Had a look around in my dictionaries wondering if anyone has any input as to why a 秋千 is 秋+千, what's the significance?

  • Here's a Chinese reference: “秋千”为何为“秋千”?
    – user4072
    Commented Mar 18, 2014 at 6:20
  • 秋千 is a loan word.
    – Ma Ming
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 14:17
  • @MaMing would you care to elaborate on that at all...?
    – Mou某
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 14:37
  • 1
    It is generally thought that 鞦韆/秋千 was learned from Shanrong/山戎 during the age of Duke Huan of Qi. So the name should be loanword since it does not make sense in Chinese.
    – Ma Ming
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 14:45
  • 鞦韆 is a 連綿詞 like 吩咐 or 尷尬. The accepted answer is probably wrong; there's no need to invent new characters if it could be simply written 揪遷. Some 連綿詞 like 葡萄 and 榴蓮 are loanwords, but to prove it we need to find the original cognate. Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 9:07

1 Answer 1


“秋千” in the acient times of China was written as "鞦韆"。——at that times, in order to pick up fruits from the high trees or patch up something higher, the old Chinese people usually binded themselves with ropes from animals'skins and it made themselves wave from one place to another. And now we use a common rope instead of skins, so “革” is removed.

For more please refer the Chinese version:荡秋千的来历

  • 2
    Not "革+千" but 鞦韆.
    – Stan
    Commented Mar 18, 2014 at 6:23
  • In the process of simplifying Chinese characters, there are some words that simplified wholely, each character cannot be considered as the simplified version of the corresponding origin character in this case. For example, the word 衚衕 is simplified to 胡同, 鞦韆 is simplified to 秋千, but the characters 胡 is not the simplified characters of 衚, the characters 鞦 is not the simplified characters of 秋, etc.
    – xenophōn
    Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 11:04

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