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For instance, in medical terminology, we can tease out the meaning from the words. But I cannot tell why we use 质 for proton and 荷 for charge.

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質子 means 有質量的粒子 (subatomic particle with mass, in contrast with electrons which comparably have very little mass), where 質量 means mass (specifically in the field of physics). Although neutrons also have mass, they're called 中子.

荷 generically means load, burden, and in 電荷 it literally means electric load > electric charge.

  • 中子 is named so just because it's not electronic – 炸鱼薯条德里克 Apr 16 at 2:37
  • Or rather, it has a neutral charge (compare 中立 for the general meaning of "neutrality") – Michaelyus Apr 16 at 9:00
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质 in Chinese mean inseparable (不可分割) such as 质数 (prime number)

Another explaination, 质:事物的根本特性.

https://www.zhihu.com/question/38322079

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