Chinese Symbols for Family With Printable Diagrams

Published July 18, 2018
Chinese family

Chinese characters for family and family members are extremely symbolic. Not only have some characters remained virtually unchanged through millennia, but the way they interrelate with each other clearly showcase the importance of Chinese family values.

Printable Symbols

This collection of the most popular Chinese symbols for family is ready to print and use in all kind of projects. If you need help, consult the Guide for Adobe Printables.

Symbols for Family

The character for family has been around for about 3,000 years almost unchanged. This symbol means both family and home. The three main ways to refer to one's family is family/home (jiā), persons in my family (jiā rén), and family/household (jiā tíng), the latter being the more formal.

Family / home (jiā)

Chinese symbol for family

Family / family members (jiā rén)

Chinese symbols for family members

Family / household (jiā tíng)

Chinese symbols for family or household

Symbols for Parents

In Chinese, the symbol for parents is composed of the first two characters of mother and father. If you were to do this in English, the resulting word would be "fa-mo." Additionally, both father and mother have formal and informal forms of address. Sweetly enough, the formal terms literally mean dear mother and dear father, while the informal way sounds like a baby's first words. Take a look at the symbols and see if you can make out the man with hat in each character for dad, and the lady holding a baby in each character for mom.

Parents (fù mǔ)

Chinese characters for parents

Father (fù qīn)

Chinese symbols for father

Dad (bà ba)

Chinese symbols for dad

Mother (mǔ qin)

Chinese symbols for mother

Mom (mā ma)

Chinese symbols for mom

Symbols for Siblings

Chinese characters for siblings can address siblings of both genders, only brothers or only sisters. You might find interesting to know that these terms encompass both older siblings and younger siblings.

Siblings both genders (xiōng dì jiě mèi)

Chinese characters for siblings both genders

Siblings - only brothers (xiōng dì)

Chinese characters for brothers

Siblings - only sisters (jiě mèi)

Chinese symbols for sisters

Symbols for Brothers and Sisters

In Chinese and other Asian cultures that have been influenced by Confucianism, it is of special importance to acknowledge seniority. Therefore, older and younger siblings each have their term of address, and age matters to the instant. So for twins, whoever is born first is the elder. Interestingly, this same philosophy encourages people to treat everyone as family, even strangers, so it is common for people of similar ages to call each other brother or sister.

Older brother (gē ge)

Chinese symbols for older brother

Younger brother (dì dì)

Chinese symbols for younger brother

Older sister (jiě jie)

Chinese symbols for older sister

Younger sister (mèi mei)

Chinese symbols for younger sister

Symbols for Grandparents

The Chinese characters for grandparents are almost the same as parents but with the inclusion of the character that signals they are before the parents, the ancestors. Each side of the family has its own terms of address, and while confusing at first, it helps give everyone their special place. Below are the most commonly used terms, although there are more formal ones too. Pay close attention to the similar strokes for the men and the shared strokes for the women. Can you see the hats for the men and the babies for the women?

Grandparents (zǔ fù mǔ)

Chinese characters for grandparents

Paternal grandpa (yé ye)

Chinese characters for paternal grandpa

Paternal grandma (nǎi nai)

Chinese characters for paternal grandma

Maternal grandpa (lǎo ye)

Chinese characters for maternal grandpa

Maternal grandma (lǎo lao)

Chinese characters for maternal grandma

Symbols for Uncle and Aunt

There are quite a few terms to address aunts and uncles. They vary depending on which side of the family, whose brother or sister they are, and if they are older or younger than the person's parents. However, there are two all-purpose terms that can be used in general, not only for family members, but also for everyone else who is of an age similar to one's aunts and uncles, even total strangers!

Uncle (shū shu)

Chinese symbols for uncle

Auntie (ā yí)

Chinese symbols for auntie

Symbols for Spouses

The most popular Chinese word for spouse is beloved; it is composed by the characters for love and person. There are, of course, several terms of endearment and also formal terms for spouses to call each other and to be called by others, however these are the two most commonly used:

Spouse (Ài rén)

Chinese characters for spouse

Husband (zhàng fū)

Chinese characters for husband

Wife (qī zi)

Chinese characters for wife

Symbols for Children

Children in Chinese is composed by two characters meaning child, however the second character also means son. So when referring to a son, the child character is preceded by another character meaning son. In the same manner when referring to a girl, the female character precedes the son character.

Children (hái zi)

Chinese characters for children

Son (ér zi)

Chinese characters for son

Daughter (nǚ'ér)

Chinese characters for daughter

Ideas and Projects With Chinese Family Symbols

Any and all of the images in this list can be clicked on to open a full resolution image of the symbol. You can print this image using the print command on your browser and use them for a variety of purposes.

A Meaningful Tattoo

Chinese symbols have long been used for tattoos. Getting a Chinese tattoo honoring your family or your favorite family member could be very special.

Embroidering a Bathrobe

Embroidering is a beautiful way to make any cloth item extra special. You can embroider these Chinese symbols as a type of monogram for each family member's bathrobe, towel, maybe their pillowcases, or even a handkerchief for the grandmas.

His and Her in Chinese

A cultural addition on a His and Her items set could be accomplished by using the husband and wife Chinese symbols. This would be particularly special for a newlywed couple with Chinese heritage.

Embossing a Frame

Using the rubber stamp embossing method, or any other you'd like, is an excellent way to personalize a picture frame with these symbols. If you are gifting this to a family member, use the Chinese characters that correspond to them, and a pretty picture of them, of course!

Family Portrait T-Shirts

Personalize T-shirts for the whole family and have a family portrait with each family member's Chinese symbol stamped or transferred in the front or back. It's fun and quite unique!

Make Your Own Chinese Style Painting

If you are into painting, you have surely seen those gorgeous Chinese paintings that include a couplet or verse. Make your own version to honor your family with the formal Chinese characters for family. You can trace them and paint them in black ink for an authentic look.

Chinese Family Symbols Are for Everyone

There is no need to have Asian heritage to enjoy the beauty and symbolism of Chinese writing. Some of these beautiful characters have been around for thousands of years and their intent to express graphically what they mean remains. Have fun printing some of these and incorporating them into a project close to your heart. After all, this is about family!

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Chinese Symbols for Family With Printable Diagrams