Chinese Characters List (Top 100) || + Flashcards & Quiz (2023)

Learn Chinese • By LTL Team HQ •

Traditional Chinese Characters List | The 100 Most Common Characters

There are literally thousands of characters so today we’re going to start off with a list of the 100 most common Traditional Chinese characters.

Chinese Characters List (Top 100) || + Flashcards & Quiz (1)

Make sure to have a read of our Traditional Chinese vs Simplified Chinese blog if you’re not sure what the difference is.

But you might be wondering, how many characters actually are there?

Well the answer to that isn’t actually as straight forward as you might think it is. According to the Taiwan Ministry of Education’s 2004 Dictionary of Chinese Character Variants (異體字字典, Yìtǐzì zìdiǎn) the figure is 106,230!!

However, most modern-day dictionaries commonly have around 20,000 characters.

For example, the Modern Chinese Language Dictionary(現代漢語詞典 xiàndài hànyǔ cídiǎn) has 12,500 characters.

Are you really expected to learn that many characters!?

The answer is no.

In fact, it’s estimated that you only need to know around 3,000 characters to be able to read most things. After you’ve studied this blog test your knowledge of the top 100 most common traditional Chinese Characters.

⬇️⬇️⬇️ Top 100 Traditional Chinese Characters Quiz ⬇️⬇️⬇️

In 2013 the Chinese government published a list of 3,500 essential characters which is the minimum that Chinese school children are expected to learn.

If this is starting to feel a little overwhelming then relax!

Characters are actually made up of a varying amount of Chinese radicals, so once you’ve become familiar with these it’ll begin to get easier to recognise characters.

(Video) HSK 1 Vocabulary List (Flashcards) - 150 Basic Chinese Words Review | Learn Chinese for Beginners

For daily life such as ordering food, going shopping and asking for directions, you can actually get by knowing around 500-750 characters. So, take it one step at a time.

So, speaking of small steps a good place to begin is learning our list of the 100 most common Traditional Chinese characters.

Chinese Characters List || 1-10

Chinese Characters List || 11-20

Chinese Characters List || 21-30

(Video) Basic Chinese Words Flashcards 1179 - HSK 1 to 4 Vocabulary (汉语口语水平)

Chinese Characters List || 31-40

Chinese Characters List || 41-50

Chinese Characters List || 51-60

Chinese Characters List || 61-70

Chinese Characters List || 71-80

Chinese Characters List || 81-90

Chinese Characters List || 91-100

BONUS || Common Chinese Characters Posters

Traditional Chinese Characters List: 1-10

Now, if you’re also familiar with simplified Chinese you might actually notice that the top 10 most common traditional Chinese characters are written exactly the same as their simplified counterpart.

In fact, only around a quarter of the characters on this list differ from the simplified version.

It’s probable that when simplified Chinese was first developed they decided to keep many of the most common characters the same to make things easier.

Traditional CharacterSimplified CharacterPinyinEnglish Translation
de grammatical particle marking possession
shì to be
not, negative
le verb particle marking past tense, completed action, change in condition.
rén person
zài at, located at
yǒu have, there is
Chinese Characters List (Top 100) || + Flashcards & Quiz (2)

Traditional Chinese Characters List: 11-20

With our next 10 characters, we get our first variations from the simplified version.

Traditional CharacterSimplified CharacterPinyinEnglish Translation
zhè this
zhōng middle
lái come
shàng above, on, over/last, previous
guó country
general quantifier
dào to, towards, until, arrive
shuō speak, say
men pluralize nouns referring to people
Chinese Characters List (Top 100) || + Flashcards & Quiz (3)
Chinese Characters List (Top 100) || + Flashcards & Quiz (4)
Chinese Characters List (Top 100) || + Flashcards & Quiz (5)

Traditional Chinese Characters List: 21-30

Traditional CharacterSimplified CharacterPinyinEnglish Translation
wèi in order to, for the purpose of…
together, with
earth, ground, place
chū go out, come out
dào way, path, way
also, as well
shí time period, season
nián year
Chinese Characters List (Top 100) || + Flashcards & Quiz (6)

Learn more about time in Chinese.

Traditional Chinese Characters List: 31-40

Traditional CharacterSimplified CharacterPinyinEnglish Translation
deto have to / adverbial particle
jiùjust, simply, right away
yàowant, will do, need, important
xiàbelow, under, down / next
because of, in order to / according to
shēnggive birth, life
huìcan, able, meet, party, society
from, self
zheverb particle marking a progressive aspect (e.g. -ing)
Chinese Characters List (Top 100) || + Flashcards & Quiz (7)
Chinese Characters List (Top 100) || + Flashcards & Quiz (8)

Traditional Chinese Characters List: 41-50

Traditional CharacterSimplified CharacterPinyinEnglish Translation
go, leave, depart
zhīsubordinator, go, leave for
guòpass, cross, exceed
jiāhome, family
xuéstudy, learn
duìcorrect, mutual, pair
~able, may, can
neighborhood, half kilometer
Chinese Characters List (Top 100) || + Flashcards & Quiz (9)
Chinese Characters List (Top 100) || + Flashcards & Quiz (10)
Chinese Characters List (Top 100) || + Flashcards & Quiz (11)
Rooms at Home 🏠 A Complete Guide to Your House in Chinese Put labels on things you see constantly in the house and learn the vocabulary for house in Chinese and every other daily object in this way.

