(Kangxi radical 31, +2, 5 strokes, cangjie input 田金 (WC), four-corner 60210, composition丿(GHTV) or ⿴(JK))

The word "four" was written as before Western Zhou and appeared in late Spring and Autumn period. This alternative form was used to prevent confusion of and or in vertical writing. It was standardized in Qin dynasty.

The bronzeware style of the character featured a repositioning of those four lines inside ; this later evolved into the combination used today of (“mouth”) and (“divide”) which meant a dispersal of breath. It could thus be said that four is a borrowed meaning for this character. The original sense is preserved in (OC *hrids), by adding an extra .

As superstition, (MC siɪH) is avoided because it is similar to (MC sˠiɪX, “death”) in sound.

In modern Japanese, Japonic (yo) is more common than Sinitic (shi, see Etymology 3) outside fixed compounds, which is similar to (なな) (nana) but different from other numerals. The reason may be a superstitious connection to () (shi), or simply avoiding confusion with similar sounding (いち) (ichi) and (しち) (shichi).

Shift from yo above,[1][2] influenced by analogy by the final sound of preceding number (san, three). The most common form as a stand-alone number.

Due to Chinese influence, (shi) is sometimes avoided as it is homonymous to (shi, death).

: Hán Việt readings: tứ[1][2][3]
: Nôm readings: tớ[1][2][4], tứ[2][3], [4]