I have heard the term “confusable” used to describe different Unicode characters such as these. In Chinese, I often get these two characters confused:

  1.   "control; manage". (Fun fact: Shuowen Jiezi1 claims that this is  hòu "queen; emperor", flipped.) I usually see this character in 公司 gōngsī "company" or 司机 sījī "driver; chauffeur".

  2.  tóng "same; together". I often encounter this as a “co-” -like prefix, such as 同事 tóngshì "coworker", or 同学 tóngxué "classmate".

One reason that I get them confused is that they both have the inner structure 𠮛 zhǐ2, which appears to be a variant form of  zhǐ rare enough to only appear within  ,  tóng, and atop   and its derivations (  , etc).

  1. “an ancient Chinese dictionary… during the Eastern Han dynasty (25 – 206 CE). Although not the first comprehensive Chinese character dictionary… the first to analyze the structure of the characters and to give the rationale behind them, as well as the first to use the principle of organization by sections with shared components called ‘radicals’…” ~ Wikipedia ↩︎

  2. This character has no rendering in most fonts, but it decomposes as 𠮛 ==> ⿱(, )↩︎