Understand what age group Chinese are referring to - Chinese version of "7 ages of a man"

In Shakespeare's "As You Like It", there's one famous play called "Seven ages of a man". In that play, the seven stages in a man's life was vividly summarized and expressed.

Do you know in Chinese culture, there's one unique name for each age group that you can use to refer to the age without explicitly stating the number.

If someone tells you he's in his "而立之年 ér lì zhī nián", that means, he's in his 30's.
If "而立 ér
" is replaced with "不惑
bù huò
", means he's entered his 40's.


There are 9 names in total to represent age groups from under 10 to over 90. You can check them all (with pinyin and English translation) in Chinese names for age groups.

Once you get to know all of them, you'll have a clearer picture on what exact age people are referring to next time you come across these words in your Chinese reading.

(photo credit watchsmart)

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Comment by Grace on April 29, 2012 at 11:28am

Me too, Shakespeare's play was always the sweet part of my Chinese class, but they are so far away now...

There are actually so many common grounds between Chinese culture and western culture. Although they are embodied in very different forms. That's why it's so addictive to dig the tunnels between the two sides. :-)

Comment by Gen on April 26, 2012 at 8:23am

that's an interesting idea to give a picture to show common grounds between shakespeare's play and chinese culture! It was mandatory to learn and sit literature exams on Shakespeare's plays in my high school. Including The tragedy of Mcbeth, some other tragedy plays as well as histories :)

Comment by Grace on April 24, 2012 at 10:52am

Thanks Shu, I was actually educated on that Shakespeare's play by my reader. :-) Live and learn ...

Comment by Shu on April 24, 2012 at 10:48am

Very nice post Grace, you always come up  with interesting ideas:)

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