What Are the Various Meanings of the Chinese Character 日 (rì)

The Chinese Character for Sun, Day, Date and More

Sunrise on Bund Shanghai with walking man
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The Chinese character 日 (rì) can be defined as day, sun, date, or day of the month. Besides being an independent character, it is also a radical. This means that 日 (rì) is a component of other characters that often have to do with the sun or with the day.

Character Evolution

The character 日 is a pictograph depicting the sun. Its earliest form was a circle with a dot in the center, and four rays extending from the circle. The central dot has become a horizontal stroke in the modern form of this character, which makes it similar to the character 目 (mù), which means eye.

Sun Radical

Here are some characters that incorporate the radical 日. Many Chinese words that include the sun radical are associated with daytime or brightness, but that is not always the case.

早 – zǎo – early; morning

旱 – hàn – drought

旴 – xū – rising sun

明 – míng – bright; clear

星 – xīng – star

春 – chūn – spring (season)

晚 – wǎn – evening; late; night

晝 – zhòu – daytime

晶 – jīng – crystal

曩 – nǎng – in former times

Mandarin Vocabulary With Rì

The Chinese word for sun can also be incorporated into other vocabulary words and phrases. See this chart for a few examples:

Traditional Characters Simplified Characters Pinyin English
暗無天日 暗無天日 àn wú tiān rì complete darkness
不日 不日 bù rì within the next few days
出生日期 出生日期 chū shēng rì qī date of birth
光天化日 光天化日 guāng tiān huà rì in broad daylight
節日 節日 jié rì holiday
星期日 星期日 xīng qī rì Sunday
日出 日出 rì chū sunrise
日本 日本 Rì běn Japan
日記 日記 rì jì diary
生日 生日 shēng rì birthday