I recently noticed that the word 挺 (which I know mainly as an intensifier) also is the measure word for 機槍, machine guns. Now machine guns are a fairly recent invention, so I am wondering: Is it known who chose this measure word for them and why?

  • bkrs:挺 I v. 1) stick/bulge out 2) endure 你能挺多久? How long can you endure? 3) slang deal with; handle II b.f. 1) erect; firm (笔挺) 2) distinguished; standing out (英挺) III adv. very; rather; quite IV m. for machine guns (frequency rank) #778
    – user6065
    Commented Aug 19, 2018 at 22:59
  • @user6065 please, what is bkrs ?
    – faure
    Commented Aug 23, 2018 at 10:57
  • suggestion: search web using "bkrs"
    – user6065
    Commented Aug 23, 2018 at 11:43

1 Answer 1



As a measure word, 挺 refers to something that is long.

In《太平御览》卷八三五,it says 壶中大钱一千,以通九泉之路,蜡烛一挺,以照七尺之尸。

In modern Chinese, 一挺蜡烛 is no longer commonly used.

  • 2
    Ah, so I guessed wrong: instead of somebody deciding to use it as a new measure word for machine guns, it is an old measure word that no longer has any other uses. That makes a lot of sense, thank you!
    – Kusma
    Commented Aug 19, 2018 at 21:51
  • 1
    @Kusma I have never thought about this deeply before you asked, thank you too!
    – zyy
    Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 1:21

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