Is weeping the underlying semantic notion? Doubtless weeping involves water (tears), and usually follows gloom. Unusually CUHK blazons no etymology. Yellowbridge.

enter image description here

  • I've dug around a little bit and I'm led to believe it's a phonetic loan 假借字, but I'm not sure. I'll post more if I can find some confirmation.
    – blackgreen
    Sep 14, 2020 at 22:54

2 Answers 2


汉字源流字典 (first picture) says its original meaning was muddy wetland.

王力古漢語字典 (second picture) also lists this meaning (but does not explicitly say whether it's the original meaning). There is also an example sentence where both 阻 and 沮 are used: 不知山林险阻沮泽之形也,不能行军。My understanding is that 阻 and 沮 are very similar but not exactly the same, with 沮 being water-related obstacles (swamps) and 阻 being mountain-related obstacles (the radical 阝 is usually related to hill or mountain).




Because it has no etymology, 沮 used to be exclusively use as name of a river.

But because ancient Chinese use to interchange characters(phonetic loan as said by @blackgreen), it was used to write 阻, which means to prevent

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.