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Glossary of Selected Chinese Words

The following list includes Chinese words that appear romanized in the text, English words that have been used more than once as glosses for specific Chinese terms, and place and dynasty names. Each entry begins with the form found in the text (following conventions established earlier for capitalization) with an aide-mémoire where necessary. This is followed by the Mandarin characters and the Hokkien characters if they are different. The final portion of each entry contains the romanized Mandarin and Hokkien pronunciation. The lack of any one of these is represented by a dash.

In the first item, for example, the form found in the text is ancestor. The Mandarin writing is 祖 先. The Hokkien writing is the same as the Mandarin. The Mandarin pronunciation is Zǔxiān. The Hokkien pronunciation chó·-sian.

Text Form Mandarin/Hokkien Characters Mandarin/Hokkien Pronunciation
ancestor祖 先Zǔxiān / chó·-sian
âng-thâu-á ("redhead" Taoist priest)紅 頭 仔Hóngtóu / âng-thâu-á
bad thing — / 歹 物 — / pháin-mih
Bǎo'ān (pseudonym for a village in Taiwan)保 安Bǎo'ān / pó-an (Spelled "Bao-an" in the original edition of this book.)
Běigǎng (town in Taiwan, near Jiāyì)北 港Běigǎng/ pak-káng (Officially spelled Peichang.)
Běimén (town in Táinán county)北 門Běimén / pak-mnĝ (Officially spelled Peimen.)
buddhaFó / hút
censer master爐 主Lúzhǔ / lô·-chú
Chén (surname)Chén / tân
Chénghuáng (city god)城 隍Chénghuáng / sêng-bông
chhiam (fortune verse)Chiān / chhiam
cityShì / chhī
countyXiàn / koān
Dànshuǐ (town in Taipei county)淡 水Dànshuǐ / tām-chuí (Officially spelled Tamsui.)
devil魔 神 / 魔 神 仔Móshén / mô·-sîn-á
divine rascal神 棍Shéngùn / sîn-kùn
dog tub狗 桶Gǒutǒng / káu-tháng
Education and Recreation Center育 樂 中 心Yùlè Zhōngxīn / iók-lók-tiong-sim
eight immortals table (part of family altar)八 仙 桌Bāxiān zhuō / pat-sian-toh
evil fairy, sec Yāoguài, Yāojīng    
evil god, sec Xiéshén    
familyJiā / ke or ka
female spirit女 魂Nǚhún / lú-hûn
Fújiàn (Chinese province)福 建Fújiàn / hok-kiàn
Gāoxióng (city and county in Táiwān)高 雄Gāoxióng / ko-hiông (Officially spelled Kaohsiung.)
ghostGuǐ / kuí
godShén / sîn
Good Brethren (euphemism for hungry ghosts)好 兄 弟Hǎo Xiōngdì / hó-hian-tī
Great Saint Equal to Heaven (god)齊 天 大 聖Qítiān Dàshèng / chê-thian-tāi-sèng
Guān Gōng (god)關 公Guān Gōng / koankong
Guǎngdōng (Chinese province)廣 東Guǎngdōng / kńg-tang
Guānyīn (goddess)觀 音Guānyīn / koan-im
Guardian (title used for manifestations of King Guo)太 保Tàibǎo / thài-pó
Guǐ (ghost)Guǐ / kuí
Guǐshén (ghost-god, alternate term for ghost)鬼 神Guǐshén / kuí-sîn
Guō (surname)Guō / koeh
hangings (paintings of gods over a family altar)佛 祖 漆 子Fózǔ qīzi / pút-chó·-chhat-á
harmony / harmonious平 安Píng'ān / pêng-an
headman — / 頭 家 仔 — / thâu-ke-á
Héběi (Chinese province)河 北Héběi / hô-pak
hell marriage冥 婚Mínghūn / bêng-hun
His Highness Chyr (god)池 府 二 千 歲Chí Fǔ Èr Qiānsuì / tî-hú-jī-chhian-soè
His Highness Lii (god)李 府 大 千 歲Lǐ Fǔ dà Qiānsuì / lí-hú-tāi-chhian-soè
His Highness Wu (god)吳 府 三 千 歲Wú Fǔ sān Qiānsuì / gô·-hú-sam-chhian-soè
hó-khoàn (pretty) — / 好 看 — / hó-khoàn
hó-sè (proper) — / 好 勢 — / hé-sè
household head戶 長Huhjaang / hō·-tiún
householdHuh / hō·
Huáng (surname)Huáng / nĝ
Hún (soul)Hún / hûn
hungry ghosts餓 鬼Èguǐ / gō-kuí
immortalXiān / sian
inharmony / inharmonious不 平 安Bùpíng'ān / put pêng-an
initiation開 光Kāiguāng / khai-kong
Jiào, see poe    
Jiāyì (city and county in Taiwan)嘉 義Jiāyì / ka-gī (Officially spelled Chiayi.)
