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I am reading a text that uses the following phrase:

或謂鄭相曰

I understand it generally to mean that

someone told to the prime minister of Zheng saying

However, I don't understand exactly what the character 或 means here.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

It means "someone" in this case.

From zdic:

某人,有的人

From Iciba:

[书] (某人; 有的人) someone ; some people

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Hi Joe. Thanks for the response and particularly for the reference to zdic. I had not seen this site before, but I will be referencing it a lot in the future. Thanks. –  fmz Feb 21 '13 at 11:08
    
@fmz no problem! –  Stumpy Joe Pete Feb 21 '13 at 15:37

,is frequently to be seen in classical Chinese with the meaning——someone,such usage is barely seen in modern chinese language.

而楼上人往来屑屑,或凭或立,不一状。————《山市》蒲松龄

:

It is composed of "" and "弌".
resembles the city wall surrounding a city
means the first time in night a soldier patrol with a polearm.

, and refer to first,second,third time of patrol

Some people think that means that defend his land with polearm

或,邦也。从囗,从戈,以守一。一,地也。——《说文》

Taking the above into consideration, can be understood as defending one's country with weapons.

It therefore means country and by derivation, someone.


EDIT:

If you are interested in classical chinese,《古代汉语词典》 is recommended. This book is of authoritativeness in china.

If you are interested in modern chinese,《现代汉语词典》 ,This book is used for standardized 普通话,and also used by every students attending college entrance examination.

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1  
This is not completely correct. The character actually consists of what you said + 一. 一 probably refers to the primary resource one tries to protect which is one's land. –  deutschZuid Feb 21 '13 at 7:06
    
In fact I would recommend 《辭海》《辭源》《康熙字典》 and 《王力古漢語詞典》 instead of 《古代漢語詞典》. I'd say 《王力古漢語詞典》 is excellent! –  Mike Manilone Feb 23 '13 at 4:57

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