Can a Chinese character have more than one meaning?

Yes, it could be. As a matter of the fact, lots of Chinese characters have multiple meanings. Here is an example. The Chinese character 云, or yún in Pinyin, has different meanings. When it is used as a noun, it could mean clouds. For instance, white clouds could be written as 白云 in Chinese.

It could mean the abbreviation of Yunnan, a southwestern province in China. Of course, Yunnan also has another abbreviation, which is 滇, or diān in Pinyin. For instance, there is a kind of mooncake, Yunnan Ham Mooncake, or 云南火腿月饼 in Chinese. It could also be called 云腿月饼 in Chinese. The hams used in these mooncakes are from Xuanwei Ham, or 宣威火腿 in Chinese. It’s kind of dry-cured ham made in Xuanwei, a northeastern city in Yunnan.

Here is a picture of two samples of Yunnan Ham Mooncakes.

Here is a picture of a sample of Xuanwei Ham.

When it is used as an adjective, it could mean many. For instance, the phrase 云集 could mean congregate in a large number. When it is used as a verb, it could mean say or speak. It’s a written version of saying something. For instance, 古人云 could be translated as ancient people said.

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