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Chinese Symbols for Family

December 9th, 2012 - by sheryl

A family usually consists of father, mother, sister, and brother. While, in some big Chinese families, they have four generations living under one roof. In Chinese symbol,  four generations living under one roof means “四世同堂”.


It is almost a original pictograph. The first Chinese Symbol is like a man holding sticks in the hands. In ancient China, father in a family had the absolute right to educate his children.


In the pictograph of the first Chinese Symbol, it is like a woman who is able to feed a baby at the breast. It is also a formal word, and is always used in literary creation to express the love for a place or a person that feed someone.


Chinese symbol for parents are more usually used in spoken language.

Elder Brother

The Chinese symbol for elder brother  is the man who is older than you and shares the same parents with you or has the same generation with you in your relatives.  However, in ancient China, it has different meanings. For example, in Tang Dynasty,elder brother meant father; also, it was the pet name for husband.

Elder Sister

It is a pictograph which keeps the original meaning. Chinese symbol for Elder sister consists of two parts: the left part represents a woman and the right part means strengthen or stressing. Hence, the two parts together refer to the woman who could be a helper. In ancient Chinese family, elder sister helps with father and elder brother.

Younger Brother

Younger brother is not only the man younger than you who shares the same parents with you, but also who has the same generation with you in your relatives. The meaning of Chinese symbol for younger brother has changed from its original one. The original meaning is sequence or order. Meanwhile, the pattern of Chinese symbol for younger brother  has been simplified.

Younger Sister

Except the ordinary meaning of this Chinese symbol, younger sister is also a warm name of younger women.

Also, in Chinese, there are specific and different addresses for siblings in mother’s family and father’s family.

This group stands for the siblings in mother’s family.They are the children of mother’s direct siblings. These four Chinese symbols separately refer to elder brother, elder sister, younger brother and younger sister.

This group stands for the siblings in father’s family. They are the children of father’s direct siblings. These four Chinese symbol separately refer to elder brother, elder sister, younger brother and younger sister.


In Chinese, addresses are different for the parents of mother and the parents of father. Also, Chinese symbols for grandparents  in  Southern China differ from the North. The general addresses are listed as below.


This Chinese Symbol refers to mother’s mother. In China, as many children grow up with their grandparents, they have fond feelings for their grandparents. The Chinese symbol for grandmother is usually used in literary creation. There is a famous Taiwan popular song named Grandmother’s Penghu Bay.

This Chinese symbol is father’s mother.


This Chinese symbol means mother’s father.

This Chinese symbol represents father’s father.


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