Old Chinese Criteria

1. The dominant standard word is yù 欲 (ant. fú 弗 "refused to, would not") which refers to any concrete - and typically temporary - intention or desire of any kind, irrespective how strongly motivated it is. 欲戰 "wants to fight".

2. Hào 好 (ant.* yàn 厭 "be fed up with VPing") refers to a general strong, and strongly motivated, inclination in favour of something. 好戰 "is fond of warfare".

3. Tān 貪 refers to an exaggerated and inapropriate degree of craving something.

4. Shì 嗜 (ant. wù 惡 "dislike") refers to a stable and deeply ingrained constant desire for something, often a reprehensible craving.

5. Gān 甘 derives its special force from the culinary meaning "have a taste for" and refers to any predilection, typically for material things.

6. Shì yù 嗜慾 / 嗜欲 is the abstract technical term for appetitive urges which need to be moderated and kept under control.

Modern Chinese Criteria

巴不得 / 恨不得
























rough draft to BEGIN TO identify synonym group members for analysis, based on CL etc. 18.11.2003. CH /

APRESJAN 2004 Novyj objasnitel'nyj Slovar' Sinonimov Russkogo Jazyka 1255

BUCK 1988 A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages 16.62

CASSIN 2004 Vocabulaire européen des philosophies. Dictionnaire des intraduisibles 1050


CASSIN 2004 Vocabulaire européen des philosophies. Dictionnaire des intraduisibles 1412

DIFFERENTIAE I De differentiis 111


Detailed discussion and subclassifications of desire.

331. Inter Libidinem et lividinem [Forte, libidinem]. Libido per b cupiditas est animi; livido [ Forte, livedo] per v livor est corporis. Sunt autem multae variaeque libidines, sicut libido ulciscendi, quae ira vocatur; sicut libido habendi pecuniam, quae avaritia nominatur; sicut libido quomodocunque vincendi, quae pertinacia dicitur; sicut libido gloriandi, quae jactantia nuncupatur. Et cum sint multarum libidines rerum, 44 neque cujus rei libido sit adjicitur, non solet animo occurrere, nisi illa tantum qua obscenae partes corporis ad flagitiorum immunditias excitantur. Sed merito ista inter caetera hoc sibi nomen proprie obtinuit, quia in carne corruptibili plus caeteris saevit. Dicta [col. 44C] autem libido, eo quod libeat alienum pudorem, sive quamcunque rem appetere.

DIFFERENTIAE I De differentiis 214


[col. 21B] 97. Inter Cupere et ambire. Cupere est terrena lucra, vel quaelibet mundi desideria inaniter quaerere, ambire vero honorum gradus, vel ordines potestatum appetere.

DIFFERENTIAE I De differentiis 289

583. Inter Volo, et opto, et cupio. Volo minus est [col. 67C] quam opto, Opto minus est quam cupio.

DOEDERLEIN 1840 Lateinische Synonyme und Etymologien


cupido refers to active desire for someting, especially desires for material possessions and money.

cupiditas refers to an active desire for anything desirable.

libido refers specifically to an irrationally and unduly strong and passionate desire for something.

voluptas refers to the delights or pleasures of gratified desires.


cupere refers to a vehement passionate desire.

gestire refers to a lively desire, whowing itself, typically, by gestures.

avere refers to an impatient hasty desire.

DUFOUR 1910 Traite elementaire des synonymes grecques 48

DUFOUR 1910 Traite elementaire des synonymes grecques 55

LANGIUS 1631 Anthologia sive Florilegium rerum et materiarum selectarum


LUNHENG TONGYI 2004 論衡同義詞研究 46

MENGE Lateinische Synonymik 35

Shumway 1884:

optare (lit. to choose, cf. optio choice, and optimus),

to wish as the result of rational choice, as the


cupere (cf. cupiditas), passionately to desire, to


desiderare (de and root sid., considero, lit. to look

forth for something absent), to long, yearn for,

to miss;

expetere (lit. to especially desire to reach), to crave,

honestum, divitias (opp. fugere).

REY 2005 Dictionnaire culturel en langue francaise 1.2325

RITTER 1971-2007 Historisches Woerterbuch der Philosophie 12.1077


RITTER 1971-2007 Historisches Woerterbuch der Philosophie 5.552


SCHMIDT 1889 Handbuch der lateinischen und griechischen Synonymik 122

WANG LI 2000 王力古漢語字典 1323


1. The distinction between ta1n 貪 "greed for goods", and la2n 婪 "greed for food" postulated by the old CC commentary is unsupported by any pre-Buddhist evidence. WL's claim that these were the original nuances of the word mechanically repeat a tradition without ascertaining its empirical basis. From a methodological point of view, this is a seriously misleading method. WL records a distinction which has not been operative at any recorded stage of the language.

