「涼」 and 「凉」 are thought to have different origins, and are different characters altogether. From 《洪武正韻牋》:
Both these characters can be used for the meaning cold, but that was not the original meaning of 「涼」. 「涼」 was originally a type of light wine, and this usage can be seen in historical texts. From 《周禮‧天官‧漿人》：
I had some more difficulty finding the origin of 「凉」. Websites like 小學堂 and 漢語多功能字庫 did not have entries for it either. According to this blog post, 「凉」 was a place name.
But when searching for 「凉州」, sources in Traditional Chinese tend to render it as 「涼州」, which leads me to question the claim that 「凉」 was originally a place name.
- What is the glyph origin of 「凉」?
- How did 「涼」 gain overlapping meanings with 「凉」?
- Do 「淒」 and 「凄」 share a similar relation to 「涼」 and 「凉」?