How do radical words works.I found words such as horse(radical) but the word for cow is not radical. How do we differentiate these type of words.

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Barbdb 140
A radical is a part of a Chinese character that may or may not be in itself a word. It tells un something about the word itself. There are 214 radicals ordered by the number of strokes used to write them. To look up a word in the dictionary you identify the radical, then you count the number of strokes remaining and go to the corresponding table to find the character you are looking for.

In your example both horse 马 and cow 牛 are radicals.

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