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Welcome to our first article for learning Chinese enthusiasts. In this article you can find out about the Chinese character “fu” which means “wealth or happiness”. By explaining to you the characters origin and what it consists of you will hopefully have a much easier time to remember how to write it. If you are interested in learning Chinese for free, you can sign up to our website and enjoy our free Chinese online course library with weekly growing new content.
福 “fú” is a character that is combining two existing elements, a combined ideogram. Ideograms are graphic expressions of an idea or concept independent of the spoken language. On the left we have an altar, platform that was used to offer a sacrifice. The ideogram on the right is a vase or a jar for alcoholic drinks. It was a ritual to offer a sacrifice and pray for wealth, health and other things.
According to other sources, the jar 富 is a phonosemantic component indicating the pronunciation of the word, which is “fu” while the altar means “something from god”. However, this is not very accurate. Looking at the very first version of this character, you find two reaching hands for the jar, that are trying to put the jar on the altar, to make a sacrifice.
The original meaning of 福 was asking/praying for wealth before it became a noun.
Meaning 福 : happiness, good fortune, blessing