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The three phrases are similar in meaning, but it looks like people prefer 收官 to the other two. Does it mean that 官(official) is higher in social ladder than 兵(troop) and 工 (workman)?

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  • ”收官“ is originated from Go (围棋), where it serves as the last part of a Go game. ”官“ means "public" in the origin terminology. In this part, two players divided parts of small "public territory" left.
    – Tec99
    Commented Jan 2 at 11:49

2 Answers 2

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收工 is roughly "to end the work for the day". It usually does not mean the end of a project--people may continue the work tomorrow.

收官 is the end of a large or exciting event, as in 收官之战 (the final tough part), 完美收官 (perfect conclusion).

收兵 is to retreat an army. (It also means to hire an army, but that sense is irrelevant here.) It often means to terminate a conflict. It occasionally means "to finish work", but this occurs often in the negative idiom "草率收兵".

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Does it mean that 官(official) is higher in social ladder than 兵(troop) and 工 (workman)

  • 官 in 收官 has nothing to do with official. 收官 is a Go game terminology, also called 官子. It is the last stage among the three stages (layout, middle game, end game) in the Go game.

  • 工 in 收工 doesn't refer to the worker, it refers to 'work'. 收工 means "end work" either for the day (放工) or for the entire project (完工). It is the opposite of 開工 (start work)

  • 收兵 means "withdraw an army" similar to 退兵 (retreat an army)

All the terms above can be used literally within the context (Go game, work, and military) or figuratively in other contexts

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