Radical names conflicting with real radical meanings


There’s no one forcing you to go with the radical names lend by WK or even the mnemonics they provide you either. My biggest mistake was to keep sticking with many of the radical names and mnemonics that WK provided when the really never stuck or worked for me. I use most of the mnemonics and radical names provided by WK but for several others I add notes or synonyms to the item, and that way learn more efficiently.

If you find the nailbat confusing, just add a note for it and name it “small hand” or what you wanna call it and if you get a wrong answer you can check the note and see that it was correct for your individual learning. Radicals doesn’t mstter that much after a while, as long as you can extinguish them and use them as building blocks it doesn’t really matter what you call them as long as it works for you.

Edit: Maybe should add that this only works if you use the ignore answer script.


Probably something like that (some fighter jets have small steering wings as well):

For the most part the WK radicals do exist, but they are normally full scale kanji and look a bit different
(like 巩 for saw). For death star 兪 or squid 僉 I can already picture the complaint threads “I’m totally losing trust in WK because everything looks soo different !!”, so picture it is.


Not all radicals are Kanji. Among the Kangxi radicals (which were arbitrarily created in the first place), 2,3,4,6,8,10,13,14,17,40,52,58, and I’m sure some others are not Kanji in their own right.

未 by the way is not even its own radical.


That’s fair, although does it exist normally as a radical at that squished size? I mean, obviously it does in the way WK uses them (as a part of the kanji), but on it’s own, it doesn’t. And a few of the “made up” ones are other strange pieces of kanji used in such a manner. *shrugs* It doesn’t matter to me, it was more of an explanation to the OP. But thanks for pointing “saw” out specifically! That was one I was unaware of (and hence why I’d chosen it.)


You can add synonyms for radicals (or kanji/vocab). I try to do this on radicals as soon as I’ve gone through new ones, and mostly ignore koichi’s radical names if they’re ridiculous. (ie. raptor cage, poop, nailbat).

I usually look at the most basic kanji that radical appears in, and see if I can guess a more basic meaning for it. But also see if it appears in this list:

Another useful tool can be to look at the simplest kanji that radical appears in and look them up here and see how kanjialive breaks out the meaning:

Keeping closer to the meanings in kanjialive seems to help me a lot to decipher kanji.


I do something similar to this… I use rikaikun as the first measure to see if there is any mainstream radical name for it. If not, or if it is really obscure I will just go with the WK name. My sensei calls the radicals by certain names road, hand, water, fire, person, etc. when she is going over a kanji, so I want to make sure I can understand what she is talking about.

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