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词汇 means vocabulary or words and phrases.

In traditional characters (I noticed today) that would be: 詞彙 and 彙 is a word for hedgehog (刺猬)。(詞彙: word hedgehog)

Did the ancient Chinese gather hedgehogs? Did 彙 mean "gather" first and "hedgehog" later?

How are "hedgehog" and "gather" related? As far as I know, hedgehogs are not gregarious little beasts, too spiky!

(I know the British used to catch hedgehogs, cover them in mud and bake them in a fire. Probably still do 'up North'. Mmmm, delicious!)

  • omg 🙀 where did you find that “彙” mean hedgehogs? – 水巷孑蠻 Jul 26 at 3:14
  • 《爾雅•釋獸》:“彙,毛刺。”郭璞注:“彙,今蝟,狀似鼠。” – Firmin Martin Jul 26 at 3:24
  • @ 水巷孑蠻 1. zdic.net/hans/%E5%BD%99 – Pedroski Jul 26 at 6:02
1

2: 類; 4: 聚合

If 彙 in 辭彙 means '類' (type), the explanation would be: 辭彙 = word types

If 彙 in 辭彙 means '聚合' (gather), the explanation would be: 辭彙 = gathering of words

辭彙: 一種語言裡所有語詞和固定詞組等的總稱。除一般語詞外,還包括古語、方言、外來語詞及各科術語。 (A general term for all words and fixed phrases in a language. In addition to general words, it also includes archaic words, dialects, foreign words and terms of various subjects.)

My theory on how the meaning of 'gather' was extended from hedgehog:

When someone got shot by many arrows, it is commonly described as 被射成刺蝟一般 (be shot to look like a hedgehog). Similar to pin cushion gathering pins We can compare a pin cushion to an empty field and compare the pins as words and particles. A language is like a pin cushion gathered many 'pins' -- like quills gathering on a hedgehog's back

Since '匯' and '彙' sound the same and both contain the meaning of 'gather', 辭匯 had become an accepted variant of 辭彙 in modern Chinese.

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词汇, in traditional chinese should be: 辞匯

匯, means put together. 例如: 江河汇入大海

辞, means words.

彙 means animals or something, but it also equals to 匯. refer to: https://hanyu.baidu.com/zici/s?wd=%E6%B1%87&query=%E6%B1%87%20%E7%B9%81%E4%BD%93&srcid=28236&from=kg0

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  • In traditional Chinese is either 辭彙 or 詞彙. 詞匯 can be understood, but when you choose words in input method, 詞彙 is first which comes up. – Firmin Martin Jul 26 at 4:22

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