Questions tagged [glyph-origin]

Questions about the graphical origin and evolution of characters. Use [etymology] for the origin and history of Chinese words.

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1answer
92 views

Why's 辶 (“move”) the semantic component of 遺 and 述?

How do 遺's and 述's meanings appertain to its semantic component 辶? Oxford Chinese Dictionary (2010) p 689. Op. cit. p 885.
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179 views

Is this really the bloody origin of 我?

Is 我 really so grisly? A saw for cutting off heads? Baidu: 图(A)是甲骨文里的“我”字,像把有柄有钩的古代武器——大斧,斧口有一排锋利的锯齿。这是奴隶社会里一种用来行刑杀人和肢解牲口的凶器,叫作wǒ,古代也有人把这种锯斧叫作“锜”。 图(A)是甲骨文里的“我”字, Picture (A) is the character found in ...
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Meaning of early written versions of 地 and etymology?

The glyph origin section of https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E5%9C%B0 shows characters that look nothing like the modern "地" (with the exception of the "Small Seal Script" in "...
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1answer
401 views

How did 來 ("wheat") compound with 𠂇 ("left hand") to mean 差?

If I translated CUHK correctly, it moots the concept of hulling wheat by rubbing grains inside hands, just as Wiktionary does. But this doesn't answer my question? How do 來 and 𠂇 semantically ...
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1answer
75 views

Does this character 𡵂 have a meaning or pronunciation?

I'm trying to find the meaning of 𡵂 which appears as component of characters in several languages. Here there is a reference to it, but it gives no meaning or pronunciation. 𡵂 Does this character 𡵂...
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1answer
123 views

Why's 羊 (sheep) the semantic component of 羨 (to envy, admire)?

CUHK doesn't expound why sheep are admired or coveted? Below is Yellowbridge.
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96 views

Does this character 𤰔 have a meaning or pronunciation?

I was looking for the meaning of 𤰔 which appears as component of characters in several languages, and I couldnt find any. Having the meaning or pronunciation of a component it makes easier to ...
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2answers
496 views

Does this character 𡗗 have a meaning?

I was looking for the meaning of 𡗗 which appears as component of characters in several languages, and I couldnt find any. Having the meaning of a component it makes easier to memorize characters that ...
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2answers
446 views

Interpretation of 冂 in 大盂鼎

I was recently looking into the origins of the character「冖」, which《說文新證》states does not appear on its own in the texts excavated so far: 現有考古文字材料未見獨體的冂(偏旁或作冖)字,... However, searching「冖」on 小學堂 gives ...
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Why's 魚 (fish) the semantic component of 鰒 (abalone)?

If I had to guess the Semantic Component for abalone, I would've guessed 虫. Why? Because abalones look more like insects, don't look like fish. Taxonomically they belong to the Subclass ...
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217 views

Why's 馬 (horses) the semantic component of 騙 (to fool, to defraud)?

I don't understand how horses (馬) appertain to deceiving and swindling (騙). I'm uneducated on horses. Is there evidence that horses swindle humans or other horses? And I don't understand how the ...
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1answer
258 views

What's the difference between etymology and glyph origin?

Askers, including me, often seem to confuse the two terms, and understanding the distinction between the two is so critical to advanced study of Chinese characters and words. The question can probably ...
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3answers
2k views

Why does 負 also mean "minus" and "negative"?

The meaning of "negative" contradicts the "Formation Method" of "person carrying a lot of money" in Yellowbridge below. Unquestionably, if a person carries a lot of money,...
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1answer
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Etymology of 制 zhì = make, manufacture

What is the etymology of 制? how the meaning is evolved to Make, manufacture? Ox + hand kerchief + knife becomes Make or Manufacture?
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5answers
257 views

Any mnemonic for 摔 shuāi = fall & etymology for 率

The word 摔 means fall: 摔 shuāi to fall, tumble, lose one’s balance Generally the fall action comes with leg, although hand also related. any mnemonic or story to remember this? Gugg had given good ...
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1answer
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Glyph origin for 㐆 and Mnemonic for 殷

Came across through the word 殷勤. could you please help with Glyph origin for : 㐆yǐn to follow, to trust to, to put confidence in, to depend on, to turn around Any any mnemonic to remember this? 殷 yīn ...
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2answers
321 views

Understanding the glyph origin of 占

I have the following etymology from Outlier Dictionary of Chinese Characters: 占 depicts cracks (卜) in a turtle shell and a hole (口) drilled into the shell during the divination process. Its original ...
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1answer
72 views

Glyph origin or any mnemonic for 蕴?