JONES 2005 Encyclopedia of Religion

CAI SHAOWEI 2010 跟我學同義詞 23



PILLON 1850 Handbook of Greek Synonymes, from the French of M. Alex. Pillon, Librarian of the Bibliothèque Royale , at Paris, and one of the editors of the new edition of Plaché's Dictionnaire Grec-Français, edited, with notes, by the Rev. Thomas Kerchever Arnold, M.A. Rector of Lyndon, and late fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge no.218

FRANKE 1989 Bibliographisches Handbuch zur Sprachinhaltsforschung. Teil II. Systematischer Teil. B. Ordnung nach Sinnbezirken (mit einem alphabetischen Begriffsschluessel): Der Mensch und seine Welt im Spiegel der Sprachforschung 54A

Attributions by syntactic funtion

  • vtoN : 132
  • vt+V[0] : 107
  • nab : 57
  • NPab : 23
  • vtoNPab{S} : 23
  • NPab{nab1=nab2} : 18
  • vtoS : 10
  • VPtoN : 10
  • vt[oN] : 7
  •{NUM} : 7
  • vt+prep+N : 5
  • VPt+V[0] : 4
  • vt(0)oS : 3
  • vt[0]+V[0] : 3
  • vadN : 3
  • n : 2
  • VPi : 1
  • npost-N : 1
  • nab : 1
  • nab(post-N) : 1
  • vttoN1. prep N2 : 1
  • vi : 1
  • vt[+V[0]] : 1
  • nab.t:+prep+N : 1
  • VPt+prep+N : 1
  • nadV : 1
  • VPt(+V[0]) : 1
  • VPadV : 1
  • vtt(oN.)+V[0] : 1
  • vt.+HE2+SUO3+Vt : 1
  • VPtoS : 1
  • NPab.t : 1
  • vt+S : 1
  • vt(+V[0]) : 1
  • NP : 1
  • vtoNab : 1

Attributions by text

  • 韓非子 : 90
  • 論語 : 46
  • 荀子 : 34
  • 呂氏春秋 : 32
  • 春秋左傳 : 24
  • 孟子 : 23
  • 說苑 : 21
  • 百喻經 : 19
  • 賢愚經 : 12
  • 法集要頌經 : 11
  • 祖堂集 : 10
  • 文子 : 10
  • 禮記 : 9
  • 臨濟錄 : 8
  • 淮南子 : 8
  • 法言 : 8
  • 韓詩外傳 : 8
  • 阮籍集四卷 : 7
  • 管子 : 7
  • 莊子 : 6
  • 晏子春秋 : 5
  • 戰國策 : 5
  • 妙法蓮華經 : 5
  • 法句經 : 5
  • 論衡 : 3
  • 毛詩 : 3
  • 六祖壇經 : 3
  • 列子 : 2
  • 史記 : 2
  • 楚辭 : 2
  • 公孫龍子 : 1
  • 類說 : 1
  • 朱子語類 : 1
  • 老子 : 1
  • 黃帝內經 : 1
  • 新論-漢-桓譚 : 1


欲 / 慾   yù OC: k-loɡ MC: ji̯ok yù OC: k-loɡ MC: ji̯ok 181 Attributions

The dominant standard word is yù 欲 (ant. fú 弗 "refused to, would not") which refers to any concrete - and typically temporary - intention or desire of any kind, irrespective how strongly motivated it is. 欲戰 "wants to fight". The dominant standard word is yù 欲 (ant. fú 弗 "refused to, would not") which refers to any concrete - and typically temporary - intention or desire of any kind, irrespective how strongly motivated it is. 欲戰 "wants to fight".

