Personally, I find it hard to imagine how the character 矢 looks like an site (perhaps a "big" man with a spear on to of his head, I dunno).

Can someone please explain this ibn terms of oracle bone scripture character evolution Unicode characters or something?

Also, the character 丢失的失 also looks similar, and might be related (not to speak about 矮子的矮 (where arrows 矢 are shorter than spears (not sure what character you'd user for a spear), women 女on average shorter than men, and grains 禾 smaller than X, can't remember what X is).


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    If you are only interested in how to remember it, you can see the 大 is the arrow and 矢 is an arrow hit the target. – EmmaXL Oct 9 '16 at 22:27
  • You'd have to stretch your imagination Emma to imagine that, but I can see it working. Thanks. – Jack Maddington Oct 10 '16 at 12:58
  • @EmmaXL Well, the one down side of using your method of remembering is you might think 矢 means bull's eye mistakenly. – Daniel Cheung Oct 10 '16 at 13:14
  • @DanielCheung How does that work? – EmmaXL Oct 10 '16 at 13:30
  • @EmmaXL Because you said imagine 大 as an arrow? So the whole character would mean something that contains an arrow and a target? – Daniel Cheung Oct 10 '16 at 13:44

Chinese characters originally looks more different when written in older script, e.g. Oracle Script, as stokes get simplified more and more and curvy strokes are then converted to straight lines and boxy characters, eventually, different characters look alike.

According to http://www.chineseetymology.org,

矢 originally looks like this in Seal Script:


Primitive pictograph 矢. An arrow. Meaning arrow.

失 originally looks like this in Seal Script:


Augmented pictograph 失. Augmentation 丿(something lost) to hand 手 indicating dropping something. Meaning lose.

And for reference, hand 手 in Seal Script:

enter image description here

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    TBH that doesn't look like an arrow at all😂 it might be better to refer to earlier forms. – Wang Dingwei Oct 10 '16 at 7:26
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    @WangDingwei Well, you can search up the character on that site. But I think people can get the idea from this explanation. Also, although the Bronze Script looks like an arrow, it doesn't resemble 矢 at all, so I think using Seal Script for explanation is rather effective. – Daniel Cheung Oct 10 '16 at 9:13
  • It's true though, I've always found these old photographs don't resemble the modern characters at all. – Jack Maddington Oct 10 '16 at 13:00

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