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CUHK doesn't proffer an etymology. I quote Yellowbridge. How are my two guesses?

  1. Was Ancient China so lawless and unruly that you needed to shield yourself, even when just sauntering?

  2. Did Ancient China rain as China does now, so that you always needed a parasol? In Cantonese, 遮 means parasol. As of today, Three Gorges Dam purportedly is overflowing.

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    IMO it's not hard to make a connection between walking and "obstructing" (literally getting in the way of somebody else, thus preventing them from walking), which is one of the meanings of 遮. – 范阮煌 Sep 5 at 17:34
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    The connection between "cover, shield" and "umbrella, parasol" is also a trivial one, because umbrellas shield you from the rain. In fact, "para" in "parasol" or "parapluie" means "protecting against". It is not hard to make these connections without resorting to absurd and potentially offensive explanations. – 范阮煌 Sep 5 at 17:46
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One of the meanings of 遮 is "obstructing" - getting in the way of somebody else, thus preventing them from walking. That might be the reason why 辶 (walking) was chosen as the semantic component.

As for the usage of 遮 in Cantonese: It is easy to make a connection between "cover, shield" and "umbrella, parasol" because umbrellas/parasols are used too shield oneself from the rain or sun. In fact, "para" in "parasol" or "parapluie" (French for umbrella) means "protecting against".

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