Microsoft Copilot goes looking for an obscure sinograph

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and finds it!

Back in early February, I asked the Lexicography at Wenlin Institute discussion group if they could help me find a rare Chinese character in Unicode, and I sent along a picture of the glyph.  It won't show up in most browsers, but you can see the character here.  You can also see it in the first item of the list of "Selected Readings" below.  In the following post, when you see this symbol, , just imagine you're seeing this glyph.

On 2/27/04, Richard Warmington kindly responded as follows:

I asked Microsoft Copilot (a chatbot integrated into Microsoft's Edge browser), "Can you tell me anything about the Chinese character ?"

The answer began as follows:

Certainly! The Chinese character is an intriguing one. Let’s explore it:

1. Character Details:
Unicode Code Point: U+24B25

I will paste the rest of Copilot's answer below.

I don't know whether it's relevant to your interest in the character, but the character has 30 strokes and looking in Wenlin reveals that, if one considers only the "20,902 original Unicode Hanzi", there are only 22 characters with 30 or more strokes, and  is not one of them. However, if one looks at "all 80,000+ Hanzi (new, rare, obscure …)", is indeed there, one of 305 characters with 30+ strokes.

Now, for what it's worth, here is the rest of Copilot's answer. For all I know, it may contain incorrect information.

Certainly! The Chinese character is an intriguing one. Let’s explore it:

1. Character Details:
Unicode Code Point: U+24B25
Pronunciation: In Mandarin, it is pronounced as “yǎn.”
Meaning: The character represents a type of ancient musical instrument called a “stone chime” or “stone bell”. These chimes were made of stone and were used in ritual ceremonies during ancient times.

2. Historical Context:
– The character has its origins in ancient Chinese culture, particularly during the Shang Dynasty (around 1600–1046 BCE).
– Stone chimes were an essential part of ceremonial music and were often played during important rituals and events.

3. Unicode and Non-BMP Characters:
– Interestingly, is one of the non-BMP (Basic Multilingual Plane) characters in Unicode. These characters lie outside the standard BMP range and have higher code points.
– Non-BMP characters are less commonly used but still hold historical or cultural significance.

4. Standardization:
– The character is not part of the Table of General Standard Chinese Characters, which contains the most commonly used characters in modern Chinese.
– However, its inclusion in Unicode ensures that it is preserved for historical and scholarly purposes.

In summary, represents an ancient musical instrument, and its presence in Unicode reflects the rich cultural heritage of China.

[I omit the three Web links provided by Copilot as they appear to be generic rather than specific to the character in question.]

Thanks much to Rich Warmington for his reply, also for including the parts of Copilot's response that are useless and / or incorrect (supposed Mandarin pronunciation, musical instrument meaning, etc.).  They humored me.

At least it knew how to find the Unicode number.


Selected readings


  1. Tom Gewecke said,

    June 2, 2024 @ 6:33 am

    On my Mac, this character is available in a font called FSung-2.

  2. Philip Taylor said,

    June 2, 2024 @ 6:45 am

    It copies (and pastes) from here successfully [paste attempt: ], but appears completely absent from the LL post. An artifact/defect of the infrastructure, perhaps ?

  3. Mark Liberman said,

    June 2, 2024 @ 9:12 am

    You can also put images of glyphs in line with other text — which used to be required for things like IPA characters, back in the day before browsers could cope with Unicode (including composite characters).

    See also "Them old diacritical blues again" (3/21/2004), "Convenience for the wealthy, virtue for the poor" (3/31/2004), etc.

  4. Chris Button said,

    June 2, 2024 @ 11:34 am

    Can they help me find the right side of this character in Unicode 暵?

    I can't imagine that it doesn't exist, but all I can find is the simplified form (with 艹 instead of 廿 on top) and the different form 堇.

  5. Philip Taylor said,

    June 2, 2024 @ 12:10 pm

    Well, it's easy enough to extract the right side ( but Shapecatcher doesn't allow one to upload a graphic, and a simple Google Images search fails to throw up anything …

  6. Philip Taylor said,

    June 2, 2024 @ 12:11 pm

    Oh, sorry, "this character" is not "this" character at all, but another one … I'll shut up …

  7. Philip Taylor said,

    June 2, 2024 @ 12:19 pm

    Except to say (since my earlier response to Chris is clearly held pending moderation) that the key paper linked from Mark's "Convenience for the wealthy" is still available via the Internet Archive —

  8. David Marjanović said,

    June 2, 2024 @ 2:27 pm

    So… does this character have a known Mandarin pronunciation, and if so, what is it?

    (BTW, on my computer, too, the placeholder symbol is just not there. Example: "Can you tell me anything about the Chinese character ?")

  9. Chris Button said,

    June 2, 2024 @ 3:28 pm

    @ Philip Taylor

    Thanks for trying. I can get the character in dedicated font sets (e.g. mojikyo), but I was hoping to find it in unicode.

  10. Chris Button said,

    June 2, 2024 @ 3:53 pm

    Suspiciously similar to 瓤. Is it a variant?

  11. Chris Button said,

    June 2, 2024 @ 4:05 pm

    Here it is:

  12. Jonathan Smith said,

    June 2, 2024 @ 8:11 pm

    A pretty good tool is CHISE IDS 漢字検索

    you provide a list of one or more components that features in your target character and it coughs up matches, so in this case

    FWIW is the character presented in the earlier LL thread <a href=""here, wherein the author intuits the meaning and pronunciation as given in old dictionaries at a glance — giving the lie to myths that the script is anything but ideographic in nature.

  13. Tom Gewecke said,

    June 3, 2024 @ 8:44 am

    Regarding the right side of 暵

    check Alternative Forms at

    and first answer at简体字

  14. David Marjanović said,

    June 3, 2024 @ 3:09 pm

    Here it is:

    Ah, thanks. So ráng it is, not yǎn.

  15. Stephen said,

    June 3, 2024 @ 7:37 pm

    Is the information about the stone Vale or Stone chime correct what kind of stone would it have been?

  16. Victor Mair said,

    June 3, 2024 @ 8:06 pm


    That was one of the incorrect things that Copilot told us.

  17. John Swindle said,

    June 4, 2024 @ 12:52 am

    @Tom Gewecke: When I saw "On my Mac, …" I thought at first that it was the beginning of an oath.

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