Questions tagged [glyph-origin]

Questions about the graphical origin and evolution of characters.

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1answer
95 views

Was the character 蹦 (in 蹦极 “bungee jumping”) designed to look like people bungee jumping?

I find myself fascinated by the character 蹦 in the word 蹦极 (meaning "bungee jumping"). It combines: the radical 足 (meaning "foot"), in the character 跳 meaning "jump"; the radical 山 meaning "...
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2answers
115 views

What is the glyph origin of 克?

I've looked around and one place says it's from the skin of an animal, another one says it's an axe striking a beast and another one says it's a battle helmet with an animal skin. So what's the story ...
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1answer
181 views

Etymology of glyph 袭 = dragon + clothes?

I am new here, recently discovered this site to learn more about glyph origins of certain characters. I often see this character 袭 when related to terrorist attacks in the news. 袭 means raid or ...
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1answer
279 views

Meaning of the elements of 爵 (baron)

The 4 elements of this character are well known (claw/plectrum; net; north-east; short measurement), but I cannot see any connection between them that might result in the concept of 'baron'. Can ...
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1answer
117 views

Handwritten shape of 「舟」 when it appears like 「月」 and the component form of 「肉」

The shape of 「肉」 in its component form is differentiated from 「月」 in Taiwan and sometimes in Hong Kong's table of standard character forms, but appear the same in other regions' standards and in ...
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3answers
182 views

兹 as a phonetic component

Wiktionary explains the two glyph origins of 「兹」 as the following: Unorthodox variant simplified from 茲 with 䒑 as the top component instead of 艹 found in the Ming dynasty orthographic dictionary ...
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1answer
219 views

Glyph origins of '進'

Motivation While writing my recent meta question, I've cited Dr. Gavin Chiu (趙善軒)'s article to explain the character '進' and its simplified character '井'. However, a user points out that the linked ...
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1answer
265 views

How does 巨 resemble a hand (彐) holding a carpenter's square (工)?

Left screenshot is from Yellowbridge; right from Richard Sears (Uncle Hanzi). I circled in green the lone pictogram that most obviously pictures a hand holding a carpenter's square. For ...
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1answer
123 views

Etymologies and relationship between the characters 錘, 槌, 鎚, and 椎

Wiktionary lists 錘, 槌, 鎚, and 椎 to all have the meaning of "hammer", but I'm not sure if that was the original meaning for any of those characters, and they all (or at least some) appear to have ...
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1answer
439 views

What 蛋 is referring to in “完蛋了”

完蛋了 means: Done for; ruined; finished; goose is cooked. It is the Mandarin counterpart of a Cantonese term "玩完" (game over) I am curious about what 蛋 is referring to. Without any reference, I can ...
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2answers
180 views

Glyph origins of the character 拜

I've seen somewhere that it was two hands together greeting someone. It makes some sense since the left part does look like 手, but the right part doesn't, and I don't remember any other characters ...
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1answer
549 views

乘 vs 承 - are they related?

Just learnt a few verbs which use 乘 and 承 and was thinking that, not only do they look and sound mighty similar, but their ultimate meanings are both related to 'transfering' something. 乘 with ...
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1answer
216 views

Any ideas on the origin of the 绍 character?

Any ideas on the origin of the 绍 character? Studying for finals and I need a coherent way to associate the silk, knife, and mouth radicals. In the phrase 介绍.
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2answers
192 views

How does 土口 match 'a person wearing a pendant'?

Please see the green arrow beneath. I can't copy and paste from Yellowbridge for 袁:
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2answers
175 views

What is the relation between 寨 (zhài, “stockade, stronghold, fort”) and 塞 (sài, “place of strategic importance; pass; fortress”)?

Most dictionaries say 寨 = 塞 + 木, but on its face, we could just as easily have 塞 = 寨 + 土.
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2answers
253 views

What's this character that looks like 七 with a ~ in the middle? And what's its history?