Traditional Chinese Characters List: 51-60

Great, you’ve made it halfway already!!

(Video) New HSK 3.0| 300 Basic Characters Flashcards(1-100)|HSK 1-3| stroke/words/sentence/examples Part 1

Just another 50 to go and you’ll be one step closer to your Chinese learning goals!

Traditional CharacterSimplified CharacterPinyinEnglish Translation
me/mointerrogative suffix
duōmany, much, more
tiānsky, heaven, god, day
érand, furthermore
néngcan, be able
ráncorrect, so, like that
Chinese Characters List (Top 100) || + Flashcards & Quiz (13)

Want to learn more body parts in Chinese?

Traditional Chinese Characters List: 61-70

Traditional CharacterSimplified CharacterPinyinEnglish Translation
méihaven’t, there isn’t, no
in, at, for, to, from, by, than
rise, start
háistill, yet
deliver, develop, expand
chéngaccomplish, succeed / to become
shìmatter, thing, event, accident
zhǐonly, just
zuòdo, make
Chinese Characters List (Top 100) || + Flashcards & Quiz (14)
Chinese Characters List (Top 100) || + Flashcards & Quiz (15)

Traditional Chinese Characters List: 71-80

Traditional CharacterSimplified CharacterPinyinEnglish Translation
dāngserve as, act as
xiǎngthink, feel, want
kànsee, look at
wénlanguage, literature
without, have not
zhǔlord, master, live
Chinese Characters List (Top 100) || + Flashcards & Quiz (16)

You might have noticed we’ve already had a couple of numbers included in this list of most common Traditional Chinese characters.

Learning how to recognise and write numbers in Chinese is also a really good thing to learn and get your head around early on.

Traditional Chinese Characters List: 81-90

Traditional CharacterSimplified CharacterPinyinEnglish Translation
xínggo, OK
yòuagain, both… and…
like, as, as if
qiánin front, previous, first, former
běnbasis, origin, edition
jiànappear to be, meet with
tóuhead, top, first
Chinese Characters List (Top 100) || + Flashcards & Quiz (17)
Chinese Characters List (Top 100) || + Flashcards & Quiz (18)

Traditional Chinese Characters List: 91-100

Traditional CharacterSimplified CharacterPinyinEnglish Translation
miànface, surface
gōngpublic, official
stop, end
cóngfrom, through
chánglong, length
Chinese Characters List (Top 100) || + Flashcards & Quiz (19)
Chinese Characters List (Top 100) || + Flashcards & Quiz (20)
Chinese Characters List (Top 100) || + Flashcards & Quiz (21)

And there you have it, the 100 most common Traditional Chinese Characters full list!

Once you’ve learnt these you’ll start to recognise them everywhere, so it’s worthwhile to learn them to build a solid foundation.

Traditional Chinese Characters Quiz

Things You Have To Know About Taiwanese Mandarin What is the difference between Taiwanese Mandarin and Standard Mandarin? What language do they speak in Taiwan? Your questions are all answered here.

Chinese Characters Posters

A special one here because we are giving you two posters for one. You can even get them free by simply sharing on your Facebook!

Traditional Chinese Characters List – FAQs

What is the most common Traditional Chinese character?

The most common traditional Chinese character is 的 (de) which is a grammatical particle.

What are the 10 most common Traditional Chinese characters?

The 10 most common traditional Chinese characters are 的,一,是,不,了,人,我,在,有,他。

How long does it take to learn the 100 most common Traditional Chinese characters?

If you take Chinese classes you’ll definitely make quick progress in learning the 100 most common Traditional Chinese characters.

(Video) Distinguishing Similar Chinese Characters - Flashcards - Sets of Three

Are all simplified and traditional character different?

Only around a quarter of the characters on this list differ from the simplified version.

Where is best to learn Traditional Chinese?

Traditional Chinese is used in Taiwan and Hong Kong but as Cantonese is used mainly in Hong Kong, Taiwan is without doubt the best place to learn Traditional Chinese.

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BONUS | Want to study the local Taiwanese dialect known as Hokkien? We provide Hokkien classes in person and online.

Chinese Characters List (Top 100) || + Flashcards & Quiz (23)

Read More

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  • Things You Have To Know About Taiwanese Mandarin
  • Chinese Numbers | The Ultimate Guide (PLUS Free Quiz Inside)


Leave a Reply

  1. I got the full 100%!!!! So hyped

    1. Go on CJ!!

  2. So many are the same, should I learn both?

    1. Your choice Coleman, Simplified is always a good starting point but there’s no harm trying to learn both as you go. Pleco will help you here.

