What Are the Chinese Zodiac Signs and Meanings?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 3, 2020 10:14:11 AM ET
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The Chinese zodiac is symbolized by twelve animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat (or sheep) monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Each animal represents one year in a repeating twelve year cycle.

The rat, whose most recent year was 2008, is charming and popular. They are good at hoarding, and their negative traits include gossiping and greed.

The Ox, representing 2009, symbolizes patience and persistence. The ox can also be rigid and lack of a sense of humor.

The tiger, representing 2010, is characterized by adventurousness. Tigers are also reckless and impulsive, taking unnecessary risks.

2011 represented the rabbit, who is cautious and even-tempered and approachable. They are also superficial.

The dragon, representing 2012, is known for strength. They are dynamic and active, but can also hold grudges.

The snake, whose previous cycle was 2013, is witty, wise and flexible, but also distrustful and paranoid.

2014 was the most recent year of the horse, who loves freedom and independence. They live in the moment, which makes them poor future planners.

2015 is the year of the goat or sheep. Goats are sincere and gentle, tending to be followers rather than leaders.

The monkey, last represented in 2004, is curious and eager, but difficult to trust.

The rooster, whose year was 2005, is persistent but critical.

The dog, last seen in 2006, is loyal but mean-spirited when provoked.

2007 was the year of the pig, who is friendly but gullible.