Having a hard time figuring out what this guy is: The equivalent Wikisource page for the material I'm working with says that it is: 甚 Perhaps it is Which zisea says it is: 同【甚】字。 If it is 七 +...
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1answer
72 views

Determining what the meaning of part of a character '益' is

I can see that it have an equal number of strokes above and below the yi stroke not part of the blood radical. I am not sure of what this character is..I mean..I know 高兴, that is the closest that I ...
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2answers
192 views

What is the difference between 嫐 and 嬲?

According to mdbg.net, both characters have a meaning of "to tease": 嬲 to tease / to disturb 嫐 to tease / to play around with Are both of them primarily used as synonyms for "tease"? Or are they ...
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1answer
157 views

The glyph origins of 半

Pursuant to the question below about 伴: What intrigues me is what 8 八 and a cow 牛(or 2 cows) have to do with this? chineseetymology.org says for 半: 'Augmented pictograph 半. Augmentation 八 (...
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1answer
119 views

Why is 伴 used for buddy?

Is it true that 伴 comes from the word, 半(half) and thus can be interpreted as (significant other person)?
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2answers
151 views

How does 馬 resemble a horse?

Please see my 3 questions inscribed in the screenshot from Wiktionary:
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2answers
531 views

Why does 写 not have a dot on top?

Many hanzi have a roof on top, including a dot. From the HSK2 list, we have: 客 家 字 完 室 安 它 The commonly used hanzi 写 is unlike these because it does not have a dot on top. Chinese-tools.com ...
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113 views

Glyph origins and meaning of 敢

What is the meaning and etymology of the LEFT component of this character: 敢 ? I have already checked Wiltionary and Chinese Text Project. Thank you for the help.
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3answers
145 views

How did 革 get the meaning “change” 變革?

I wondered how a character originally representing animal skin could appear in words such as 沿革、革命、變革. Ripping off the skin from an animal, thereby "removing the old and getting the new" seems a ...
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2answers
81 views

Radical choice for 安全

A simple question, why does the lower half of 安全 (safe), have the female character: 女 ? Is it implying that safety pertains only to females being secure? Or is there no such implication? I'd like to ...
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3answers
209 views

Radicals vs glyph origins (specifically for character 肚 in 肚 子)

I am trying to learn some vocabulary and am looking at the radicals to help me remember. The problem is, the radicals in some characters don't seem to make sense to me at all. In 肚, the two radicals ...
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1answer
115 views

Difference between 傍晚 and 晚上 and their etymology

As in the title. Are there any cases when these two are interchangeable? If yes, when? What are the nuances that distinguish them? It would be great if one can tackle the etymology of the two.
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253 views

What's the etymology and significance of yuenyeung (鴛鴦)?

鴛鴦 is a mix of tea and coffee commonly had in Hong Kong (amongst other south-asian countries). I was wondering about how this drink came into being? Where does the title come from (especially the ...
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2answers
112 views

Was 我 pronounced 'è' at some time in the past? [duplicate]

If I look up 饿 in http://zhongwen.com/ I find 饿 = 食 + 我。 Further it says, '我 is phonetic'. Does this mean that at some time in the past, 我 was pronounced 'è'? Taken literally, 饿 should then be ...
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2answers
260 views

What's the glyph origin of 妖?

What's the glyph origin of 妖? Why does it have a woman radical? Why is woman used in a word that means weird or supernatural? Is there a website to look up the evolution of characters?
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1answer
131 views

Which is the correct glyph origin of 入

I find 2 very different glyph origins for 入 It shows the roots of a plant entering the ground. It is a picture of an open tent or tent door. Which is correct?
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3answers
144 views

Does 来 show fruit on a tree or ripening corn?

I find two different explanations for 来, 1. it is a picture of fruit on a tree. 2. It represents ripening corn. Either way It is a neat symbol for what is coming. Which do you think is correct?
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4answers
515 views

认识 vs 知道 based on glyph origins

I'm trying to understand what 识 means and why 认识 is different from 知道. As far as I was able to gather the information on 戠 is a depiction of an armed group of people which, while in battle, should be ...
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814 views

Examples of “bad” simplified characters/简体字?

In particular, there should be many examples of 形声字 ("phono-semantic compound characters") which were "damaged" by simplification. I am interested especially in characters where a 声旁 ("phonetic") or ...
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3answers
417 views

In ancient China, was there an equivalent of pinyin?

