Questions tagged [etymology]

Questions about the origin and history of Chinese words. Use [glyph-origin] for the origin of characters.

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Retention of 其 as a modal particle in modern Chinese

There is a recent Chinese Stack Exchange question on the significance of 其 in 尤其, given the meaning of the word is largely contributed by 尤. I am quite confident that some of the answers in the thread ...
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Which came first? Chinese 蘑菇 or Mongolian мөөг?

Wiktionary isn't certain whether the Chinese 蘑菇 (mógū) is a loanword from Mongolian мөөг (möög) or vice-versa. Both mean "mushroom" and are pronounced very similarly so there's clearly some ...
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What semantic field underlies 尚?

ABC Chinese–English Comprehensive Dictionary (2003), p 799. I can't access the "slightly revised through July 2005" ed. CUHK doesn't expound what semantic notions underlie all 4 definitions,...
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What semantic field underlies 治?

p 1263, ABC Chinese–English Comprehensive Dictionary (2003). I can't access the "slightly revised through July 2005" ed. CUHK doesn't expound what semantic notions underlie all 7 ...
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Chinese character etymology

Can you recommend books that offer a holistic approach to character learning and which are Firmly grounded in etymological research? My level is HSK4 (old version) and I want to learn characters using ...
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1answer
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How does 翻's 2021 meanings appertain to 羽?

I don't understand how 羽 (wings) relate to the 8 definitions of 翻 below. What's the semantic field of 翻? How does 羽 (wings) relate to 翻's semantic field? Above is Yellowbridge. Below is Oxford ...
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1answer
71 views

How does 雅's 2021 meanings appertain to 隹?

I don't understand how 隹 relates to definitions A-C below. Definition A.1. Are short-tailed birds standard in China? I'm no ornithologist. Definition A.2. Again, I don't deal with birds. I'm ...
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1answer
65 views

How does 添's 2021 meanings appertain to its semantic component 水?

This feels like the opposite of 减/減 (Reduce/Subtract/Decrease/Diminish): What's it got to do with water?. I read 演 = 氵+ 寅 but what's it got to do with water!? How did it get its modern ...
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Why does 項 signify both 'item' and 'neck'?

I hope it's obvious why, but I don't think of "necks" as items. I can't imagine "neck" as as part of a "list, collection or set." Why? Because I'm not trying to separate ...
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4answers
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What does 「產」 in 「資產」 actually mean?

This question stems from some thoughts I've been having while reading Robert Kiyosaki's "Rich Dad Poor Dad". In the book, Kiyosaki defines "asset" as something that puts money in ...
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What semantic notions underlie 扌(left radical for hand) with 擾 (to disturb)?

CUHK doesn't expound the semantic shift. Synopsis  : 金文從「卤」從「頁」。「卤」是「卣」字的形訛,「卣」是古代裝水、酒的青銅器,象人雙手捧「卣」之形。「卣」亦是聲符。「卣」、「擾」、「柔」古音相近,同屬幽部。從「卤」從「頁」之字形,孫詒讓認為是「擾」的異文。 Elaboration: 金文通讀作「柔」,表示安撫,番生簋:「擾遠能𤞷(邇)」。《...
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How did 靦腆 compound to mean shy, bashful?

Neither of 靦腆's components semantically appertains to bashfulness. p 924, ABC Chinese–English Comprehensive Dictionary (2003). I can't access the "slightly revised through July 2005" ed. ...
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99 views

For 實, what semantic notions underlie wealth and fullness of heart, with trueness?

I can't read Chinese, but if Google Translate is correct, CUHK blazons 2 etymologies for 實: Synopsis : 金文「實」字會屋內充滿貝、玉等寶物之意,本義是富實、富足。 [1.] Elaboration: 西周散氏盤銘文「實」字從「宀」從「周」從「貝」,「周」為「琱」的象形,指琱琢之玉,...
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143 views

What's the etymology of 巴士海峽?

The wikipedia article on the strait in English (the Bashi Strait) doesn't say.