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I know this topic has - kind of - been discussed over here: What etymology dictionaries are available?

(In order to avoid seeming like I'm advertising for anyone I will refrain from mentioning where I heard this but...)

I once heard an explanation of the character 取 talking about how it came from the character 馘 (meaning: to cut off the left ear of the slain in battle) - and how the meaning of 馘 is visually represented in the character 取 (an ear + a hand) now meaning 'to take'

Where would one go to find this type of etymological explanations?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted is an authoritative resource:


However, I don't think it is true that 取 developed from 聝 and 馘, they have always been separate characters, even though Shuowen (same site) indicates that 取 has also been used in that sense: 捕取也。从又从耳。《周禮》:“獲者取左耳。”《司馬法》曰:“載獻聝。”聝者,耳也。七庾切。

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Well if I wanted to know about zdic I could have just looked in my browser history - or the list of answers in the question I pasted at the top. Cheers. – user3306356 May 18 '14 at 6:53
is there offline access to this material? In an iphone app or something? Something that doesn't require and internet connection? – user3306356 May 18 '14 at 7:10
Wenlin or some other software. For Iphone, there is always Pleco, but etymological resources may not be free, if they exist at all. – 倪阔乐 May 18 '14 at 7:13

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