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See also: ?


Stroke order
6 strokes
Stroke order

Han character

? (radical 125, ?+0, 6 strokes, cangjie input (JKP), four-corner 44711, composition ???)

  1. Kangxi radical #125, ?.

Derived characters


  • KangXi: page 960, character 25
  • Dai Kanwa Jiten: character 28842
  • Dae Jaweon: page 1407, character 8
  • Hanyu Da Zidian: volume 4, page 2778, character 1
  • Unihan data for U+8001


simp. and trad.

Glyph origin

Historical forms of the character ?
Shang Western Zhou Warring States Shuowen Jiezi (compiled in Han) Liushutong (compiled in Ming)
Oracle bone script Bronze inscriptions Chu Slip and silk script Small seal script Transcribed ancient scripts
?-oracle.svg ?-bronze.svg ?-silk.svg ?-seal.svg ?-bigseal.svg
Characters in the same phonetic series (?) (Zhengzhang, 2003) 
Old Chinese
? *ru:?
? *ru:?, *ma:?
? *ru:?
? *ru:?

Ideogrammic compound (): ? ("man") + ? ("hair") + ? ("cane") - a man with long hair (an old man), leaning on a cane. Compare top component to ? (OC *q?ru:s).

Cognate to ? (OC *k?lu:?); the most commonly cited example of ("reciprocal meaning").


Unknown. Compare Proto-Sino-Tibetan *s-raw ("withered, residue, corpse"), *rwat ("stiff, tough"), whence Burmese ? (rau, "wither, become overripe; age"), ? (rwat, "old, stiff, tough"). See also ? (g?), ? ().

An old Sino-Vietnamese borrowing is r?u ("overripe, pulpy").




  1. old, aged, elderly (for persons, animate and inanimate objects generally)
  2. + the elderly, one's elders
  3. experienced
  4. + to respect (the elderly, one's elders)
  5. overcooked, tough, stringy, hard (used in reference to cooked food or meat)
    • ???,?????? [MSC, trad.]
      ???,?????? [MSC, simp.]
      Niúpái tài l?o le, w? y?o bù dòng t?. [Pinyin]
      The steak was so tough I couldn't eat it.
    • ????,???? [MSC, trad.]
      ????,???? [MSC, simp.]
      Zhè j?dàn zh? l?o le, n? méi zh?ngwò h?o hu?hòu. [Pinyin]
      This egg is hard; you didn't time it properly.
  6. stale, not fresh (used in reference to food or potable liquids)
  7. always, all the time
    • ???! / ???!  -  N? bié l?o zhèyàng!  -  Stop being always like this!
  8. (chiefly dialectal) very, quite
    -> ? (h?n)
    • ??????  -  T? rén l?o h?o le.  -  He is such a nice person! [colloquial, somewhat regional]
    • ??? [Shanghainese, trad.]
      ??? [Shanghainese, simp.]
      [k?ø³³ t n²³ t?s? g²¹ l?²³ k?e ²¹] [IPA]
      I am really happy to see you.
  9. (affectionate, respectful) Used before surnames to refer to heads or elder members of families.
    -> ? (xi?o) (for younger people)
    • ????,??????? [MSC, trad.]
      ????,??????? [MSC, simp.]
      L?o Zh?ng m?shàng lái le, w? d?i g?nj?n sh?ushí y? xià w? z?. [Pinyin]
      Old Zhang is going to be here any minute. I need to hurry up and straighten the room up a bit.
  10. (usually respectful and affectionate) Used by analogy in several other relationship terms.
    • ?? / ??  -  l?osh?  -  teacher
    • ??  -  l?o  -  wifey
    • ??  -  l?og?ng  -  hubby
  11. (zoology) Used before several animals considered noxious or unpleasant.
    • ??  -  l?oh?  -  tiger
    • ??  -  l?osh?  -  mouse
  12. (colloquial) Used before placenames, particularly countries, to form nouns.
    • ??  -  l?owài  -  (pejorative) foreigner, furriner, whitey
    • ??  -  l?om?i  -  (pejorative) American person, Yank
    • ?  -  l?omáozi  -  (pejorative) Russian person
  13. (Mainland China, Hong Kong) Short for / (L?ow?, "Laos").





(grade 4 "Ky?iku" kanji)

  1. old age, an elderly person, the aged, the elderly





? o (ro>no) (hangeul ?>?)

  1. This term needs a translation to English. Please help out and add a translation, then remove the text {{rfdef}}.


Han character

? (lão, láu, l?o, l?u, r?u, l?u, l?o, l?u)

  1. This term needs a translation to English. Please help out and add a translation, then remove the text {{rfdef}}.

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