13 Inner Beauty

This week’s theme is fashion/style. I’ll write about fashion-related Chinese words and names throughout the week. To start off, I picked an age-old reminder that inner beauty is beauty that doesn’t go out of fashion.


不要只注重外表 (bùyào zhǐ zhù zhòng wài biǎo)

內在美也很重要 (nèi zài měi yě hěn zhòng yào)


It says: Don’t just focus on appearance; inner beauty is also very important.


外表 (wài biǎo) Outward

內在美 (nèi zài měi) Inner Beauty


Chinese character: 內Simplified Chinese: 内
Chinese character: 在
Chinese character: 美
If you have time only for one word today, let it be 內在美 (nèi zài měi), inner beauty. We encountered 內 (nèi) in the transliterations of Monet and Manet last week.


In traditional Chinese, 內 (nèi), within or inside, has 入 (rù), meaning enter, in it. The term 入口 (rù kǒu) means entrance.


A character that looks almost the same is 人 (rén), meaning people.


A way to remember the character for human, 人 (rén), might be to picture that a person leaning or going toward the right is going forward and out; that is the character for human.


When people lean or move toward the left, 入 (rù), the character has the meaning of entering a space.


The simplified Chinese changed the character within 內 (nèi) from 入, enter, to something that looks like 人, people.


This makes little sense. Enter (入) corresponds better with the idea of “inside.”


內在美 (nèi zài měi) should mean inner beauty of the heart and character but teens with raging hormone use it to infer beauty inside the clothes or, to put it more bluntly, beauty when people are naked.


For an English speaker, I guess you can associate naked with 內 (nèi), inside, because the words sound similar. If this helps you remember the word, go ahead.


Since it’s Sunday, let’s also learn a scripture.




1 Peter 3:3-4

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.


彼得前書 3:3-4



彼得前書 3:3-4


A modern translation, though used by fewer Chinese Christians.

The most used Chinese Bible version.

The following shows the structure of two different translations. You can print out the PDF version and circle characters you have yet to learn or create your own translation. See if you can do even better.


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