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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What exactly does 几 mean in 凱? Which 几?

CUHK vouches that 凱 hails from 從「几」,「豈」聲,表示軍隊得勝所奏的樂曲。《陳書‧晉熙王叔文傳》:「(叔文)隨晉王、秦王等獻凱而入,列於廟廷。」 But Wiktionary lists 5 different meanings for 几, the semantic component! Collins lists 2. And none of them ...
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What is the glyph origin of 槑?

槑 is a variant character of 梅 comprised of two 呆. Both are pronounced "méi", and mean "plum blossom" (Prunus mume). But what would the glyph origin be like? 呆, pronounced "dāi&...
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What is the normal process through which 多音字 develop?

Do 多音字 usually develop as separate words that just happen to be written in the same way? Or do they usually arise as one word that diverges into different pronunciations for its different senses? This ...
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3 answers
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Why is there a 女字旁 in the character 始?

Is it because we all begin life via a female ? My Pleco dictionary doesn't give any other meaning for 始 other than to begin.
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how hé is phonetic component for jiē?

I am going through 揭 “揭 jiē is composed of 曷 hé and 扌 “a hand; actions done with the hands,” pointing to the original meaning “to raise, hold s.t. up high.” 曷 gives the sound.” how hé is phonetic ...
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Why do 蓝 and 篮 look so similar?

Is there a reason why 蓝 (as in 蓝色 = blue) and 篮 (as in 篮球 = basketball) look so similar, or is it just a coincidence?
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-2 votes
1 answer
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How did 徹 originally signify a hand breaking a pot?

Is Wiktionary, which can be wrong, correct? 彳 + 育 + 攵 (“hand”) – originally a hand breaking a pot. If it is, 攵 = hand, correct? But which Glyph (Is this the correct term? Or is this Morph? Morpheme?...
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1 answer
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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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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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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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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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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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2 answers
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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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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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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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-1 votes
2 answers
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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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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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4 votes
1 answer
399 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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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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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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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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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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2 votes
2 answers
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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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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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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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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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1 vote
2 answers
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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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1 answer
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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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3 answers
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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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1 answer
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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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3 votes
2 answers
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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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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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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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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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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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1 vote
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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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2 votes
1 answer
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Etymology of 此 cǐ this, these?

What is the etymology of cǐ ? How this character means those, these?
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2 answers
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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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2 votes
1 answer
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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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  • 880
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1 answer
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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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3 votes
1 answer
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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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2 answers
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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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1 vote
3 answers
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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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4 votes
1 answer
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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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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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6 votes
2 answers
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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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6 votes
1 answer
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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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5 votes
1 answer
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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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2 votes
1 answer
193 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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