Definitions for kung fuˈkʌŋ ˈfu, ˈkʊŋ
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word kung fu
a Chinese martial art
Any Chinese martial art.
Origin: Based on the Wade-Giles romanization of the Chinese 功夫 (Wade-Giles: kung-fu, Pinyin: gōngfu, /kʊŋ˥˥fu/).
Kung fu/Kungfu or Gung fu/Gongfu is a Chinese term referring to any study, learning, or practice that requires patience, energy, and time to complete, often used in the West to refer to Chinese martial arts, also known as Wushu. It is only in the late twentieth century, that this term was used in relation to Chinese Martial Arts by the Chinese community. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term "Kung-fu" as "a primarily unarmed Chinese martial art resembling karate." This illustrates how this term has been misused in English. The origin of this misuse can be attributed to the misunderstanding or mistranslation of the term through movie subtitles or dubbing. In its original meaning, kung fu can refer to any skill achieved through hard work and practice, not necessarily martial. The Chinese literal equivalent of "Chinese martial art" would be 中國武術 zhōngguó wǔshù. In Chinese, Gōngfu is a compound of two words, combining 功 meaning "work", "achievement", or "merit", and 夫 which is alternately treated as being a word for "man" or as a particle or nominal suffix with diverse meanings. A literal rendering of the first interpretation would be "achievement of man", while the second is often described as "work and time/effort". Its connotation is that of an accomplishment arrived at by great effort of time and energy. In Mandarin, when two "first tone" words such as gōng and fū are combined, the second word often takes a neutral tone, in this case forming gōngfu. The word is also sometimes written as 工夫, this version often being used for more general, non-martial arts usages of the term.
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