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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85 views

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
410 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
100 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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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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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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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 ...
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1answer
287 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 ...
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680 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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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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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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470 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
98 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
124 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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314 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
192 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 ...
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1answer
263 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 ...
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1answer
420 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 ...
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1answer
172 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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265 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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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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1answer
344 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
169 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 ...
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1answer
621 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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243 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 ...
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1answer
594 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
273 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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267 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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222 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.
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1answer
289 views

Why is “quotient” translated as 「商」 in mathematics?

Wikipedia defines "quotient" as: In arithmetic, a quotient (from Latin: quotiens "how many times", pronounced /ˈkwoʊʃənt/) is the quantity produced by the division of two numbers.[1] Does the ...
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2answers
283 views

What's this character that looks like 七 with a ~ in the middle? And what's its history?

Having a hard time figuring out what this guy is: The equivalent Wikisource page for the material I'm working with says that it is: 甚 Perhaps it is Which zisea says it is: 同【甚】字。 If it is 七 +...
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1answer
106 views

Determining what the meaning of part of a character '益' is

I can see that it have an equal number of strokes above and below the yi stroke not part of the blood radical. I am not sure of what this character is..I mean..I know 高兴, that is the closest that I ...
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2answers
425 views

What is the difference between 嫐 and 嬲?

According to mdbg.net, both characters have a meaning of "to tease": 嬲 to tease / to disturb 嫐 to tease / to play around with Are both of them primarily used as synonyms for "tease"? Or are they ...
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1answer
202 views

The glyph origins of 半

Pursuant to the question below about 伴: What intrigues me is what 8 八 and a cow 牛(or 2 cows) have to do with this? chineseetymology.org says for 半: 'Augmented pictograph 半. Augmentation 八 (...
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1answer
130 views

Why is 伴 used for buddy?

Is it true that 伴 comes from the word, 半(half) and thus can be interpreted as (significant other person)?
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How does 馬 resemble a horse?

Please see my 3 questions inscribed in the screenshot from Wiktionary:
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608 views

Why does 写 not have a dot on top?

Many hanzi have a roof on top, including a dot. From the HSK2 list, we have: 客 家 字 完 室 安 它 The commonly used hanzi 写 is unlike these because it does not have a dot on top. Chinese-tools.com ...
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227 views

Glyph origins and meaning of 敢

What is the meaning and etymology of the LEFT component of this character: 敢 ? I have already checked Wiltionary and Chinese Text Project. Thank you for the help.
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How did 革 get the meaning “change” 變革?

I wondered how a character originally representing animal skin could appear in words such as 沿革、革命、變革. Ripping off the skin from an animal, thereby "removing the old and getting the new" seems a ...
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2answers
538 views

Character difference between 'buy' and 'sell'

The characters for 'buy' and 'sell', seem to have a subtle difference in the character. 買/买 (buy) 賣/卖 (sell) I want to know, what's the significance of the radial on top of the sell? How does ...
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2answers
117 views

Radical choice for 安全

A simple question, why does the lower half of 安全 (safe), have the female character: 女 ? Is it implying that safety pertains only to females being secure? Or is there no such implication? I'd like to ...
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3answers
353 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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1answer
192 views

Difference between 傍晚 and 晚上 and their etymology

As in the title. Are there any cases when these two are interchangeable? If yes, when? What are the nuances that distinguish them? It would be great if one can tackle the etymology of the two.
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655 views

What's the etymology and significance of yuenyeung (鴛鴦)?

鴛鴦 is a mix of tea and coffee commonly had in Hong Kong (amongst other south-asian countries). I was wondering about how this drink came into being? Where does the title come from (especially the ...
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139 views

Was 我 pronounced 'è' at some time in the past? [duplicate]

If I look up 饿 in http://zhongwen.com/ I find 饿 = 食 + 我。 Further it says, '我 is phonetic'. Does this mean that at some time in the past, 我 was pronounced 'è'? Taken literally, 饿 should then be ...
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344 views

What's the glyph origin of 妖?

What's the glyph origin of 妖? Why does it have a woman radical? Why is woman used in a word that means weird or supernatural? Is there a website to look up the evolution of characters?
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1answer
176 views

Which is the correct glyph origin of 入

I find 2 very different glyph origins for 入 It shows the roots of a plant entering the ground. It is a picture of an open tent or tent door. Which is correct?
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2answers
201 views

Does 来 show fruit on a tree or ripening corn?

I find two different explanations for 来, 1. it is a picture of fruit on a tree. 2. It represents ripening corn. Either way It is a neat symbol for what is coming. Which do you think is correct?
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1answer
840 views

Why do cat (猫) and dog (狗) share the same 犭 radical?

I have noticed that a cat and dog share the same radical, which is 犭dog (quǎn). So, if we break the words down: 猫 cat (māo) = 犭dog (quǎn) + 艹 cǎo (grass) + 田 tián (field) 狗 dog (gǒu) = 犭dog (quǎn) +...
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4answers
692 views

认识 vs 知道 based on glyph origins

I'm trying to understand what 识 means and why 认识 is different from 知道. As far as I was able to gather the information on 戠 is a depiction of an armed group of people which, while in battle, should be ...
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3answers
1k views

Examples of “bad” simplified characters/简体字?

In particular, there should be many examples of 形声字 ("phono-semantic compound characters") which were "damaged" by simplification. I am interested especially in characters where a 声旁 ("phonetic") or ...