  • vt+V[0]gradedbe inclined to; would like to; wish, desire, aim for; have a clear preference for, prefer; have a genuine desire for; be preoccupied by;
  • nabpsychdesires; preferences; impulse
  • nobjectwhat one desires, aims
  • vtoNPab{S}gradeddesire that S
  • vt[+V[0]]have and show desires to do things
  • vt+V[0]desire to, aim to; would like to
  • vt[oN]be full of (improper) desires
  • vt+V[0]irrealisexpressing a counterfactual wish: I wish that, Latin utinam
  •{NUM}psychkind of desire 六欲2
  • vtoNgradeddesire (objects) 甚欲; hanker after
  • vtoSdesire that S
  • vt.+HE2+SUO3+Vthybrid construction: (what do you) wish to V
  • vtoSS=questiondesire
  • vadNcharacterised by desires, full of desires
  • nabpsychDesire!
  • vtoNN=humdesire the adherence of; desire the friendship of; desire collaboration with
  • nab(post-N)one's desires
  • vtoNsubject=inanimate(of plants and trees) want to
  • npost-NN's desires
  • vtoNpassivebe desired
   hào OC: qhuus MC: hɑu 93 Attributions

Hào 好 (ant.* yàn 厭 "be fed up with VPing") refers to a general strong, and strongly motivated, inclination in favour of something. 好戰 "is fond of warfare". xxx

  • nabpsychpredilection; likes (versus dislikes); preferences
  • vt(+V[0])love to perform the contextually determinate act V
  • vt+V[0]like to, be fond of VERBING [often impossible to distinguish from vt+Nab[act]
  • vtoNN=nonhulike (something); be fond of (something); LY 4.6: be truly fond of (goodness)
  • vtoNstativefind attractive, be deeply fond of (persons, things, or courses of action); be disposed to love; be preoccupied by; like; sometimes specifically: LY 4.3 be truly fond of
  • vtoNabbe fond of Nab
  • vt+prep+Nbe especially fond of N
嗜 / 耆   shì OC: ɡjis MC: dʑi qí OC: ɡri MC: gi 19 Attributions

Shì 嗜 (ant. wù 惡 "dislike") refers to a stable and deeply ingrained constant desire for something. Shì 嗜 (ant. wù 惡 "dislike") refers to a stable and deeply ingrained constant desire for something.

  • nab.t:+prep+Npsych=shì 嗜 嗜乎 "predilection for N"
  • nabpsych=shì 嗜 craving, strong desire
  • vt+V[0]=shì 嗜 be exceedingly and permanently fond of doing something, be addicted to do something
  • vtoN=shì 嗜 delight in; be exceedingly and permanently fond of; have a craving for, be addicted to, have a passion for IS THAT THE RIGHT SYN. GROUP; SHOULD THAT NOT BE 'EAGER' OR 'ENJOY'; check attr.
  • vt+prep+N=shì 嗜 have a strong desire for
  • nabpsych=shì 嗜 natural desire
   tān OC: kh-lɯɯm MC: thəm 18 Attributions

Tān 貪 refers to an exaggerated and inapropriate degree of craving something.

  • nabpsychgreed
  • vadNgreedy, covetous
  • vt[oN]be greedy, be covetous, crave
  • vt+prep+Nbe greedy for
  • vtoNbe greedy for, crave, covet; crave for oneself
  • vtoNpassivebe desired or craved
   yuàn OC: ŋɡons MC: ŋi̯ɐn 11 Attributions
  • vt(0)oSI wish that the contextually determinate person would V
  • vt[0]+V[0]I wish I could
  • vt+V[0](polite) desire to V, wish one could V
  • vt(0)oSexplicitsubjectI wish that the explicit subject of S would V
  • vtoNPab{S}wish that S
嗜欲   shì yù OC: ɡjis k-loɡ MC: dʑi ji̯ok 10 Attributions
  • NPab{nab1=nab2}nonreferentialall kinds of excessive desires
  • VPtoNdesire excessively
   yào OC: qews MC: ʔiɛu 9 Attributions
  • vt+Swant that S; desire that S
  • vt+V[0]want to V, have the intention to V
  • vtoNstativebe after, desire; want
  • vtt(oN.)+V[0]want the contextually determinate (or preposed) N to V
嗜慾   shì yù OC: ɡjis k-loɡ MC: dʑi ji̯ok 8 Attributions
  • NPab.cdesires and lusts
  • NPab{nab1=nab2}desires of all kinds
   qíng OC: dzeŋ MC: dziɛŋ 7 Attributions
  • nabpsychbasic instincts; essential desires
   mù OC: maaɡs MC: muo̝ 6 Attributions
  • vtoNcovet, crave, be keen on owning (a concrete object beyond one's control)
  • vtoSwould wish that S
   gān OC: kaam MC: kɑm 6 Attributions

Gān 甘 derives its special force from the culinary meaning "have a taste for" and refers to any predilection, typically for material things.

