The amazing double meaning of Chinese numbers

In Chinese culture, certain numbers are considered “lucky” compared to others because their pronunciation sounds similar to words that have a positive meaning. In fact, lucky numbers have such huge importance in China that they often dictate people’s choice of phone number, business address, place of residence, wedding date and so on.

The most popular number in China is eight, while the number four is considered the worst number. This has to do with the pronunciation of the Chinese word for getting rich, facai. Fa sounds very much like ba, the word for the number eight. So, it’s believed that the number eight brings people wealth and prosperity.

The number four, on the other hand, is spoken as si, which is almost identical to the pronunciation of the Chinese word for death. Though the Chinese characters and their tones differ, the two Chinese words are far too similar for comfort. Hence, the use of the number four is avoided as much as possible.


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