Thursday, October 7, 2004

Ambiguous Hanzi Tattoo - Case Study 1

I have been staring at these four characters for a while now. I don't know what the person wanted the tattoo to represent. The only way to interpret it is to go character by character:

子 = child, son, seed, offspring, egg, pellet, or bullet (depends on context).

手 = hand.

術 = proceed, method, or technique.

流 = flow, smooth, fluent, or drift (depends on context).

The closest definition I can come up with is: "smooth technique of hand to achieve seeds". It sounds like this dude enjoy "polish his own knob" a lot.

Regardless, the direction of the characters is reversed.


  1. Hi Tian! Not only that the tattoo doesn't make a lot of sense, the calligraphy of it is bad!

    Ai-ya! What a joke!


  2. If I have to think what it means, I would say the 4 words make up a sentence that sayz "successful seed removal operation".... hahaha.... whatever it was that he had removed. Or implanted...

    FYI. "手術" means "operation" or "surgery"

  3. The only two kinds of "successful seed removal operation" I can think of are:

    1. vasectomy
    2. castration

  4. Love the site Tian:

    There is another "successful seed removal". He may be a gay man who enjoys sore knees.

    "Smooth technique of hand to achieve seeds" even works if you think about it from this angle.

    I've seen plenty of strange ink on gay men here in San Francisco.

    He could use it as a pick up line. Someone asks what it means and he tells them "it says I'm a good c--------r" and winks...

  5. 弄得很糟糕ㄟ, Probably meant it to be "smooth operator"

  6. My native-speaking Chinese co-workers can't make head or tail of it.

    Child surgery flow?
    Child hand art flow?

  7. As someone has pointed out earlier, 手術 is "surgical operation" in Japanese.
    Also in Japanese colloquialism, "流す(ながす:nagasu)" with association to pregnancy (or baby, fetus) means "abortion". Though the four letters in this particular order means nothing in Japanese (I assume neither in Chinese), that's the first thing came to my mind.

    A Japanese reader

  8. I agree with the last comment.

    These four characters can roughly mean "child surgery abortion" in chinese as well.