2

I can understand the link between 閒 and 間/间, being the empty spaces where moonlight or sunlight can shine through the doors --> empty space. But how did this 閒 also end up becoming similar to 閑/闲? And how does a "moon behind the door" or "tree behind the door" correlate with the meaning of "free time"?

1
2

Outlier

PY xián (or jiān, jiàn)

FORM
閒 originally depicted a door (門), such that the moon (月) could be seen through a crack in the door, indicating the original meaning “crack, split.”

COMPONENTS

In 閒, 門 “a double-sided door; door, gate; opening” is a form component, pointing to the original meaning “crack, split.”


In 閒, 月 “the moon” is a form component.

MEANINGS
xián
1 (orig.) crack, split
2 ○ leisure, free time

jiān
1 → room, space (same as 間)
2 ⇒ duration of time

jiàn
1 → space in between (same as 間)
2 ⇒ separate

The reference they give:

p. 837
季旭昇,2004《說文新證》,台北:藝文印書館印行,2014年9月第二版。

It looks like the entry in Xinzheng actually begins on page 836. Here is the combined original

enter image description here enter image description here

The idea of free time is another phonetic loan again. Seems a bit climatic, I know.


Here is p. 1043《字源》talking about 閑

enter image description here

The last sentence is quite interesting.

如今“閒”废止不用,“閒”的空间义由“间”表示,閒的空暇义由“闲”表示。

  • 閑 was originally a character that meant, "fencing around a door."
  • 閒 was orignally a character that meant, "crack/split."
  • 閑 was borrowed for it's sound to indicate, "free time."
  • 間 has derivative meanings of "room/space" from the idea of "crack/split."
2
  • I guess the real question is: if they were both "hean" in MC when did 閑 split to ---> x- and when did 閒 split to ----> j-?
    – Mou某
    Dec 18 '20 at 9:57
  • I'm not sure that's the right question. 閒 was never pronounced jiān, crack (閒, Baxter–Sagart OC: /*N-kˤre[n]/) was always cognate to space (間, /*kˤre[n]/). In MC, 閒 merged with 閑 in pronunciation.
    – dROOOze
    Dec 18 '20 at 10:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.