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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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  • It's like the "all" in "one call does it all." – joehua Apr 13 at 4:21
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    The original meaning of 尽(盡) is the end, like 尽头: the end; 无尽: endless. The extended meaning is completely. – xenophōn Apr 13 at 8:34
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Usage

  1. When you see V+盡, it means to complete the action to full extent. (i.e. 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 珍饈百味, 心思, and 賊人 (fronted).

  2. In classical Chinese, 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 盡+N):

    • 一飲而盡 To drain the cup
    • 盡心盡力 To devote one's heart and energy
  3. As an adverb, it is sometimes possible to see 盡+V (its preceding the verb) because classical Chinese does not make the distinction between V+盡 and 盡+V.1

    • 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.)

Glyph origin

  1. depicts a right hand brushing an emptied vessel () (see bronze script below), which symbolises the end of eating (of course there is semantic generalisation).

  2. (the simplified character) is the cursive script of in printed form (see Wen Zhengming's cursive below, and appreciate how the cursive resembles both and 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).

    Character
    jin_bronze
    jin_cursive

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

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    Parker thanks for the detailed explanation with precise details. if 尽 comes after the verb, it means that the verb action is completed. Generally I remember dictionary entries like“尽 jìn use up, to exhaust, deplete”. Does any change required the way how i remember this word? my SRS entry will show V + 尽 is the corresponding action is completed? or my dictionary entry? in this particular example? – user27485 Apr 13 at 4:07
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    They are all very similar. Perhaps pay attention to its part of speech - is it a noun as in 盡頭? A verb as in 盡力? An adverb as in 趕盡殺絕? Then you'll understand 盡 better. – L Parker Apr 13 at 4:33
  • Also note that simplified script merges both 儘(jin3) and 盡(jin4) into 尽. – madprogramer Apr 13 at 9:56
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'尽' means completely, 一网打尽 means to catch the whole lot in an action, ‘尽’ emphasis there is nothing left after that action. (wish my English won't confuse you)

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    as “vessel emptied” is the original meaning, nothing left or no action left is the suitable one as well thanks. ;;;;as the time goes and people might use language to suit to their surrounding conditions and the way other people pronounce it and how they understand and how they use to express gradually changes over time and that is common to any language. ;;;; thanks – user27485 Apr 14 at 9:06

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