Chinese Tuesdays: Bra


When I saw the word for bra, 胸罩 (xiōngzhào), for the first time I giggled “chest mask, hehe”, as I had only seen 罩 in 口罩 (kǒuzhào), which is a surgical or face mask. Looking it up I was a little disappointed to see that 罩 actually means “cover”, making the word quite logical and somewhat less amusing. Then I came across another word for bra, 文胸 (wénxiōng), the first character meaning “culture” and the second “chest”, which is stranger still. I’d love to know the origin of this word. Maybe at one time bras were only worn by cultured people.

Every Tuesday on the Anthill, Sam Duncan posts a langauge titbit from his blog