I think these senses are polysemes, not homonyms, because Wiktionary alleges a relationship between definitions 1 and 2 below. Please expatiate it? What semantic notions underlie kernels and investigate?

Sino-Tibetan: "kernel" > "to investigate"

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Oxford Chinese Dictionary (2010) p 294.


核 (seed) is hidden in the deepest part of the fruit, to expose the seed you must open (剖) the fruit. That's how 剖析 (to deeply analyze) is coined. e.g. 考核 (to assess)

Similarly, to investigate or examine someone, you must open it up to its core (核 implies 'to the deepest part')

  • I think I wrote this before, but wow! You're STELLAR at etymology! Do you have a PhD in linguistics or Chinese??!??!
    – NNOX Apps
    Aug 20 '21 at 3:41

The original character is 覈. Because it's kind of complicated, a simpler character 核 is picked to replace it.

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