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Q: What Language is this Symbol and What Does it Mean? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   6 Comments )
Subject: What Language is this Symbol and What Does it Mean?
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: jonbliss-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 18 Nov 2002 10:20 PST
Expires: 18 Dec 2002 10:20 PST
Question ID: 109991
Looking for the language and meaning of this symbol. Please provide
two sources that verify this.  Thanks!
Subject: Re: What Language is this Symbol and What Does it Mean?
Answered By: lot-ga on 18 Nov 2002 17:47 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello jonbliss-ga

The language is Chinese and the word is 'Fook' and it means
fortune/luck/happy. The word 'Fook' is often used at Chinese new year,
on lucky red packets for giving out gifts of money, on greeting cards,
and particulary as a lucky charm where it is appears as a diamond
shaped poster stuck on doors upside down.

It is stuck on upside down as a charm, because in Chinese it means
'Fook Do' meaning 'luck is coming' ('Do' in Chinese also means upside
down, which is phonetically the same as 'come' hence why it is turned
upside down). Anyone displaying their 'Fook' (on a door) the 'correct'
way up is actually displaying it wrongly! It is stuck on a door as the
door is the way into the house (to allow an entrance for the
fortune/happiness to come into the household)

The word 'Fook' is the top word, second banner along on the bottom row
on e-commerce site
It is used here to construct the sentence "Fook Sou Hong Ling" meaning
"Wishes for Happiness, Longevity and Good Health"

If you scroll down this page of this geocities site
you will come to a diamond shaped poster with a girl and boy either
side with the word 'Fook' displayed the 'incorrect' way up (it
technically should be upside down).

On this page from the 'Fook' is displayed the correct way
up (upside down) at the top of the page

Here it is displayed on a wind chime on the
e-commerce site
Large picture here:
where you can see the 'Fook' word upside down

They way the 'Fook' is written on your reference is more rounded, in
the older style of Chinese calligraphy
"There are also many forms of Chinese calligraphy. Some forms are more
curved, and rounded, while others have fewer strokes to them"
excerpt from
The 'Fook' also appears on this site in a upside down diamond shape
and you can clearly see the similarities despite the difference in
handwriting. Excerpt from the page "... on most doorways, there is a
red, diamond-shaped piece of paper with the word "Good Fortune"
written on it.  Traditionally, it is hung upside down, to give good
fortune to anyone who walks through the doorway."
Looking at your picture at
The commonalities are the '+' in a box, the square above it, the
horizontal line above that, the top left hand (small) down stroke
'tick' and '7' shape below it.

Search Strategy:
I recognised the fook, and looked for graphical references.
chinese new year fook

I hope that helps, if you need any clarification of the answer, just
kind regards

Clarification of Answer by lot-ga on 19 Nov 2002 19:10 PST
Hello jonbliss

many thanks for the tip.

I found a printed 'fortune' word on Robert Liew's site
Item 1827. Fu: Good Fortune. 
He also has some limited handwritten words but 'Fook' isn't one in his
current portfolio.

A handwritten one on the Chinese site
"Good Fortune Artist: Tang San"
is unfortunately sold, but it would be strange if they did not
replenish their stocks at some point.

This print at of the 'Fook' word
looks a bit 'suspicious' if it is genuine Chinese calligraphy, but
perhaps it is the style.

Two styles of the 'Fook' word on the Green Dragon Arts website, block
style (more rigid) and cursive (more fluid and stylized) CS302 -
referred to as meaning 'prosperity' on this site.
They also accommodate custom orders on this page

'Bliss' has the same sort of meaning as 'happy'? 
Merriam-Webster Online ( )
defines bliss as 'Complete Happiness' 
.. of course it is a surname too :-)

unstable-ga is right in saying that the exact meaning of 'Fook' or
'Fu' is not exactly happy/luck/fortune, but today that generally is
the meaning adopted and remains a bit vague with prosperity as another
interpretation. But also with an underlying blessed meaning to it, (to
have good fortune, luck and happiness) so 5 descriptions rolled into
one, with perhaps fortune being the stronger element. Certainly with
the addition of the extra word to 'fook' or 'fu', as at Robert Liew's
site ( ) second
picture down (QIFU: Blessing) means blessing more precisely. On it's
own however, I would tend to lean towards fortune, or good fortune as
described by the sources above, even though it has deviated somewhat.

