Chinese Character Hua - Flower

Meaning: Flower
Sound: [huā]  

In ancient times the Chinese wrote the word for "flower" like this:

Chinese Character Hua, Flower, ancient form

This is evidently a pictographic depiction of a flower. Today the character is written as 花, pronounced [huā].

In its ancient form, the Chinese character "flower" was also used as a word to refer to China. Zhong Hua literally means "Central Flowering: kingdom or people. This phrase is still in use, suggesting the idea of "Chinese." 

Hua Mulan is a famous legendary girl in China, who, passing herself off as a boy, takes her father's place to serve in the emperor's army. The story became well known in the West after the release Disney's animated film Mulan in the 1990s. Hua, "flower," is the surname of the girl, and Mulan, the given name, refers to lily magnolia. So the girl's name literally means "Lily Magnolia Flower." In Chinese, that is 花木兰.

In China, as in the West, young women are often likened to flowers. There is the set phrase 花样年华 [huā yàng nián huá], "the tender flowering age," referring to youthful years, especially those of young females. (Spanish artist Salvador Dali famously said that "The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot." Well, this only shows that a lot of people conjure up images of flowers when they think of young women.) 

Women, mothers of all, are inevitably associated with love, which sometimes goes unrequited and wasted. One Chinese phrase portraits this well: 落花有意,流水无情 [luò huā yǒu yì,liú shuǐ wú qíng] - "The waterside flower, pining for love, floats down, but the brook below, being heartless, just ripples on."

Love is precious, but too much of it turns into indulgence and immodesty. 花花世界 [huā huā shì jiè], "flowery flowery world," therefore refers to an environment of excessive sensual pleasure and corruption. Playboy is translated in Chinese as 花花公子 [huā huā gōng zǐ] - "flowery flowery princelings."    

"Spending money" in Chinese is 花钱 [huā qián], literally "flower money." The expression seems to have originally referred to the money spent on cosmetics and the like. Many expenses are necessities of life, but the outlay on cosmetics is just "flower money."