Unlucky floor numbers in elevators

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For the main topic about floor numbering, please refer to Floor numbering.

Unlucky floor numbers are usually meant for some cultures that recognizes some numbers meant for bad things, such as death, in Chinese. Elevators in some region usually omit unlucky numbers and replace with another number (except the building owners don't care about this like Public Housing Estate blocks built by Hong Kong Housing Authority).

Examples of unlucky floor numbers that usually omitted in elevators


In Chinese culture, fourth floor is usually omitted from most elevator fixtures in a Chinese building, this is because the number means "death ()". It was considered that the number 4 in Putunghua means "sì" while death is "sǐ" and Cantonese means "sei3"[1] while death is "sei2"[2]. Both of these words are nearly homophonous. Some buildings in Asia skipped the fourth floor either by numbering it as "5" or by designating the floor as "3A" or something similar. In some buildings in South Korea, fourth floor is labelled "F" (Four) instead of 4 in elevators[3]. The practice of avoiding instance of number 4 is called Tetraphobia.


In Japan, 9 is also skipped in some buildings, especially hospitals, due to the sound "ku" being associated with the word "kurushimu" ("to suffer").


Number 13 is regarded as an unlucky number in many cultures. Unreasoned fear of the number 13 is termed triskaidekaphobia. Due to this fear, some tall buildings have resorted to skipping the "thirteenth floor", either by numbering it "14" (though it's really still the thirteenth floor) or by designating the floor as "12A" or something similar.


In the Chinese cultre, 14 is considered more unlucky than the individual 4, since 14 sounds like "will certainly die (實死)" in both Putunghua and Cantonese. Some buildings in Asia simply numbering it as "15" or "12B" or even "13A".


Like 14, 24 is considered more unlucky since 24 sounds like "easy to die (易實死/易死)" in Cantonese. This also applies for 34, 44, 54, etc.


Same reasons as 4. 49 is considered to be an especially unlucky number in Japan as it is evocative of the phrase "shinu made kurushimu", which means "to suffer until death".

Some countries may not allow to omit 40-43 and 45-49 by the government.[4]

An example of this practice is found in Aryaduta Suites[5], and in The Energy[6], Jakarta, Indonesia.

Notes and references


Drive systems: Traction • Hydraulic

Types of elevators: Double DeckDumbwaiterFireman'sFreightIncline • PassengerResidentialWheelchair lift

Concept: Destination dispatchElevator algorithm • Elevator control systemElevator machine room • Elevator maintenanceElevator major alterationsElevator modernizationMachine room less elevator

Elevator systems, controllers and equipments: Elevator fixtures • Elevator keys • Elevator special modesElevator doorsDoor camDoor interlocks (Interlock wiring communication system) • Door restrictorElevator Inspection CertificateEmergency stop buttonFloor designatorsGate switch • Old Deadman controls • Overspeed governorMotor-generator set & Silicon-controlled rectifier (for DC-powered elevators) • Insulated-gate bipolar transistor (for AC-VVVF-powered elevators) • Regenerative converter (for AC-VVVF-powered elevators)

See also: List of elevator fixtures guide • List of elevator and escalator companies • Elevator door sill guide (Generic elevator component door sill guide) • Floor numbering (Unlucky floor numbers) • Elevator incidents and accidents

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