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I suspect it comes from "又做完了,又做得美丽," since that would make some sense. Is it something along these lines?

  • it seems simply to be a matter of adverb 完 qualifying adjective 美, cf. 完好,完满,完善、完整, of course 完 can modify adverbs (e.g. 完全)or verbs also (e。g。完毕) – user6065 Aug 31 '16 at 23:05
  • 完 means to complete, sound and safe, to be ready, a reunion – ElpieKay Sep 2 '16 at 9:15
  • I don't think 完 here means "finish, end", it should be the same meaning as in "完璧归赵", it's "complete, whole". – thinwa Sep 8 '16 at 9:29
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there's an earlier usage of "完美" in 唐 dynasty. in 漢文大藏經﹒毗尼作持續釋﹒卷五:

釋 若犯妄語。譬如大石破為二分終不可還合者。謂石大 完美 。四覩奇觀。比丘戒淨。人天欽仰。若犯妄語波羅夷法。不得還成比丘梵行。布薩羯磨不共眾僧。如石兩分。破壞本質。失眾敬瞻。棄置不盻故。

http://tripitaka.cbeta.org/mobile/index.php?index=X41n0730_005

so, i would suggest the etymology of "完美" is derived from "完整" + "美好"

enter image description here

  • Sorry if this is obvious from your excerpt, but how do you know that the 完美 comes from "完整" + "美好"? – Hanry Hu Sep 5 '16 at 22:21
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    the metaphor of 犯妄語 is 大石破為二分 --> a big rock is broken into two halves. so 守戒 (not 犯妄語) is a whole, complete big rock. that, "完整" matched. next, "美好" is the most common term suitable for describing rock. anyway, it's just a suggestion for explaining 完美 in this buddhism text. have fun :) – 水巷孑蠻 Sep 6 '16 at 1:26
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(adverbial - entirely / wholly) + (adjective - beautiful / excellent)

完美 is a compound word for "perfect, perfectly, perfection"

http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/dictionary/characters/880/

|jyun4| jyutping

|wan2 | pinyin

[1] [v] complete; finish; bring to a conclusion

[2] whole

[3] [v] run out; use up

[4] a Chinese family name

http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/dictionary/characters/257/

|mei5| jyutping

|mei3| pinyin

[1] beautiful; pretty; pleasing; fine; fair

[2] good; excellent; exquisite; nice

[3] be pleased with oneself

[4] [v] praise

完美 http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/dictionary/words/9672/

|jyun4 mei5| jyutping

|wan2 mei3| pinyin

perfect, perfection, perfectly

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宋 司马光 《太子太保庞公墓志铭》:“至於庐舍饮食,无不尽心为之驱处,使皆完美”。这是我索到的“完美”一词最早的出处。完在古代汉语可作形容词,意思是完整的,完好的,如完璧归赵。在司马光的文章中“完美”一词应是完备美好之意。至于完美一词什么时候变成现代汉语中“完美”(perfect)的意思,这个我就不清楚了。

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