The meaning of chi (血, 地, 知) in Japanese and how to use it

This article will give you all of the knowledge you need on the Japanese word chi, including its Japanese definition and various translations, example sentences, and more!

What does chi mean?

The Japanese word chi (ち) has a number of meanings including blood (血), land/place (written as 地), and wisdom (知). You can tell the different terms apart by their kanji when reading, while in conversation the meaning should basically be clear from context.

In my personal experience, however, the word chi usually stands for blood in daily conversation. You will see below that the other alternatives tend to be more literary. Starting with this translation of the word, we take a look at some examples of how to use chi in Japanese.

To make it easier for you, I have written each sentence in full Japanese kanji on the first line, followed by roman letters (romaji), and hiragana, with the English meaning coming last.

Chi meaning 1: Blood

Chi means blood in Japanese, and can also stand for land or wisdom.

Kenka no ato, kare wa chi darake datta.
He was covered in blood after the fight.

Nande hana kara chi ga deteiru no?
Why is blood coming out from my nose?

Taihan no nihon jin wa dokoka de chi ga tsunagatteiru.
Most Japanese people are related by blood in some way.

Chi meaning 2: Land/place

Sono chi wa hijyouni samui desu.
That place is extremely cold.

Kyouto wa boku ni totte omoide no chi desu.
Kyoto is a memorable place for me.

Just so you know, chi (地) on its own in this context is a formal usage that you won’t hear much in normal conversations. Tochi (土地) and basho (場所) are much more common words to mean land and place, respectively.

You can see that the second kanji in tochi (土) is the same as chi. Actually, this form of chi mostly appears in words combining other kanji, rather than by itself (as is true for many lone characters).

Chi meaning 3: Wisdom

Just like the last section, it is quite rare to use chi (知) on its own to mean wisdom. In fact, I struggled to find any examples at all!

However, chi does appear in a LOT of words related to knowledge and wisdom. Here are just a few of them:

Chishiki (知識, ちしき): Knowledge
Chie (知恵, ちえ): Wisdom
Chijin (知人, ちじん): Acquaintance