I am learning the word 独 dú alone.

Dog plus Insect become alone? Any ancient history or story behind this?

  • 3
    If you're planning to learn Chinese Characters through exploring character structure, Simplified Chinese is going to make life very difficult for you.
    – dROOOze
    Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 8:03
  • Added 〔獨〕. I think this is traditional character. Will this traditional character helps? Thanks for your replies
    – user27485
    Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 8:14

1 Answer 1


There is no 「虫」 (venomous snake; insect) in the character, that is an abbreviation used in Simplified Chinese. The orthodox character is 「獨」.

「獨」 is made up of semantic 「犬・犭」 (dog > beast) and phonetic 「蜀」 (Mandarin Pinyin: shǔ, Li Fang-Kuei OC: /*djuk/), originally representing the name of a mythical beast. From the Classic of Mountains and Seas: Classic of the Mountains: North:



...It is called the Mountain of 北嚻. This mountain is without boulders; its southern side is abundant with green jade, and its northern side is abundant with nephrite. There is a beast in this mountain, shaped like a tiger with a white body; it has the head of a dog, tail of a horse, and neck-bristles of a boar. Its name is 「獨𤞞」...


「獨𤞞」 were two characters created specifically to represent the name of this beast (Mandarin Pinyin: dú gǔ, Li Fang-Kuei OC: /*duk kuk/), which consists of two reduplicated syllables.

The meaning alone, solitary for the character 「獨」 is a rebus borrowing for this word; there were other borrowed characters for this word in the pre-Qín era, most prominently

  • 「蜀」 itself;
  • 「鹿」


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