I failed to remember the meaning for the word 蕴含 yùnhán. Is any mnemonic or story or etymological hints to remember 蕴?
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1answer
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Is there any mnemonic to remember 支 and 技?

I am using Flashcards to remember vocabulary, but could not remember the meanings for these 2 words. If you have any easy mnemonic, image or story, please advise. thanks 支 zhī disperse, pay, support,...
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3answers
109 views

不自量力 can this be used to under estimate one’s capabilities also?

I understand the meaning of 量 is measure, estimate. But how the capacity also was the meaning? any background, etymology? 量 liàng measure, estimate, capacity, quantity 不自量力 bùzìliànglì not have a ...
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2answers
399 views

In “一网打尽” what does 尽 mean?

一网打尽 yīwǎngdǎjìn lit. to catch everything in the one net. In this sentence what does 尽 means? how to easily remember the meaning by seeing the character without wild guess and imagining etymological ...
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1answer
76 views

etymology of 友, 犮

I am confused at these two characters some times. Could you please let me know etymology of these 2 characters? and advise any further analysis. Thanks 友 yǒu friend 犮 bá to pull up
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3answers
277 views

Radical 163 Vs 170

What are the differences between these two radicals? What is etymology? Both represent same character or different? ⻖yì mound, abundant R170 ⻏ fú city R163
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1answer
62 views

What is the meaning of 放 fàng in this idiom?

The meaning of 放 fàng from dictionary is “put, release”. “Put or place” is an entirely opposite word / antonym of “release, free, liberate” Then what does 放 mean in the following idiom: 放在心上 ...
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2answers
417 views

How does 稱's 2021 meanings appertain to its semantic component 禾?

CUHK doesn't expound the semantic shift from 禾. I underlined definition 4 below in green, because I know that rice and grains may need to be weighed. But I don't understand how definition 4 relates ...
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2answers
156 views

Any hypothesis to remember 刑?

Any easy way or background why Well + knife is Punishment? Knife is related punishment, but after killing with knife any history to through them in the well? wikitionary details about 刑: Originally ...
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2answers
121 views

Glyph origin of the character for frequency 频/頻 = steps + head?

What's the story behind this character 频? Neither of its components contribute phonetically to it, yet I can't seem to relate any of its components 步 steps and head/face 页 to its meaning of frequent/...
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2answers
521 views

Why west and wine vessel/10 th terrestrial branch are similar?

西 xī west 酉 yǒu a wine vessel, 10 th terrestrial branch Which word is first invented? Why these 2 are similar with a small line as an addition? Thanks
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2answers
226 views

what exact image is the basis for the 圭?

The Hanzi meaning for 圭 guī = (old) jade tablet (a ceremonial badge of rank) I checked the images, not sure based on what jade tablet 圭 is drawn, can any one point to the correct image? Thanks
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2answers
175 views

Etymology of 策, 朿

What is the etymology of 策 and 朿 ? As per dictionary the meanings are as below: 朿 cì stab 策 cè policy, plan, scheme, bamboo slip for writing(old), to whip (a horse), to encourage, upward horizontal ...
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1answer
158 views

Etymology of 此 cǐ this, these?

What is the etymology of cǐ ? How this character means those, these?
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2answers
192 views

What is the etymology of 斥

Learning the word 斥 chì to blame,to reprimand, to expel, (of territory) to expand. What is the etymology and how it is to blame?
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1answer
192 views

Glyph origin of 盗

What's the story behind this character 盗? None of the components seems to hint at the sound, or the meaning of 'pirate/steal/rob', unless water in the upper left part and is the bottom component a ...
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1answer
138 views

Why 独 〔獨〕 dú is alone?