Jìnjiāng (city in Fújiàn, close to Quánzhōu)晉 江Jìnjiāng / chìn-kang (Formerly spelled Tsinkiang)
King Guō (god)郭 聖 王Guō shèng wáng / koeh-sèng-ông or
King Guō (god) (alternate writing)郭 姓 王Guō xìng wáng / koeh-sèng-ông
kiō-á (divination chair) — / 轎 仔 — / kiō-à
kong-chhò· (village temple) — / 公 厝 — / kong-chhô
Kuài (New Taiwan Dollar = US $.025 in 1960s)Kuài / kho·
large family大 家Dàjiā / toā-ke
Lín (surname)Lín / lîm
Lín (village subdivision)Lín / lîn
Líng (higher soul)Líng / lêng
Línghún (soul)靈 魂Línghún / lêng-hûn
little god小 神Xiǎoshén / sió-sîn
Little Maid (ghost)小 娘Xiǎoniáng / sió-niû
lonely spirit孤 魂Gūhún / ko·-hûn
Lóngxī (city in Fújiàn)龍 溪Lóngxī / liōng-khe (Now called Zhāngzhōu, q.v.)
Mádòu (town in Táinán county)麻 豆Mádòu / mâ-tāu (Officially spelled Matou.)
Marshal Xiè (god)謝 府 元 帥Xiè Fǔ Yuánshuài / chiā-hú-goân-soè
Māzǔ (goddess)媽 祖Māzǔ / má-chó·
Mǐnán (frequent term for southern Fújiàn or its people or dialects)閩 南Mǐnán / bân-lâm
Nánkūnshēn (temple in Táinán county)南 鯤 鯓Nánkūnshēn / lām-khun-sin
palanquin轎 子 / Jiàozi / kiō
passing through the oil過 油guòyóu / koè-iû
pháin-khoàn (ugly) — / 歹 看 — / pháin-khoàn
pháin-sè (embarrassing) — / 歹 勢 — / pháin-sè
Phoenix Mountain Monastery (temple in Fújiàn, home of King Guō)鳳 山 寺Fèngshān Sì / hōng-soan-sī
Pò (lower soul)Pò / phek
poe (divination blocks) / Jiào or Jiǎo / poe
portion (administrative section of a village)Gǔ / kó·
portion representativet股 首Gǔshǒu / kó·-siú
power (of gods)力 量Lìliàng / lát-liōng
Qīng (dynasty)Qīng / chheng
Qīngmíng ("clear and bright," a festival in the traditional solar calendar)清 明Qīngmíng / chheng-bêng
Quánzhōu泉 州Quánzhōu / choān-chiu (Formerly spelled Chuanchew.)
