I find 2 very different glyph origins for 入
- It shows the roots of a plant entering the ground.
- It is a picture of an open tent or tent door.
Which is correct?
Chinese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Chinese language. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
(象形) Pictographic. Picture of the sharp point of an arrow used to pierce something.
Primitive pictograph 入. An open tent door. Meaning enter.
(入 in oracle looked like a lid facing down to represent "to store items in" , or 'seal something with a lid' . "Enter" was an extended meaning.
The original meaning of the word: the storage of items, stamped sealed.)
(金文 inherited Oracle shape. Some 金文 of 入 looked like "house")
that may had been the origin of 'An open tent door' etymology
After studied the references, my conclusion is the earliest pictographic of 入 resembled a lid facing down. Then evolved into 'open tent' shape.
The 'arrow' representing 'enter' (入) etymology is likely an later interpretation. (depend on how early 'arrow head' was invented, it might had been developed concurrently with 'lid' for the meaning of 入)