Languages › Mandarin Chinese Character for "Left" Learn How to Say and Write Left-handed in Chinese Share Flipboard Email Print Mandarin Understanding Chinese Characters Mandarin History and Culture Pronunciation Vocabulary By Qiu Gui Su Chinese Language Expert Qiu Gui Su is a native Mandarin speaker who has taught Mandarin Chinese for over 20 years. our editorial process Qiu Gui Su Updated November 04, 2019 Knowing the Chinese word for left can be very helpful when it comes to giving directions or pointing something out. Easily remember how to say and write left in Chinese with these few explanations. Breaking Down the Character The Chinese character for left is 左 (zuǒ). The character is composed of two elements: the radical 工 (gōng) and a stylized version of the character 手 (shǒu). The character 工 means worker or work. Pictographically, the word represents a carpenter's square. The character 手 means hand. Therefore, one can interpret 左 as a left hand holding a square. Compare this with 右 (yòu), which means right. Both of these characters contain a stylized symbol of the word for hand. But in the case of 右, the character's second element is the word for mouth, 口 (kǒu). Because it is common to eat with the right hand, the inclusion of 口 (kǒu) reminds us that the definition of 右 is right. Mandarin Vocabulary With Zuǒ Get a taste of how you can put the Chinese word for left to use with this chart of characters and phrases. Traditional Characters Simplified Characters Pinyin English 左邊 左边 zuǒ biān left (side) 左輪手槍 左轮手枪 zuǒ lún shǒu qiāng revolver 左右 左右 zuǒ yòu about; approximately; left and right; around 左面 左面 zuǒ miàn left side of something 左右勾拳 左右勾拳 zuǒ yòu gōu quán the old one-two; a left and a right hook 向左 向左 xiàngzuǒ facing left 中左 中左 zhōngzuǒ center-left 相左 相左 xiāngzuǒ to be at right angles Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Su, Qiu Gui. "Chinese Character for "Left"." ThoughtCo, Jan. 29, 2020, thoughtco.com/left-zuo-chinese-character-profile-2278338. Su, Qiu Gui. (2020, January 29). Chinese Character for "Left". Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/left-zuo-chinese-character-profile-2278338 Su, Qiu Gui. "Chinese Character for "Left"." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/left-zuo-chinese-character-profile-2278338 (accessed October 16, 2021). copy citation Learning Mandarin Chinese Why Mandarin Chinese is easier than you think The Complete Chinese Character Profile for 早 How to Say and Write "You" in Chinese How to Choose a Chinese Baby Name for a Boy Ten English Words Borrowed From Chinese Write Chinese Characters Using Pinyin and Phonetic Input Method What Does the Chinese Character 家 Mean? What Are the Various Meanings of the Chinese Character 日 (rì) Meaning and Usage of the Chinese Character for "Harmony" Learning to Write Chinese Characters The Importance of Strokes in Chinese Characters Learn to Say and Write "I" in Chinese The Purpose and Meaning of the Chinese Character for Horse Chinese Language Characters as Pictographs What Is the Difference Between Mandarin and Cantonese?