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Can anyone tell me the glyph origins for 倒 ? I searched for it in one of the books but I couldn't find anything.

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「倒」 (Mandarin: dǎo, dào; to collapse/fall over, upside-down/inverted) is comprised of semantic 「人・亻」 (person, "person falling over") and phonetic 「到」 (dào).

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From here:


Character decomposition 字形分解 [?]:
Compound 倒
from person-left-ren 亻人 rén and
phonetic arrive-dao 到 dào.


Character decomposition 字形分解 [?]:
Compound 到
from arrow-arrive-zhi 至 zhì and
phonetic knife-dao 刂刀 dāo.


Character decomposition 字形分解 [?]:
Component 至
from arrow-shi 矢 shǐ and
(rem+ 一 yī ground). (name- arrow-arrive-zhi 至 zhì)

I have also read that 至 represents a bird swooping down to the ground. I'm sure our Chinese friends here have a very accurate etymology!

They say that 到 is just phonetic, but in 人 alone there is no sense of 'down'. I think some meaning of ‘down’ must derive from 至。

Ever noticed how 倒 sounds like 'down'? But down comes from Old English dun (= hill, rhymes with moon), which is exactly how the Scottish say 'down'!

I love to look for language links!

  • "They say that 到 is just phonetic, but in 人 alone there is no sense of 'down'. I think some meaning of ‘down’ must derive from 至。" - A semantic component rarely carries the full meaning of a character - usually it's just a hint as to its full meaning. For example, 运 doesn't mean walk, even though its semantic component is 走之旁. Meanwhile, it would be very rare for a part of the meaning to come from a part of the phonetic component. – Lionel Rowe Jul 20 '20 at 21:10
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倒 == 亻+ 到 == 亻+ 至 + 刂 (morphed from 人), two human going backwards against each other

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