Any ideas on the origin of the 绍 character? Studying for finals and I need a coherent way to associate the silk, knife, and mouth radicals. In the phrase 介绍.

1 Answer 1


The real way to describe characters should only utilise a surface level, not recursive, decomposition.

  • 「紹」originally meant to continue. The meaning introduce is a semantic extension from to continue > to bring two things together > to introduce.

  • 「紹」is made from semantic「糸」(silk threads) and phonetic「召」(zhào or shào).

    • 「糸」as a semantic component, sometimes in an abbreviated form「幺」, appears in many characters to do with linking, continuation, such as「繼」(to continue),「續」(to join together),「系」(to tie, link > system, series), 「斷」(to break),「胤」(offspring).

    • 「召」is comprised of phonetic「刀」(dāo) and semantic「口」(mouth), and originally meant to beckon, call, summon. There was originally no meaning connection between「召」and「紹」; any connection between to call and to introduce is coincidental, but you can utilise this connection as a mnemonic.

    • Other characters using「召」as a phonetic component include 招昭炤沼詔邵韶.「召」, like many other components used as a phonetic, may not contribute any semantic value to the whole character.

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    I think the above was my first question here. This answer is beyond fantastic. Thank you! Dec 10, 2018 at 3:26
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    From the 尚書/書經 (Classic of History): 復先王之大業 = The great inheritance of the former kings will be continued and renewed.
    – Michaelyus
    Dec 10, 2018 at 12:56
  • @droooze I can see you understand a lot about chinese character etymology. Could you recommend some good reliable books on that matter? Dec 24, 2018 at 2:17
  • @EnricoBrasil Sure...(1) General history, Qiu Xigui's Chinese Writing, available in English; (2) General character reference, 季旭昇《說文新證》, only in Chinese; (3) Online web resources, passable but not as good as some of the books out there - humanum.arts.cuhk.edu.hk/Lexis/lexi-mf and chinese-linguipedia.org. If you own Outlier's app, the references they quote in their character entries are very good. This community is also for asking detailed questions, so if there's something you don't understand you can just ask here!
    – dROOOze
    Dec 24, 2018 at 2:23
  • @droooze I knew the first website and the second one is a really good one, thank you very much! I'll try to find the books. Dec 25, 2018 at 18:26

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