I hope that helps.
kind regards
jonbliss-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Excellent! Very detailed answer.  I was told it was the Chinese symbol
for "Bliss".  If you know where I could find a stylized,(calligraphy
brush stroke), picture of the Chinese symbol for Bliss (such as the
Buddhist nirvana or ultimate happiness) it would be greatly
appreciated. Thanks again!

Subject: Re: What Language is this Symbol and What Does it Mean?
From: mwalcoff-ga on 18 Nov 2002 11:34 PST
Here's what I've found out so far:

The whole symbol is very similar to the aum, the symbol of Hinduism.
The aum is a compilation of three syllable characters from Devangari,
the script used in several south Asian languages. The aum, like the
symbol in question, has a "3" -- actually the devangari character for
"a" or "u" -- on the left. However, the characters on the right do not
match the rest of the aum symbol.

A circle with a "+" inside it is an ancient symbol for the planet
Earth. It was also used in pagan religion and, in hobo culture, as a
sign for a good place to go.

Most of the above information is from
Subject: Re: What Language is this Symbol and What Does it Mean?
From: czh-ga on 18 Nov 2002 12:51 PST
If it's from an alphabet someone will recognize it instantly. In the
meantime, here's a wonderful site that lets you browse through the
alphabets of dozens of languages. Enjoy!
Omniglot - A Guide to Writing Systems -- A to Z index
Subject: Re: What Language is this Symbol and What Does it Mean?
From: leeann-ga on 18 Nov 2002 16:02 PST
I would venture to say that the symbol is a form of chinese origin
(which means this could also be Japanese kanji) done in calligraphy,
which tends to blur and blend the various strokes. However, there are
no chinese calligraphy to english online translators for me to verify
this, but this symbol is put together exactly like japanese and
chinese characters.

I.e. The left radical looks like a simplified form of the radical
pertaining to language, or speech. The bottom right part looks like
the kanji for rice field. The only reason why it may not be of chinese
or japanese origin is due to the lack of regard for stroke order,
which is very important in this type of writing. You can tell by the
brush strokes that either some one who is not well learned in the
asian languages wrote this, or it is not japanese or chinese.

Good luck!

Subject: Re: What Language is this Symbol and What Does it Mean?
From: hailstorm-ga on 18 Nov 2002 17:53 PST
This symbol is also used in Japanese, and is pronounced "fuku"
Subject: Re: What Language is this Symbol and What Does it Mean?
From: unstable-ga on 18 Nov 2002 18:52 PST

I am chinese, and I can tell you straight it is a Chinese character.
The standard Mandarin pronunciation is FU (2nd intonation - the
chinese have a basic 4 intonations to most words).  FOOK is a
Cantonese pronunciation.

Here's a guide to help you pronounce it:
FU (2nd intonation): make the U (oo) sound, end a bit raised you would
be getting close to the way it is pronounced. It quite closely rhymes
with the Doo in Dr. Doolittle.

It looks graphical as such, we can gather that the person who wrote
the character was trying to calligraphically depict the character. 
Your best bet to find a match is to go to a library that houses
Chinese calligraphic collection.  FU is a very common word when people
practice calligraphy. So you should be able to find references in
books that help people to practice calligraphy as well.

Its meaning is NOT exactly happy/luck/fortune etc. but very closely
associated with it. Luck/fortune is YUN (and good luck is XINGYUN or
HAOYUN), Happy is LE but Happiness is sometimes written as XINGFU
(here's where its used)...

FU is actually more closer to Blessedness and Charmed, XINGFU really
means to be contented with your blessings (doesn't translate very well
but the essence is that).

But there are many interpretations possible for Chinese characters
when they are used in a single form, it is easier to translate
something when they are used in a proper sentence/context.
Subject: Re: What Language is this Symbol and What Does it Mean?
From: etymologies-ga on 29 Jul 2003 08:20 PDT
The word in Mandarin Pinyin is "fu2", meaning "good fortune" (similar
in context to double xi3 -- marital fidelity). The character is
comprised of the right radical "shi3", which means "omen", and the
left phonetic of "fu2" -- fu4 without the bao3gai4 (encompassing
cover) -- meaning "abundance". Thus, "fu2" is literally translated as
"an omen of abundance" (and not an ill omen, mind you). The difference
between this "fu2" and the similar "fu4" is that the former is a noun
and the latter, an adjective.

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