What is the etymology of 策 and 朿 ?
As per dictionary the meanings are as below:
朿 cì stab
策 cè policy, plan, scheme, bamboo slip for writing(old), to whip (a horse), to encourage, upward horizontal stroke in calligraphy
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Its variant character 刺 is more widely used in modern Chinese.
More ancient usages of inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells of the Shang Dynasty of 朿 is "to stab (ritual animal sacrifices) to death" as in 「朿豕」、「朿羊」、「朿魚」etc, according to 甲骨文合集.
策 means “horse whips” in ancient times, which was usually made of bamboos, some of which have thorns at the front end.
Another hypothesis is 策 evolves from the riding command 敕 which meant to drive the horse. 说文解字: 以策擊馬曰敇。
Here are the etymologies for both characters:
策 cè is composed of 朿 cì and 𥫗 “bamboo,” which points to the original meaning “a bamboo horsewhip.” 朿 gives the sound.
In 策, 𥫗 “bamboo” is a meaning component, pointing to the original meaning “a bamboo horse-whip.”
In 策 cè, 朿 cì is a sound component.
1 (orig.) bamboo horsewhip
2 → to whip
3 ⇒ to encourage
4 → walking stick
5 ⇒ to support
6 → bamboo book
7 ⇒ plan
1 (orig.) a three-pointed spear
2 → sharp; pointy