Bright in Chinese – Character ming / míng 明

Learn Chinese Characters – “明 míng” (bright in Chinese)

明 míng (bright in Chinese) is a Chinese character whose meaning is apparent when noting that its component parts are “sun” (日) on the left and “moon” (月) on the right.

These are the two things that make the world “bright” and “clear.”

(okay, in reality, it is the Sun & its reflection on the moon, but people in Ancient China didn’t know that yet!).

Chinese Words and Meanings – “明 míng” (bright in Chinese)

The meaning of “bright” is a bit less common than its primary definition “clear” or “clarity.” However, if a secondary meaning helps you remember a character, use it!

The word for “Tomorrow” 明天 (tiān) and “Next Year” 明年 (nián) both start with “bright.” This is quite an optimistic view of the future.

Another cool use of the “bright” meaning is the word “明星,” which is literally “bright star,” or more accurately “celebrity.”

明星 is also the word for “Venus” (which appears to be the “brightest” of the specks of light in the night sky).

Consider the Chinese word for “civilized” or “civilization” 文明 (wén). Literature or language relates to文, so if the literature of the people is brushed up, people tend to be a bit less barbaric and a bit more civilized.

Now, how about the meaning of “Clarity”?

Let’s take a look at these three words to understand it more deeply:

Learn the Chinese alphabet

All of these words are a verb followed by a result of “clarity.”

说明 (shuō) translates to “to explain,” and think about it, speech that leads to clarity is precisely what the process of explaining something is.

证明 (zhèng) means “to prove,” which makes loads of sense when you translate 证 as “evidence.” The evidence is clear! 

The final word 表明 is similar to 说明 in the sense that the result is clarity. However, 表 means “to show” or “to express,” so how one expresses the clarity is not limited to speech. You might 表明 your political opinions, or 表明 your love for your significant other by proposing.

In Chinese, the character for “white” (白 bái) can also have a meaning of clear. So if something is so clear that you say it twice “明白,” then it’s fair to say you “understand” it.

Hopefully, taking the time today to 说明 how to use 明 will turn you into a Chinese learning 明星!

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