一网打尽 yīwǎngdǎjìn lit. to catch everything in the one net.
In this sentence what does 尽 means? how to easily remember the meaning by seeing the character without wild guess and imagining etymological correct guess? Thanks
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When you see
V+盡, it means to complete the action to full extent. (i.e.
盡 is adverbial)
吃盡珍饈百味To have eaten all kinds of delicacies
費盡心思To rack one's brains (lit. to have spent thoughts completely)
把賊人一網打盡To have caught the thieves at one fell swoop
The objects are
In classical Chinese,
盡 can act as a verb meaning 'to deplete' or 'to be depleted'. You may find this in modern Chinese through idioms or common collocations (in that case, it would be
一飲而盡To drain the cup
盡心盡力To devote one's heart and energy
As an adverb, it is sometimes possible to see
盡+V (its preceding the verb) because classical Chinese does not make the distinction between
盡如人意To have something entirely as someone wishes
盡信書不如無書(lit. Believing everything in books is worse than having no books at all.)
盡 depicts a right hand brushing an emptied vessel (
皿) (see bronze script below), which symbolises the end of eating (of course there is semantic generalisation).
尽 (the simplified character) is the cursive script of
盡 in printed form (see Wen Zhengming's cursive below, and appreciate how the cursive resembles both
尽 at the same time). We call this phenomenon 草書楷化. It is one of the methods of character simplification (see the second entry of the Wikipedia section here).
1 蔣紹愚（2004）從“盡 V——V 盡”和“誤 V/錯 V——V 錯” 看述補結構的形成。語言暨語言學，5(3)，559–581。http://www.ling.sinica.edu.tw/Files/LL/Docments/Journals/j2004_3_02_0638.pdf