CUHK doesn't appear to expound the semantic shift from wading in water to under water.


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Axel Schuessler, ABC Etymological Dictionary of Old Chinese (2007), p 425. But this redirects you to p 303.

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I don[t understand the red underline, which can't refer to dead humans, because dead humans who "lie at bottom of water", aren't normally construed to "be soaked (in pleasure)"...unless you're a sadist! Living humans can't lie at the bottom of water. When humans soak themselves in pleasure, they're usually floating or standing in water.

  • Axel Schuessler, ABC Etymological Dictionary? Translation is always difficult in not losing the original meanings. You should check a reputable Chinese dictionary instead.
    – r13
    Oct 9, 2021 at 1:34

1 Answer 1


My dictionary simply says 潛 - to submerge.

From "萌典"

  1. 入水,在水面下活動。如:「潛水」、「鳥飛魚潛」。
  • 《左傳·哀公十七年》:「越子以三軍潛涉,當吳中軍而鼓之。」
  1. 深藏、隱藏。如:「潛藏」、「潛伏」。
  • 唐·杜甫〈奉贈韋左丞丈二十二韻〉:「殘杯與冷炙,到處潛悲辛。」

  • 宋·范仲淹〈岳陽樓記〉:「日星隱曜,山岳潛形。」

As I addressed in my comment, the translation you have cited wasn't too good.

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