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Recently I came across 铺就, today I have 造就。I tend to think of 就 as 'then'. Maybe that is wrong.

What did 就 originally mean? It seems to show a building and an injured hand??

There are other words with *就。
成就,将就,迁就,牵就 even 可就

How should I understand 就 in these combinations? What is its role?

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has the meaning of 完成;成功 (accomplish) in 造就 (bring up / achievements) and 成就 (achieve;accomplish).

(9) 完成;成功 [accomplish]

(10) 又如:就亲(成就婚事,成亲);就名(成就功名)

When in 将就, 迁就 it means accommodate.

(12) 迁就;将就 [accommodate oneself to; suit; fit; yield]

(13) 又如:半推半就;牵就;就着(就便;顺便);就滑(随便;方便)

The original meaning of is

就,高也。从京从尤。尤,異於凡也。,籒文就。疾僦切 文二 重一

The left part 京 means high; tall, the right part 尤 means special; out of the common.

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There is an extended discussion about 就 here http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/phorum/read.php?7,138618,page=1

My thinking is. 就 mainly means " then; just; only; near; close to

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The original meaning of 就

http://www.shuowen.org/view/3315

'就,高也。从京从尤。尤,異於凡也

京 = high

尤 = extraordinary

就 = high

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廣韵曰。就、成也。迎也。卽也。皆其引伸之義也

The core meaning of 就 is 'success; complete'; other means like 'get near' or 'then' are all extended from the original meaning

'就' in '铺就' and '造就' are adverb for 'completed' because '铺' and '造' are verb.

铺 = to pave

铺就 = finish paving

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造 = make

造就 = completed making = create

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成就 (achievement) is a compound word

成= completed

就 = height;

成就 = achievement

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将就,迁就 are also compound words

'就' in '将就'(put up with) and 迁就 (accommodate) is a verb for 'approach' (you make accommodation to approach someone else's need or demand)

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  • 就 as a standalone verb it used to mean "to take", but now it usually does not stand alone, but the meaning remains.
  • 就 as a conjunction means "AND", thus extending original meaning "to take". Since you are "with an object" when you "take it", that is, it can be said that you are in a situation of "you AND it". Mind you there are many "and" in chinese (跟, 及, 也, 和, 并, 与, 而, 同 ect.) each has it's own connotation and perhaps evolved from a verb.

there is a disscussion about it, here A unified theory of 就 meaning

  • Great! Thanks, very interesting! – Pedroski May 28 at 23:01

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