  3. Every one right in the quiz

    1. The boss!

  4. Traditional are way more beautiful, just sayin

    1. 😃

      (Video) Master 100+ Chinese Words A Day With This AMAZING Technique

  5. How do you know the orientation of the symbols if not in a definable context? e.g. Makers Marks on the bottom of a cylindrical brass bowl? To me the symbols could be read from any of 4 positions.

  6. […] BONUS || Do you know the 100 most commonly used Chinese characters? Check them out here. […]


How many English words is 100 Chinese characters? ›

This is easy to estimate with a simple practical formulation: 100 Chinese characters will generally translate to about 70 English words. A good range would be from 60 to 80 English words.

How can I memorize Chinese characters easily? ›

How to memorize Chinese characters
  1. Focus on the components. Instead of focusing on radicals, focus on the components of the characters. ...
  2. Read Mandarin books. One of the best methods for improving your Mandarin language skills is by reading Mandarin books. ...
  3. Test yourself with flashcards.

What is the rarest Chinese character? ›

The Chinese character “biáng” is one of the most complex and rare Chinese characters in contemporary usage, although the character is not found in modern dictionaries. It cannot be entered into computers either.

What language has only 123 words? ›

That metaphorical process is at the heart of Toki Pona, the world's smallest language. While the Oxford English Dictionary contains a quarter of a million entries, and even Koko the gorilla communicates with over 1,000 gestures in American Sign Language, the total vocabulary of Toki Pona is a mere 123 words.

Can I learn Chinese in 30 days? ›

Starting from zero to speak Mandarin fluently within 30 days is not a practical plan to master the Chinese language, even if you can study 10 hours per day. However, it is possible to develop the habit of learning Chinese in your daily life through a 30 days training session.

How can I memorize 10x fast? ›

6 Tips on How to Memorize Fast and Easily
  1. Understand your learning style.
  2. Learn the 3 'R's of memorization.
  3. Practice the substitution method.
  4. Learn the story and link method.
  5. Use the memory palace method.
  6. Apply spaced repetition strategically.
Feb 12, 2021

How many hours does it take to learn Chinese fluently? ›

It takes about 4-7 years (roughly 2200 to 4000 hours) to become fluent in every aspect of the language, if you spend at least an hour and a half to study every day. However, it's quite common for learners to become more fluent in some areas than others depending on how they allotted their study time.

What's the hardest Chinese word? ›

The character biáng requires 62 total strokes to write and contains a 馬 horse, 月 moon,刂 knife and 心 heart plus other radicals. Biáng doesn't exist in Modern Standard Mandarin which only serves to increase the mystery and intrigue surrounding the character.

What is the oldest Chinese character? ›

Oracle Bone Inscriptions refers to the writings inscribed on the carapaces of tortoises and mammals during the Shang Dynasty (1600 – 1046 B.C.). This is the earliest form of Chinese characters.

What is the hardest Chinese word to say? ›

1. 四十四 (sì shí sì) — 44. This one's definitely a tongue twister on its own, having to switch between the consonants s and sh.

What is my name Chinese? ›

我的名字叫。。。 (Wǒ De Míng Zi Jiào…) — My Name Is… Another common way to introduce yourself is to extend 我叫… into 我的名字叫…

What is the Chinese symbol for love? ›

The Chinese character for "love" or "to love" is in traditional Chinese, but it can also be written as 爱 in simplified Chinese.

What is your name in Chinese letter? ›

你叫什么名字? (Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi?) What's your name?

What is the 1 easiest language? ›

Easiest (about 600 hours of study)

Of these, Spanish and Italian are the easiest for native English speakers to learn, followed by Portuguese and finally French.

What is the 3 hardest language? ›

Generally, if you're an English speaker with no exposure to other languages, here are some of the most challenging and difficult languages to learn: Mandarin Chinese. Arabic. Vietnamese.

What are 7000 languages? ›

7000 Languages is a non-profit that creates free language-learning software in partnership with Indigenous communities around the world. Research has shown that kids who learn their heritage language have higher self-esteem, do better in school, and are more likely to graduate.

How many English words is 1000 Chinese characters? ›

Or we can say, every 1,000 Chinese character will be "converted" into about 620 English words.

Is 100 characters the same as 100 words? ›

Answer: 100 characters is between 14 words and 25 words with spaces included in the character count. If spaces are not included in the character count, then 100 characters is between 16 words and 34 words.

Is there an English word with 100 letters? ›

James Joyce made up nine 100-letter words plus one 101-letter word in his novel Finnegans Wake, the most famous of which is Bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronntuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthurnuk.

How long does it take to translate 1000 Chinese words? ›

How many hours does it take to translate 1000 words?
Translation project word countExpected turnaround
Up to 1000 words1~2 days
1000~3000 words2~3 days
3000~4000 words3~4 days
4000~5000 words4~5 days


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