  • vtoNputativeFIND SAVOURY> appreciate; have a taste for; have a proper sense for; taste with pleasure, enjoy
欲求   yù qiú OC: k-loɡ ɡu MC: ji̯ok gɨu 6 Attributions
  • VPt+V[0]wish and seek to > strongly wish to, strive to; also: demand to
  • VPtoNwish and seek > wish for, long for, also: demand
   yù OC: k-loɡ MC: ji̯ok 4 Attributions

何晏 集解引 孔安國 曰:"慾,多情慾。" DC: 《朱子語類》卷八七:"有心'慾'字是無心'欲'字之母。" has it delightfully wrong!

  • nabpsych(primarily sexual) desire or lust
  • vibe full of desires
五欲   wǔ yù OC: ŋaaʔ k-loɡ MC: ŋuo̝ ji̯ok 4 Attributions
  • NPabpsychBUDDH: the five kinds of desires; the five desires, arising from the objects of the five senses, things seen, heard, smelt, tasted, or touched. (Soothhill)
好憎   hào zēng OC: qhuus tsɯɯŋ MC: hɑu tsəŋ 4 Attributions
  • NPabpsychpositive and negative desires
貪利   tān lì OC: kh-lɯɯm rids MC: thəm li 3 Attributions
  • NPabpsychgreediness
  • VPtoNhave a craving for (something)
  • VPigreedy
貪著   tān zhuó OC: kh-lɯɯm k-laɡ MC: thəm ʈi̯ɐk 3 Attributions
  • NPabactBUDDH: attachment resulting from craving
  • VPtoNresultativeBUDDH: crave so as to get attached to > be appetitively attached to
   tú OC: daa MC: duo̝ 2 Attributions
  • vtoNwant, desire
  • vtoNdesire to become an N
婪 / 婪   lán OC: ɡ-rɯɯm MC: ləm lán OC: ɡ-rɯɯm MC: ləm 2 Attributions
  • vt[oN]stativebe greedy after (especially after food)
   qī OC: ɡɯ MC: gɨ 2 Attributions
  • vtoNhope for, be after
    OC:  MC:  2 Attributions

Xiàn 羨 refers to rather personal and private admiration for something, and this admiration is sometimes mixed with envy. [COVERT], [EMOTIONAL], [STATE], [SUBJECTIVE]ATE

