Four is the sacred number for most Native American people (as opposed to three for Europeans). However, nine, two, three, and seven also have some sacred aspects. Four is the four directions, the four colors (red, black, yellow, and blue - or green), the four winds, and even the number of times that stories must be repeated in chants.

In Chinese culture, the number four represents death and is usually avoided as much as possible. Examples of unwanted situations include phone numbers, addresses, floor numbers, license plates, etc.

Good luck numbers include three, which has the same sound as birth and eight, which sounds like luck or wealth.

In rowing, a shell with four rowers, each with a single oar in a 50 kg, forty foot long boat. Comes in two flavors: coxed and straight or coxless.

Other rowing events include the eight and pair oared sweeps, and the quad, double, and single sculls.

SHI yo (four)

ASCII Art Representation:

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Character Etymology:

Four was one shown much like the kanji for three is presented today: it was drawn with four parallel horizonal strokes representing the way the hand used to show the count of four.

The character which represents four today once meant breath, "that which emerges from the mouth," but was used as a phonetic substitute for the old character for four Perhaps, this was because its shape was a rough approximation of the four fingers of a fist held palm side down.

A Listing of All On-Yomi and Kun-Yomi Readings:

on-yomi: SHI
kun-yomi: yo yo(tsu) yo(tsu) yon

Nanori Readings:

Nanori: a tsu yotsu

English Definitions:

  1. SHI: four
  2. yo(tsu), yo(ttsu), yo, yon: four.

Unicode Encoded Version:

Unicode Encoded Compound Examples:

(shigatsu): April.
四日 (yokka): the fourth day (of the month).
四回 (yonkai): four times.

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In the game of cricket, four runs are awarded to a batter who hits a ball all the way to the boundary. Such a shot is referred to simply as a "four". If the ball goes over the boundary on the full, six runs are awarded and the shot is referred to as a "six". These shots are roughly analogous to a home run in baseball, however there is no requirement for the batter to actually run as there is in a baseball home run. It is common to see a batter hit a four, and then remain standing serenely at the crease while the fielding team fetch and return the ball.

In each batter's innings, the number of fours is recorded, and gives an indication of the how the innings was played. A century which contains 20 fours indicates that the batter was in a particularly aggressive mood. If it contained only 3 fours it would indicate an unusually defensive innings (or perhaps a very slow outfield).

Four (?), a. [OE. four, fower, feower, AS. feower; akin to OS. fiwar, D. & G. vier, OHG. fior, Icel. fjrir, Sw. fyra, Dan. fire, Goth. fidwr, Russ. chetuire, chetvero, W. pedwar, L. quatuor, Gr. , , , Skr. catur. 302. Cf. Farthing, Firkin, Forty, Cater four, Quater-cousin, Quatuor, Quire of paper, tetrarch.]

One more than three; twice two.


© Webster 1913.

Four, n.


The sum of four units; four units or objects.


A symbol representing four units, as 4 or iv.


Four things of the same kind, esp. four horses; as, a chariot and four.

All fours. See All fours, in the Vocabulary.


© Webster 1913.

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