Does any one have good glyph origin theory about those HanZi?

My take:

  1. 状 - fence + dog inside ~ then this mutated to a "situation or disposition" meaning.
  2. 状 - remnant of 壮 + dog = huge dog. how this ended in the present meaning of 状 i don't know.
  3. 況 - water + a man with a big mouth (speaking). Meaning of "describing water" or describing a phenomenon. Water and "moreover" meaning play good together but "situation" meaning doesn't click for me.

2 Answers 2


have a look of this page:


狀(u+72c0)﹒犬形也(form, appearance of dog)﹒从犬﹒爿聲(爿 is sound component)

爿(u+723f) is a main component of chinese character:


況(u+6cc1)﹒寒水也(cold water)﹒从水﹒兄聲(兄 is sound component)﹒


i would think that all your takes is, . . . ,well, try again :)

edited, additional info added.

my brief checking, that the term "狀況" in modern usage; the earliest one is in page 102 of 御製詩四集﹒卷七十九, by emperor 乾隆 of 清 dynasty:


page 102 of 御製詩四集﹒卷七十九

the last 4 & 3 characters at the bottom of left most column.

in early 20th century, it's frequency in old hk newspaper:

1900s (8)
1910s (20)
1920s (190)
1930s (505)
1940s (217)

have fun :)

  • I've been there. The data they show upon searching those hanzi is useless to me (data doesn't help).
    – coobit
    Jun 9, 2016 at 11:12
  • cheer up, that's why we ask here :) Jun 9, 2016 at 11:23
  • sometimes in the comment section on that website one can find a true diamond: one random guy explaines hanzi unconventional and perfect. just as in the case of 也. read 尘飘扬 comment on vividict.com/WordInfo.aspx?id=2952
    – coobit
    Jun 9, 2016 at 11:38
  • with creativity, one can make guess. to find supporting evidence is harder, then, to refute one is the hardest; there're countless "documentations" since oracle script. Jun 9, 2016 at 12:07
  • Ok.ok!!! Enough already! Grab an upvote!. Jesus... :)
    – coobit
    Jun 9, 2016 at 17:25

Actually Xu Shen's rationalizations are not so much worse than yours:



It has to be admitted that neither explanation is particularly compelling or enlightening for the modern reader. As a learning crutch, how about these:

爿 a stick, a chip, a small piece of wood; I carve it to so it takes the 狀 shape of a 犬 dog.

The 水 water is like my 兄 brother; under these 況 conditions I thrive.

Another way to deal with recalcitrant characters is to just accept oneself's mnemonic ineptitude and to proceed reading and writing. Chances are that the more important items will show up often enough that they will become familiar enough sooner or later. It must be said that some things will never feel at home in the minds of some learners, and still cause a burden in terms of time spent and maybe wasted. Perfection is a noble goal, but determination to attain it without any lacunae is a certain way to failure; sometimes the way to learn something depends on getting over not being able to and going on with whatever comes up next. We cannot always explain, attain, or keep everything. Even Confucius, when discussing why 犬 is used to write dog, once remarked: "the ancient dogs must have looked strange indeed".

  • ipvote for Confucius. ^)
    – coobit
    Jun 9, 2016 at 11:13

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