Queen of Heaven (= Māzǔ)天 后
天 上 聖 母
Tiānhòu / thian-hō
Tiānshàng Shèngmǔ / thian-siōng-sèng-bó
red approach table (part of family altar)紅 格 桌Hónggé Zhuō / āng-keh-toh
Rehnaw (festive)熱 鬧Rènào / lāu-jiát
River Bank Hamlet (part of Bao-an)溪 南 寮Xībǔliáo / khe-po·-liâu
seven ousts (grounds for divorce)七 出Qīchū/ chhit-chhut
Shǎngbīng (rite of appreciating soldiers)賞 兵Shǎngbīng / siún-peng
Shànghǎi (city in China)上 海Shànghǎi / siōng-hái
Shāntóu (city in Guǎngdōng)汕 頭Shantour / soàn-thâu (Formerly spelled Swatow.)
Shǎnxī (province of China)陝 西 Shǎnxī / siám-sai (Officially spelled Shaanxi [formerly Shensi] to avoid confusion with Shānxī when tones are not marked.)
Shén (god)Shén / sîn
Sòng (dynasty)Sòng / sòng
soul, see Línghún    
South-of-the-River (part of Bao-an)溪 南Xīnán / khe-lâm
spirit marriage, see hell marriage    
splitting the family分 家Fēnjiā / hun-ka
suí (pretty) — / — / suí
Táiběi (city and county in Táiwān)台 北Táiběi / tâi-pak (Officially spelled Taipei, formerly also Taipeh.)
Táinán (city and county in Táiwān)台 南Táinán / tâi-lâm
Táiwān (province of China)台 灣Táiwān / tāi-oân
Táng (dynasty)Táng / tông
tâng-ki (spirit medium)乩 童Jītóng / tâng-ki
Third Prince (god)三 太 子 爺Sān Tàizǐ Yé / sam-thài-chú-iâ
three non-ousts (guarantees against divorce)三 不 出Sān Bùchū / sam-put-chhut
townshipXiāng / hiong
Tǔchéng (district in Táinán city)土 城Tǔchéng / tó·-siâ-á
Twelve Plague Kings (gods / ghosts)十 二 瘟 王Shí'èr Wēnwáng / cháp-jī un-ōng
Venerable King of the Broad Marshes (god = King Guō)廣 澤 尊 王Guǎngzé Zūnwáng / kóng-téh-chun-ông
Wángjiào (ceremony)王 醮Wángjiào / ông-chiò
water ghost水 鬼Shuǐguǐ / chuí-kuí
Wúgōngshēn (god)蜈 蚣 神Wúgōngshēn / gō·-kang-sîn
Wúlín (pseudonym for village near Bǎo'ān)梧 林Wúlín / gô·-lîm
Wūtóu Dàoshì ("black-head" Taoist priest)烏 頭 道 士Wūtóu Dàoshì / o·-thâu-tō-sū
Xiè (surname)Xiè / chiā
Xiéshén (false god)邪 神Xiéshén / siâ-sîn
Xiètǔ (ceremony)謝 土Xiètǔ/ siā-thó·
Xīgǎng (town near Bao-an, in Táinán county)西 港Xīgǎng / sai-káng (Officially spelled Hsichang.)
Xīluó Diàn (temple in Táinán City)西 羅 殿Xīluó Diàn / sai-lô-diān
Xú (surname)Xú / chhî
Yáng (positive principle)Yáng / iông
Yáng Fǔ Tàishī (god)楊 府 太 師Yáng Fǔ Tàishī / iūn-hú-thài-su
Yāoguài (evil fairy)妖 怪Yāoguài / iau-kuài
Yāojīng (evil fairy)妖 精Yāojīng / iau-cheng
Yīn (negative principle)Yīn /im
Yúnnán (province of China)雲 南Yúnnán / hûn-lâm
Zēngwén Xī (river)曾 文 溪Zēngwén Xī / chêng-bûn-khe (Formerly spelled Tsengwen Chi.)
Zhāng (surname)Zhāng /tiun
Zhānghuà (city and county in Taiwan)章 化Zhānghuà / chiong-hoà (Officially spelled Changhua.)
Zhāngzhōu (city in Fújiàn) 漳 州Zhāngzhōu / chiang-chiu
Zú (lineage)Zú / chók

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