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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395 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
383 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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2answers
188 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
240 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
87 views

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
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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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1answer
51 views

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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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
70 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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107 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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393 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
74 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
231 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
61 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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395 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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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
119 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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515 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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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
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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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1answer
155 views

Etymology of 此 cǐ this, these?

What is the etymology of cǐ ? How this character means those, these?
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2answers
185 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
188 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
129 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
161 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
638 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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380 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
187 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
414 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
174 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
198 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
195 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
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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
209 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
901 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
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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
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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
51 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
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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
225 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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452 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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178 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
140 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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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 ...