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Category: Numerology History

Chinese Numerology – Similarities and Differences

Chinese Numerology – Similarities and Differences

Chinese Numerology has a rich and storied history in Chinese culture.  Because China has many different meanings and interpretations of numbers in general, it is no surprise that there are differences in the study of numerology as compared to traditional western numerology.  Numbers have always played a large role in the Chinese zodiac, fortune telling and lucky number prediction.  Numerology was a natural extension of these areas of study.  Exact timing is unknown, but it is believed to have been developed independently, and later associated with the western form of numerology.  Though there are many differences in interpretation, both forms of the study are accepted.  Individuals seeking truth about their numerological reading may find that one form aligns more closely to their personality than the other, often based on cultural background.

The biggest difference between Western and Chinese Numerology is based on the initial interpretation of derived numbers.  While Western Numerology interpretations are based on the uses and values of the base digits, Chinese interpretations are based on the sound of pronouncing the numbers.  This accounts for some pretty significant differences.  Chinese culture also accounts for a greater significance on whether a number is even or odd.  According to Chinese beliefs, odd numbers are typically unlucky.  This also impacts how they interpret the base digits, and everything else that is based on that foundation.

Here’s a chart that highlights the keyword interpretations of the 9 base digits:

Number Western Interpretation Chinese Interpretation
1 Independent, Leadership Honorable, Independent
2 Peaceful, Creator Lucky, Achievement
3 Creative, Entertaining Life, Birth, Giving
4 Motivated, Completion Death, Misfortune
5 Flexible, Adventure Stability, Balance
6 Caring, Giveing Smooth, Wealth
7 Intelligent, Thoughtful Togetherness, Connectivity
8 Powerful, Achievement Prosperous, Wealth
9 Noble, Giving Longevity, Truth


As you can see, there are many numbers that are fairly similar, but others are quite different.  In particular, there is a huge gap in the interpretation of number four.  Because the Chinese word for “four” is very similar to their word for “death”, 4 is considered a very unlucky number in China.  It’s comparable to the number 13 in western culture, and is commonly avoided.  Luck does not factor in to western numerology, but is hugely important to Chinese numerology, which explains why there is such a huge difference in the interpretation.