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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6
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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 ...
5
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1answer
294 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
133 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
162 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 ...
3
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1answer
185 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
121 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 ...
2
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2answers
177 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 ...
3
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2answers
877 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
326 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
41 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 ...
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1answer
48 views

How does 舟 resemble a boat?

I don't wholly fathom this progression chart. I ticked, in green below, the only glyph that resembles anything like a boat, but that "Bronze Script" doesn't resemble 舟. Doubtless, boats ...
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1answer
91 views

Glyph origin of 「凉」 and its relation with 「涼」

「涼」 and 「凉」 are thought to have different origins, and are different characters altogether. From 《洪武正韻牋》: 本有凉涼二字,从冫者寒凉之凉,从氵涼德涼踽之涼。 Both these characters can be used for the meaning cold, but that ...
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2answers
217 views

How was 言 created by adding one mark to 舌?

To create 言 - Wiktionary, mustn't you add more than one mark to 舌? Sorry for not being able to visualize abstractly! Ideogram (指事): 言 was created by adding a mark to 舌 to indicate movement of the ...
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2answers
384 views

Why is the traditional character for 你 also 你 and not 儞 when the traditional character for 尔 is 爾?

I found an interesting question posted on Reddit's /r/ChineseLanguage: If 你 is 亻(人) + 尔 , but 尔’s tradicional version is 爾 , shouldn’t 你’s traditional version be 儞 ?? I don't know the answer so I ...
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2answers
164 views

Relation between「帳」and「賬」

「賬」is said to be a derivative character (分化字) of「帳」, itself being a derivative character of「張」. The meaning of「帳」is related to tents, screens, or curtains: 《玉篇》帷也,張也,幬也。 「賬」has meanings relating to ...
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1answer
137 views

Characters' original forms that have no independent usage

I came across this entry for 囗 in 季旭昇's《說文新證》: 釋義:城邑。圍的初文。《說文》釋爲「回也」,不可從。 釋形:古文字未見單獨出現的囗字,但在偏旁中多見,學者都釋爲城邑的象形,可從。《說文》釋爲「象回帀之形」,不可從。 He mentions that 囗 is the original form of 圍, but 囗 was never seen ...
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1answer
177 views

Glyph origin of 滅

The original meaning of 滅 is often said to be to extinguish a fire. 《易·大過》過涉滅頂。又火熄也。 And if the original form of 滅 is 烕, then the reason 水 was added to 烕 seems fairly straightforward. To me, the ...
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1answer
75 views

What semantic notions underlie 妥 (suitable') with 爫 (爪 or claw) and 女?

Reading 穩妥's etymology spurred me to read 妥's. I screenshot Yellowbridge. I truly hope this etymology doesn't relate to the inhumane barbarism of foot binding in China! Translingual Han character 妥 (...
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1answer
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What semantic notions underlie 吳 (shouting) with 夨 (man with tilted head)?

Reading 誤's etymology spurred me to read 吳's etymology. Shouting doesn't require you to tilt your head, so why was 夨 used? Why not just use 人? Glyph origin Ideogrammic compound (會意): 口 (“...
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1answer
177 views

How does 殳 resemble a hand holding a tool?

After reading the etymology of 設, I read that of one of the underlying ideograms: 殳. Pictogram (象形) or Ideogrammic compound (會意): 几 + 又 – a hand holding a tool, hence activity. How does 几 resemble ...
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1answer
176 views

What semantic notions underlie 駁 (to rebut) with 馬 (horses) and/or 爻 (I Ching's hexagrams)?

I'm trying to understand the etymology for definition 3 (to rebut) below in 駁 - Wiktionary. Yellowbridge: Han character 駁 (radical 187, 馬+4, 14 strokes, cangjie input 尸火大大 (SFKK), four-corner 74340, ...
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3answers
335 views

What semantic notions underlie 頁 ('page') with '預' ('beforehand')?

