Chinese name: 小

Pinyin:  xiǎo

English name: small

Imagery: ants moving rice grains

History of radical: This tiny little radical is called small. In oracle bones it is an imagery of three small dots which represents small grains. People still argue over what these dots could be. Characters with this radical relate to small or little. The world’s smallest peak, Jingshan, in China’s Shandong province measures only 60cm high and 70cm wide. The local authority attempted to dig around it, but the bottom could not be reached.

For example: 

  • 少 (shǎo): a little; a few
  • 尘 (chén): dust
  • 尖 (jiān): pointy