How to Say and Write "Good" in Chinese

Why Does 好 Mean Good?

 "Good" is 好 (hǎo) in Chinese. Although that is a common translation of 好, this Chinese character is also used in a variety of ​manners and meanings. 


The Mandarin Chinese character 好 (hǎo) consists of two radicals: 女 (nǔ) and 子 (zǐ). 女 means girl, woman, or daughter. 子 means child or son. 

Speculations as to why the combination of these two characters means "woman" include the by now outdated idea that it is good for women to have a child, that the love between a woman and a man is good, or that the manner of girls are or should be good. 


好 (hǎo) is spoken in the third tone. This implies starting the syllable at a high pitch, lowering the pitch, then raising it again. 

Multiple Meanings

Translating the English word for "good" to Chinese brings us the character, 好. However, translating 好 into English leads to a variety of different definitions. While 好 can mean "good", it can also mean nice, friendly, done, easy, fine, prefer, very, or something completely different depending on the context and other Chinese characters 好 is paired with.

Mandarin Vocabulary with Hǎo

Here are a few examples of how 好 can take on other definitions: 

你好 (nǐ hǎo) - Hello

好吃 (hǎo chī) - Tasty; delicious

好看 (hǎo kàn) - Pretty; attractive

好聽 (hǎo tīng) - Pleasant to the ear; sounds nice

好久 (hǎo jiǔ) - A while; a long time

好像 (hǎo xiàng) - Very similar; look alike

好笑 (hǎo xiào) - Funny

爱好​ (ài hào) - Hobby

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Su, Qiu Gui. "How to Say and Write "Good" in Chinese." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Su, Qiu Gui. (2023, April 5). How to Say and Write "Good" in Chinese. Retrieved from Su, Qiu Gui. "How to Say and Write "Good" in Chinese." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 7, 2023).