I'm especially baffled because 'page' is physical, but 'beforehand' isn't physical. I screenshot Yellowbridge and quote 預 - Wiktionary. Phono-semantic compound (形聲, OC *las): phonetic 予 (OC *la, *...
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2answers
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What semantic notions underlie 心 ('heart') with 惑 ('to confuse')?

I know that managing your emotions can save your heart, and "when your emotions adversely affect your brain, your heart is affected as well." Yet how does 心 semantically relate to 惑? Many ...
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3answers
368 views

What does 尔 really mean?

That character is the right part of 你 nu, which means you. According to https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E5%B0%94 it means you. It reads er According to http://zhongwen.com/bushou.htm I saw this So ...
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1answer
93 views

How does the hook in 甩 negative 用's meaning?

I read 甩 - Wiktionary, and screenshot Yellowbridge. 甩 appears the antonym of 用, and the hook (that I marked with the green arrow) appears the only difference between their logograms. What's the ...
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2answers
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Is there any connection between the choice of characters for 九 and 丸?

I just learned the character 丸 and naturally noticed that it is similar to 九 with the additional 点. Is there any interesting connection between these two characters or is it just a random coincidence ...
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277 views

What function does the「𠂉」-shaped component have in characters like「𥏻」and「傷」?

戰國文字有從「人」和「昜」而成的「傷」字,但現代標準楷體的「傷」字與其結構有所不同;它含有一個「𠂉」形的部件。「傷」被釋爲從「人」,「𥏻」省聲的字(與說文解字的解釋一樣): 《說文》:「創也。从人,𥏻省聲。」 煕康字典卻有以下的條目: 《康熙字典》:【說文】同𥏫。 若「𥏻」與「𥏫」有異體關係,那「𠂉」在「𥏻」、「傷」、「殤」、「觴」等字當中有何職能?
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2answers
736 views

Why are the words 戒 and 戎 written similarly?

Why are these words written similarly? Do they descend from a common Chinese character? If so, how do you explain the difference in pronunciations among derived words, especially for 戎? 投笔从戎 róng 盗贼 ...
4
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1answer
261 views

Glyph origins of the character 岁/歲?

I teach a basic class in Mandarin to kids. They enjoy seeing where characters came from. I will be teaching them how to express their ages soon and hence the character 岁. Is there an interesting ...
4
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2answers
664 views

What is the history of the character “耻”?

The meaning of the word is “shame”. I often encounter the version which is written with a 止, but sometimes I confuse it with 恥. It seems that the meanings of 耻 and 恥 are both the same, just that one ...
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1answer
111 views

Is the character 跌 (to trip) a deliberate combination of 足 (foot) and 失 (to lose)?

The character 跌 (diē) = "to trip", etc. is composed of two parts on the left there is 足 (zú) = "foot", and on the right there is 失 (shī) = "to lose", etc. And indeed 失足 means "to lose one's ...
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3answers
122 views

Glyph origins of 倒 (fall, collapse)

Can anyone tell me the glyph origins for 倒 ? I searched for it in one of the books but I couldn't find anything.
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3answers
412 views

沒 simplified to 没: What is the origin of the change?

I've just discovered that the simplified form of the character 没 is different from the traditional form (沒). With them both being nearly identical with exception of a single stroke, why was there a ...
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1answer
96 views

Are there web-site with description of visual meaning of symbols?

I'm interested in explanation of why certain symbol means what it means, in other words what object or scene it depicts. There is some books about that, like "Origin and evolution of...", but I wonder ...
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1answer
123 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"; ...
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3answers
281 views

Why is there an 'ear' component in the character for smell? 闻 聞

Why is there an 'ear' radical in the character for smell? 闻 聞 I find this pretty confusing. Perhaps there is a fun story behind it?
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2answers
183 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 ...
5
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1answer
253 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 ...
5
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1answer
409 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 ...
3
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1answer
162 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
254 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
344 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
340 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
163 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 ...
8
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1answer
550 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
228 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 ...
8
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1answer
587 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
267 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
260 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
217 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.