1

After reading the etymology of , I read that of one of the underlying ideograms: .

Pictogram (象形) or Ideogrammic compound (會意):  +  – a hand holding a tool, hence activity.

  1. How does 几 resemble a hand?

  2. How does 又 resemble a tool? What tool is being referred to?

This YouTube video didn't assist.

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2
  • 又 refers to the hand, not 几.
    – dROOOze
    Commented May 4, 2020 at 8:20
  • 1
    Pro-tip: Imgur automatically creates multiple files with varying image sizes original large medium small. The latter three are obtained by adding an l, m or s directly before .jpg.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Commented May 4, 2020 at 9:21

1 Answer 1

4

Slight correction, 「殳」 originally depicted a hand 「又」 holding a spear/rod-like weapon/club.




殳
8520
合集21868


㱿
亞殸斝
集成9161
西周

殳
趞曹鼎
集成2784
戰國

毀
鄂君啟車節
集成12110


殳
效律45
睡虎地秦簡


殳

 

Forms 1, 3, 5, 6 are all 「殳」. Form 2 is the character 「㱿」. Form 4 is the character 「毀」. Take note of the right hand side of 「㱿」 and 「毀」, which both have 「殳」 as a component.

「殳」 originally depicted a hand 「又」 holding a spear, rod, or club-like weapon, which now looks like 「几」. The original meaning of 「殳」, a kind of weapon, is now written as 「杸」.


As a character component giving a meaning hint, 「殳」 originally had something to do with attacking or hitting. For example,

  • 「擊」 to attack

  • 「殺」 to kill

  • 「毀」 to destroy, ruin

  • 「役」 enslave > labour

  • 「聲」 sound (ears 耳 hearing stone chimesbeing struck 殳)

Through semantic extension, it was also used as a marker for verb-like words or morphemes, such as

  • 「發」 (to shoot arrows > emit)

  • 「設」 (to establish)


References:

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