Chinese Planet translations

Just like anyone I get lost sometimes searching the endless amount of information on the internet. I will end up in a search for totally irrelevant information on wikipedia about some Technology, war, country or whatever without really having to. It’s just an endless search for information just like watching the Discovery channel you just want to know and keep finding out more. Today I spent some time on our galaxy where I happen to run into 2 pictures; one in English and the other in Chinese. Since I study Chinese I thought it would be interested to combine the 2 and see what they mean and if they differ much.

For everyone that cannot read Hanzi I’ve made a table including the pinyin (the roman letter for the characters) and a general translation/meaning in English. Just keep in mind that I’m a student in Chinese and I have only basic know how in the language. Also my astronomy is not that great, but since today at least a bit better :P. I just connected the dots true Wikipedia’s and a Chinese dictionary. Enjoy!!

English Hanzi Pinyin Chinese meaning
Planet 行星 xíngxīng Planet this kind of makes sense since only 星 means star. For all the planets Chinese refer to as stars except earth that’s a ball.
Mercury 水星 shuǐxīng Literally water star which is kind of stange since Neptune is kind of the water planet in English but Mercury ( 水银[shuǐyín]) in Chinese also start with water so I it makes sense in a Chinese way.
Venus 金星 jīnxīng Golden planet
Earth 地球 dìqiú Earth Ball, where as 地(dì) is a character specially for our planet, also used in e.g. 地图(dìtu)map.
Mars 火星 huǒxīng As火 is for fire it can be called the fire planet, but the Chinese word for mars also mean sparks
Jupiter 木星 mùxīng Tree planet
Saturn 土星 tǔxīng Ground planet
Uranus 天王星 tiānwángxīng (Heavenly) king planet
Neptune 海王星 hǎiwángxīng Water/sea king planet
Pluto 冥王星 míngwángxīng Underworld king planet



If we have to believe Wikipedia Pluto is nowadays not an official planet anymore but a “dwarf planet”. For me it still is with the planet though since it’s the only one of the dwarf planets I have ever heard of and was thought to me in school. In chinese It is also the only dwarf planet that has not 神星(shénxīng) in the name.

Below I will list the other more or less irrelevant ‘little’ planets in our universe. Planets I had never heard of but I will put them hereto make it into a complete list.

English Hanzi Pinyin Chinese meaning
Dwarf planet 矮行星 ǎixíngxīng Short/little planets. strage enough 神行星(shénxíngxīng) is not used. Since it makes more sence when looking at the names of the planets.
Eris 阋神星 Xìshénxīng Fighting god planet; Eris was the Greek god of strife/discord
Makemake 鸟神星 niǎoshénxīng Bird god planet; Makemake is a god for the ‘bird man’ from the easter islands
Haumea 妊神星 rènshénxīng Pregnant god planet; Haumea is the Hawaiian goddess of fertility and childbirth
Ceres 穀神星 gǔshénxīng Valley/grain god planet; Ceres was the roman god of  of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships.



All these new planets have names from gods that have to do something with starting/creation of life. It’s some strange rules all the big astro-heads in this world thought up together(Over ceres the Germans, Italians actually had fight how it should be called.). This is why all the names are with 神(shén) meaning god and that these are just the chinese names for these gods.

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6 Comments

  1. I’ve changed it to underworld king. It’s better suiting anyhow.Had no clue that Pluto was the underworld king,anyhow most names are just the gods names taken from chinese I guess。

  2. I think the ‘木星’ should be literally translated as ‘wood planet’, 木 means wood whereas 树 means tree.
    球 can also translate as globe or sphere.
    Pluto is the god of the dead and the ruler of the underworld in Roman Mythology. He’s counterpart in Greek Mythology is Hades, who is the god of the netherworld and dispenser of earthly riches.
    Eris and Ceres are goddesses.

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