶衣巛

The Easy Lookup Chinese English Dictionary includes 3 Easy Lookup indexes making both Traditional and Simplified Chinese character lookup easy, whether you are a beginner or advanced student of Chinese.

Find out more about the Easy Lookup Chinese English Dictionary or

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The Easy Lookup Chinese to English Dictionary ebook, Neil Keleher.