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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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
67 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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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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377 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
260 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
48 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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1answer
69 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
76 views

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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388 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
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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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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
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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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2answers
150 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
115 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
505 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
211 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
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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
152 views

Etymology of 此 cǐ this, these?

What is the etymology of cǐ ? How this character means those, these?
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1answer
185 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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2answers
184 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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2answers
627 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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1answer
126 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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377 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
156 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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1answer
168 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
192 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
399 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
169 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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3answers
349 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
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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4answers
195 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
138 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
203 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
896 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
1k views

Why is 月 used when speaking about anatomy?

One thing I've been curious about while learning Chinese is the use of 月 in many 汉字 representing anatomical features (for example, 脸, 腰, or 腿). What is the etymology of the use of 月 as a radical?
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1answer
361 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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5answers
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Why was the rice component added to 气 to form 氣?

气 is an ancient character that has roots in an oracle bone pictogram, but according to this, the rice radical was added in the Tang dynasty to form 氣. What were the reasons for this? What does 气, ...
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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 ...
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1answer
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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
99 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
1k views

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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377 views

How does 矢 look like an arrow?

I find it hard to imagine how the character 矢 looks like an arrow (perhaps a "big" man with a spear on top of his head, I dunno). Can someone please explain this in terms of oracle bone ...
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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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3answers
124 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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2answers
175 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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3answers
352 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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2answers
440 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 ...