  • vt+V[0]desire to V
  • vtoNpoetic and rare: be fond and and at the same time perhaps envious of, crave something impossible to achieve
希求   xī qiú OC: qhlɯl ɡu MC: hɨi gɨu 2 Attributions
  • VPtoNhope for and aspire to, enthusiastically do one's best to get
意欲   yì yù OC: qɯɡs k-loɡ MC: ʔɨ ji̯ok 2 Attributions
  • vt+V[0]desire to V
欲情   yù qíng OC: k-loɡ dzeŋ MC: ji̯ok dziɛŋ 2 Attributions
  • NPabpsychsexual desire, lust
淫欲   yín yù OC: lɯm k-loɡ MC: jim ji̯ok 2 Attributions
  • NPabpsychlust
私欲   sī yù OC: sil k-loɡ MC: si ji̯ok 2 Attributions
  • NPabpsychselfish desires
可欲   kě yù MC: khaX yowk OC: khlaalʔ k-loɡ 2 Attributions
  • NPabfeaturedesirability
   yòu OC: ɢʷɯʔ MC: ɦɨu 1 Attribution
  • vtoNbe especially fond of, prefer to other things
   shù OC: qhljaɡs MC: ɕi̯ɤ 1 Attribution
  • vtoShope that
   yìn OC: ŋrɯŋs MC: ŋin 1 Attribution
  • vt+V[0]be willing to SYN. GROUP ??
   yì OC: qɯɡ MC: ʔɨk 1 Attribution
  • nadVby one's own inclination and desire
   yàn OC: lams MC: jiɛm 1 Attribution
  • vtoNpassivebe lured by the attractions of
   yú OC: lo MC: ji̯o 1 Attribution
  • vadNdesirous, prone to having desires
  • vtoNdesire; have an uncontrollable desire to; uncontrollable desire, strong desire
作願   zuò yuàn OC: tsaaɡ ŋɡons MC: tsɑk ŋi̯ɐn 1 Attribution
  • VPt(+V[0])declare a desire to do the contextually determinate thing V
  • VPt(oN)declare one's desire for a contextually determinate N
如意   rú yì OC: nja qɯɡs MC: ȵi̯ɤ ʔɨ 1 Attribution
  • VPadVas one desires
情欲   qíng yù OC: dzeŋ k-loɡ MC: dziɛŋ ji̯ok 1 Attribution
  • NPabpsychreal, deeply-felt desires
愚情   yú qíng OC: ŋo dzeŋ MC: ŋi̯o dziɛŋ 1 Attribution
  • NPpersons dominated by affective attachments
  • NPabpsychstupid affective attachments
擬欲   nǐ yù OC: ŋɡɯʔ k-loɡ MC: ŋɨ ji̯ok 1 Attribution
  • VPt+V[0]want to, wish to, intent to (dissylabic vernacular modal verb expressing volition; the modal verb also appears in Buddhist translations (mainly from the Sui and Tang?))
有嗜   yǒu shì OC: ɢʷɯʔ ɡjis MC: ɦɨu dʑi 1 Attribution
  • VPt+prep+Nhave a predilection (for something) 有嗜乎
欲嗜   yù shì OC: k-loɡ ɡjis MC: ji̯ok dʑi 1 Attribution
  • VPtoNresultativedesire so as to be addicted to
欲想   yù xiǎng OC: k-loɡ sqaŋʔ MC: ji̯ok si̯ɐŋ 1 Attribution
  • NPabdispositionBUDDH: desirous ways of thinking, appetitive intellectual attitude [SK]
欲穢   yù huì OC: k-loɡ qʷads MC: ji̯ok ʔi̯ɐi 1 Attribution
  • NPabmetaphysicalthe defilements constituted by your desires
欲網   yù wǎng OC: k-loɡ maŋʔ MC: ji̯ok mi̯ɐŋ 1 Attribution
  • NPabpsychweb of desires (buddhist technical term)
渴愛   kě ài OC: khaad qɯɯds MC: khɑt ʔəi 1 Attribution
  • NPab.tpsychphysical desire
  • VPihave physical desires
貪得   tān dé OC: kh-lɯɯm tɯɯɡ MC: thəm tək 1 Attribution
  • VPtoSdesire intensely that S
願樂   yuàn lè OC: ŋɡons ɡ-raawɡ MC: ŋi̯ɐn lɑk 1 Attribution
  • NPabpsychhope for pleasure, prospect for delight (the structure of this is unclear)
   chūn OC: thjun MC: tɕhʷin 1 Attribution
  • nabpsych
   qiú OC: ɡu MC: gɨu 1 Attribution
  • vtoNseek for emotional reasons> seek the friendship or love of; have a sexual desire for
  • vttoN1. prep N2wish to get to know N2 from N1
口味   kǒu wèi MC: khuwX mj+jH OC: khooʔ mɯds 1 Attribution
  • NPabappetite; fondness
企 / 跂   qǐ OC: kheʔ MC: khiɛ kuǐ OC: kheʔ MC: khiɛ 0 Attributions
  • vtoNhope for ???????? [no evidence found][CA]
   xìn OC:  MC: sin 0 Attributions
  • vt+V[0]would that V
   jiù OC: dzuɡs MC: dzɨu 0 Attributions
  • nabdispositiontendency towards ant. 避 "avoid" ZUO 避就
  • vtoNtend naturally towards
   nòng OC: ɡ-rooŋs MC: luŋ 0 Attributions
  • vtoNbe fond of
   kài OC: khaads MC: khəi 0 Attributions
  • vtoNto desire
眷 / 眷   juàn OC: krons MC: kiɛn juàn OC: krons MC: kiɛn 0 Attributions
  • vadVlongingly???
   xī OC: qhlɯl MC: hɨi 0 Attributions
  • vtoNFAYAN 1.18: aspire to become (a good horse)
情態   qíng tài OC: dzeŋ nʰɯɯs MC: dziɛŋ thəi 0 Attributions
  • NPabpsychdesire (early BUDDH. translations; in Buddhist sūtras often related to the mental defilements of women) 女人多情態壞人正道意 women have a mulitude of desires and ruin the apiration for the right Way in people (T.3/184: 462á2)
欲須   yù xū OC: k-loɡ so MC: ji̯ok si̯o 0 Attributions
  • VPtoNdesire as necessary for the occasion
色欲   sè yù OC: sqrɯɡ k-loɡ MC: ʂɨk ji̯ok 0 Attributions
  • NPabpsychin non-Buddhist contexts, and perhaps even within Buddhism: sexual desires; BUDDH: physical desires, desires related to the senses;

Existing SW for

Here are Syntactic Words already defined in the database: