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Characters with identical/almost identical pronunciation and similar/opposite meanings


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Similar meanings:


暗 àn

黯 àn

Both have the meaning "dark" but are used in different words (I think the first is more common?)


配 pèi

陪 péi

First one is "join together", "go with", second one is "accompany".


分 fēn/fèn

份 fèn

First has various meanings to do with dividing things into portions, second is a classifier for a number of things, including portions of food.


近 jìn

进 jìn

The meanings are different, but I'd say rather close, and when it comes to words like 靠近 it could easily be either one.


Opposite meanings:


买 mǎi

卖 mài

Buy and sell.


那 nà

哪 nǎ

That and which?


夫 fū

妇 fù

Husband and wife.


I feel there are loads more in either category that I'm missing but 想不出来. Please post others you can think of!

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Here are a couple that I have difficulty with:


蹿 cuān - to leap/hop up

窜 cuàn - to flee/scuttle

In context, it often seems that either one might be appropriate. I've found these to be pretty common, so I think I have them down.



缕 lǚ - strand/thread

绺 liǔ - tuft/lock (e.g. of hair)

The characters aren't that close, but they don't come up quite often enough for me to really lock in their meanings. Again, it often seems to me that either could work in context when I am trying to decide which is which.


漂 piāo / 飘 piāo would be tough except the radical gives away the key difference (floating on water vs. floating in air).

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