I am learning the word 独 dú alone. Dog plus Insect become alone? Any ancient history or story behind this?
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1answer
167 views

Do 形声 words have an approximate or historical phonetic part?

There are many examples of 形声 compounds that have a phonetic component that does not match the pronunciation of the word. Some examples are the 鬼 in 愧, the 其 in 基, or the 白 in 泊. Are these ...
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2answers
642 views

What is this glyph image for 父 representing?

I am trying to visualise this image for 父. What exactly is this image ?
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382 views

Why 怕 is afraid or fear?

Learning this word 怕 which is heart and bright. It means bright and blemishless heart like Brave Heart. Why this is fear heart?
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1answer
202 views

Glyph origin of 录. Is the original form 禄, 録, or 剥?

Did 录 or 彔 look like some wooden object being carved? Was it originally a knife chipping something which became 録 as in recording events on a wooden object? It also seems to resemble a knife stripping ...
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1answer
194 views

Glyph origin of 邊/边

What's the story behind this character 邊? This seems to be another "phonetic-semantic" explanation on this character with 辵 as the semantic and 臱 as the phonetic. But what exactly is 臱? I ...
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2answers
1k views

Is there a reason why 午 and 年 look so similar?

These words don't have meanings that are similar, but why do they look nearly identical? Is it just a coincidence?
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1answer
1k views

Is there any sun 日 in 昌?

I've been seeing conflicting explanations for this character 昌. Some sources say it comprised of two suns 日, some sources say it comprises of sun and speak 日 meaning flourish, though I don't really ...
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1answer
451 views

How did 漢 come to represent the Han people and civilization?

It appears that this character consists of a meaning part and a sound part: a water radical (i.e. section header for water in Kangxi dictionary) for meaning, and the character 𦰩 for sound. Radical - ...
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1answer
178 views

How Did 是 Come to Mean "To Be"?

I have been looking into the etymology of the character 是. The site Chinese Etymology notes that this character was: "originally meaning straight or correct. The sun 旦 rises or 早 in the correct 正 ...
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4answers
213 views

Glyph origin of 款

Where does this character 款 come from? Its meanings (model/style or fee/payment) doesn't seem to have any link to the semantic part 欠, unless it specifically refers to owed money/payment? And what ...
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1answer
196 views

How did 閒 end up becoming 閑 and 間?

I can understand the link between 閒 and 間/间, being the empty spaces where moonlight or sunlight can shine through the doors --> empty space. But how did this 閒 also end up becoming similar to 閑/闲? ...
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1answer
146 views

𦰩 and 難 glyph origins. Did 难/難 used to be a bird?

Apologies if my question is too similar to the one in Why is the radical of 难 > 隹 and not 又? The link in there is broken unfortunately and I am unable to find the source. This character for ...
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2answers
223 views

Glyph origins of the character 微

How does this character meaning become "small/tiny"? So many sources tell me that it's semantic 彳 + "phonetic" 𢼸, but what exactly is 𢼸? I've never seen this character elsewhere ...
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2answers
912 views

What does rain 雨 have to do with mold 霉 and bad luck?

Almost all the other characters with the 雨 component have relation to rain, clouds, and weather. However, this character 霉 seems to be the exception. It means mold, but the rain semantic seems very ...
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3answers
366 views

校 - How did "leg-brace" come to mean "school"?

When learning Chinese characters using radicals, this character 校 always seem to puzzle me. I've always known 校 to be school, but the "wood" radical never made any sense to me. What does ...
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1answer
45 views

Isn't it ironic that 淡 uses 炎, duplication of 火, as its phonetic component?

Does the phonetic component for 淡 bemuse anyone else? Why not develop or embrace some other phonetic component that isn't semantically antonymous to 淡? Doubtless, water ( 氵) is 淡, but 火, let alone ...