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宴席 and 筵席:

I know what both words mean, and I think it's quite funny they have similar pronunciations with quite similar meanings (give or take on both).

  • Do the two words have similar origins?

  • Any historical connections?

宴 Middle Chinese: ‘enH

筵 Middle Chinese: yen

It would be easy to assume they don't have much connection based on their Middle Chinese pronunciations. Quite peculiar anyhow.

  • Not a critique on the question but the site - since we don't have separate sites like ELL and EL&U, I think we need more distinguishable tags at least, or many would misread the question as a simple meaning/usage differentiation. – NS.X. Mar 26 '15 at 17:49
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In my opinion, there are no similar origins or any historical connections between these two words.

  • 宴 means 宴请 here. It's a verb. And the word 宴席 is also a modern Chinese word widely used in our daily life.
  • 筵 means 竹席. You can find it's composed with 竹 on top, so apparently it is a noun. 筵席 is more or less too formal and ancient for daily use. I will never use it except the old saying 天下没有不散的筵席.

Your analysis is also reasonable. It seems just a coincidence.

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