Trivia

Hard

Just Like Many Western Buildings Have No Formal 13th Floor, Many Chinese Buildings Have No?

4th Floor
9th Floor
23rd Floor
8th Floor

Answer: 4th Floor

Cultures around the globe have superstitions about numbers. Some numbers are purported to bestow luck, others are considered unlucky or even ominous. Thousands of buildings in the United States, for example, have no 13th floor because of strong superstitions about the number 13 being unlucky–many tenants prefer not to live on that particular floor. These buildings, of course, have a physical floor that is the 13th from the ground, but that floor is either reserved as a mechanical zone or storage space, or just renamed to be the 14th floor.

In the same manner, you’ll find missing 4th floors in China and other parts of East Asia, and sometimes a building will have no floors at all with the number 4 in them (including the 40th through 49th floors). Why skip four? In Chinese, the number four is pronounced “sì (pinyin)” and is nearly homophonous with the word death, pronounced “sǐ (pinyin)”. As such, there is a strong aversion to using the number for addresses or building floors, and, as a result, you can find high rises in China and throughout East Asia that have 50 listed floors but only 35 physical floors (due to the omitted numbers).

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