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My Chinese is rudimentary, but CUHK doesn't appear to expatiate this semantic shift.

  「陣」也用作量詞,表示事物經過的時間段。前蜀毛文錫詞〈醉花間〉:「昨夜雨霏霏,臨明寒一陣。偏憶戍樓人,久絕邊庭信。」宋張輯詞《點絳唇‧南浦月》:「來剪蓴絲,江頭一陣鳴蓑雨。孤篷歸路,吹得蘋風暮。」

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Oxford Chinese Dictionary (2010) p 957.

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「陣 」can be thought of as "a certain amount"

一陣風
a breeze

一陣輕煙
some light smoke or mist

他們胡鬧了一陣,就離去了
a certain amount of time

一陣間 (in Cantonese)
a short moment

but I think you can say, to a general in a battle, a certain amount of troop, or to him, it is like a flow of battle force (going from right to left, north to south, etc).

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  • I don't grasp your answer. Can you pls expatiate? What do you mean by "I think you can say, to a general in a battle, a certain amount of troop"? How's this related to 'short moment of time'?
    – Coosf
    Sep 29 at 8:02
  • like, a short burst of time, a burst of wind, vs a burst of battle force Sep 29 at 8:18

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