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Cambridge translates 'even' as 即使, as can be substantiated on ZDIC.net. But what semantic notions underlie 即, 使 with "even"?

ABC Chinese–English Comprehensive Dictionary (2003). I can't access the "slightly revised through July 2005" ed.

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  • 即 2 “assume" alone means "even if". 即使、即便、即或 means the same: "even if/though" – River yesterday
  • The basic meaning of 即 is instant(ly). It makes sense when combine with 使 as above: ask people to do it right now - implying "still not going to work". Hence "even" or "even though" is it's function. in 即便 即或: 即 also means "on the spot". Use the convenience/alternate on the spot" -> you still will fail. – James Liu 刘老师 yesterday
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  • = assume

  • 使 = make it

  • 即使 = assumedly make it (literal meaning)

  • [即使 ... 也] = [assumedly make it .... still ]

Apply the logic in the following sentence:

  1. 有錢不賣 = have money, not sell

  2. 有錢(也)不賣 = have money (still) not sell -- 也 is implied

  3. (即使)有錢也不賣 - (assumedly make it that) you have money, I still won't sell -- 即使 is implied

  4. 即使有錢不賣 = even you have money. I still won't sell it to you

"即使" literally means "supposedly make it". The practical meaning of 即使 (even), is extended from the [即使... 也] structure

Similarly:

就算 = just count as (literal meaning) --> 就算有錢也不賣 (just count it as you have money, I still won't sell it to you) = (even you have money, I still won't sell it to you)

縱使 = allow to make it (literal meaning) --> 縱使有錢也不賣 (allow to make it that you have money, I still won't sell it to you) = (even you have money, I still won't sell it to you)

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