The question is the title. Considering pinyin is in romanised form, did the ancient Chinese have pinyin to help them learn characters, or did they just have to repeat them hundreds of times to help ...
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7answers
4k views

Where to look for history and etymology of Chinese characters? For example 工

Is there a website where I can look for history and etymology of Chinese characters? For example 工. It can be a Chinese website (I am VERY new to Chinese). But better in English. Please also drop ...
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2answers
211 views

What is the origin of the character “糬” seeminly only used in “麻糬” to translate a Japanese word which doesn't use either character?

I was just given some mochi by a Taiwanese host in Kaohsiung. So I decided to look up the local word and found "麻糬" máshǔ. It's a transliteration of Japanese "mochi", which is written 餅 in that ...
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2answers
339 views

What is the purpose of the 賣 (卖) component in the character 讀 (读)?

Most sources I can find say that 讀 (读) is a phonosemantic compound (形聲), where 言 is the semantic component and 賣 is the phonetic component. However, the pronunciation of 賣 (mài) does not resemble 讀 (...
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371 views

Should 屋 and 居 use radical 户 instead of 尸?

户 means home. So these examples are not suprising: 房 fáng (house), 扁 biǎn (flat), 扇 shàn (fan [mostly used indoor]), 扉 fēi (door) 尸 means corpse, and it looks like it refers to tail or something ...
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4answers
2k views

Why do some Chinese characters for animals not use the radical 犭?

why some Chinese words don't use the rule of prefix?
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639 views

A unified theory of 就 meaning

就 always bothered me. I couldn't (and maybe still can't) get a hold of its meaning. By looking at many examples of the usage I came to realization that 就 marks a process of becoming a subject to or ...
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2answers
92 views

Is there any compilation/resources/dictionaries on the transformations of how simplified characters came to be?

I had the same question as the OP of What is the story or reason of how 龙 came from 龍? and I like visuals given by Stan. The hardest part for me in Chinese is remembering the strokes of these ...
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3answers
441 views

What is the origin of the character 对/對?

I've been studying the etymology of characters lately, and I'm stuck trying to figure out how 对/對 is formed. It is apparently a compound of 丵 (zhuó; grass, bush) and 寸 (cùn; inch, thumb), plus an ...
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119 views

Connotations of different “to give”

Can natives and other knowledgeable people share their ideas on how to differentiate between many "to give" verbs? The list is not complete. Anyone is welcome to add their "gives" in it. 施 - Glyph ...
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210 views

Can anyone suggest glyph origin of 施?

Does anyone has a good model of the origin of 施? As far as I know the common ground in deciphering this character is: On the left - flag pole. On top - flag cloth. On the right-bottom - snake or, ...
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2answers
99 views

Glyph origin or any mnemonic for 況 and 状?

Does any one have good glyph origin theory about those HanZi? My take: 状 - fence + dog inside ~ then this mutated to a "situation or disposition" meaning. 状 - remnant of 壮 + dog = huge dog. how ...
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1answer
2k views

Is there any relation between the Cyrillic Ш (sha) and the Chinese 山 (shān)?

Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but the Cyrillic Ш/ш (sha) looks like the Chinese 山 (shān) and have similarity in pronunciation. Is there any actual relation between the two?
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201 views

How does '一勿' Compound to mean sundial?

Etymology [of 腸] Ideogrammic compound (會意): 日 ‎(“sun”) + 一 + 勿   The rays of the sun. [ From chineseetymology.org: ] Primitive pictograph 昜. From sun日 (rays) on a sun dial (一勿). Meaning ...
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1answer
149 views

What are the etymologies of 局 and 局面?

As far as I know 局 applies to everything which demands crooking ones body. A job behind a desk almost always means you are sitting with your back bent: A small office is 局, a chess game is 局, a game ...
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2answers
178 views

Enigma of 討厭. Why does it mean “to hate”?

As far as I know 寸 is a depiction of a finger pointing at a wrist where one’s pulse was taken. The distance between a hand and that point is small, so this portion signified a little… So IMHO ...