10 Lucky Chinese Characters With a Lot of Meaning

The Chinese symbol for luck.

Auspicious Chinese characters are posted in homes and businesses in hopes of attracting good luck and prosperity. (Image: Kenneth Lu via Flickr)

Chinese characters usually have more than one meaning. Chinese people love certain characters in particular. A list of the top 10 most auspicious ones follows. Please note that the Chinese phonetic system for characters, pin yin, is also used here. For example, “fu” is pin yin for good luck in Chinese, but “fu” is only the phonetic part of the character and also represents other Chinese characters that sound the same.

10 lucky Chinese characters

1. (福) Fu: blessings, good fortune, good luck

Fu is one of the most popular Chinese characters used during Chinese New Year. It is often posted upside down on the front door of a dwelling. The upside-down character fu means “good luck came,” since the character representing “upside down” in Chinese sounds the same as “good luck has come.”

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The Chinese symbol for luck is shown as part of a framed artwork.
The character ‘fu’ is often posted during Chinese New Year. (Image: kennejima via Flickr)

2. (祿) Lu: prosperity

It used to refer to an official’s salary in ancient China. Feng shui is believed to be the Chinese way to health, wealth, and happiness. The three words often used together — fu, lu, and shou — are considered the triplet of blessing in feng shui and indicate good luck, wealth, and long life.

3. (合) He: harmonious

“Living with others in harmony” is an important part of Chinese culture. When you have harmonious relations with others, things will be a lot easier for you.

4. (財) Cai: wealth, money

Chinese often say money can make a ghost turn a millstone. People used to greet each other during Chinese New Year by saying ”Kong xi fa cai,” which means to get more money and make a fortune.

5. (壽) Shou: longevity

Shou also means long life, or “birthday” for elderly people.

6. (喜) Xi: happiness

The character of double happiness is usually posted everywhere for Chinese weddings.

A box for wedding favors with the Chinese characters for "double happiness."
The character of double happiness can be seen on this box of wedding favors. (Image: Kenneth Lu via Flickr)

7. (愛) Ai: love, affection

Little needs to be said about this one. We merely want to point out that ai is often used in conjunction with ren: “ai ren” — meaning lover. Chinese often use this to refer to the wife.

8. (美) Mei: beautiful, pretty

Mei means beautiful. Mei li in Chinese describes a person who is pretty and nice looking. It is good to say: “That lady is mei li.”

9. (吉) Ji: lucky, auspicious, propitiousde

The character also implies living in a time of few wars with less danger.

10. (德) De: virtue, morals

De means virtue, morals, values, heart or mind, kindness, integrity, and ethics and is one of the most important of the Chinese characters.

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