This is an interesting topic; it touches one of the core idea of the Chinese language.
The Chinese language and all its dialects have not been designed by one inventor at one specific day. Instead, they were created and evolved at different regions through thousands of years at least.
Evidences (see below) showed that some of the Chinese characters from ...
No. The Cyrillic script is based on the Greek script, and some other local scripts like Hebrew. The basis for sha is thought to be the Hebrew letter ש (shin).
It's unlikely that shin is based on the Chinese character, either. It seems taken from the Phoenician alphabet, where the corresponding letter looks like a Latin W.
It's worth keeping in mind that ...
Let the "foot" meaning of 足 be A, the "plenty, enough" meaning be B. Will discuss about this topic in the following two sections.
First, 現代漢語規範詞典 第二版 ("Modern Chinese Standard Dictionary" 2nd Edition) suggests that meaning A and meaning B come from different origin, though they share the same character currently.
This is actually not one character, but a stylistic conglomeration of the characters in the phrase 招財進寶, meaning "ushering in wealth and prosperity".
The characters 財 and 寶 end up being represented with the same 貝 component in this "character". While the left side of 招 (扌) and the right side of 財 (才) are technically not the same component, they look similar ...
The 月字旁 was originally '肉' & not '月' - 肉 has the meaning of 肉体 meaning 'flesh' or having to do with the 'human body' so it's often seen with body parts.
Etymology of 一, 二, and 三
Explanation of 一/二/三 in 象形字典 (Dictionary of Pictographs)
一 is a special self-explanatory character. The ...
刻 means ''to carve'' but my dictionary also says it means ''to set a time limit''.
well, you need a better dictionary 😼
in 國語辭典, the first explanation of the entry “刻”, as noun is:
There is not an entry of 妖 in the 《說文解字》.
The interpretation of 𡝩 in the 《說文解字注》 mentions 俗省作妖.
𡝩 [ yāo | ㄧㄠ ]
It means that 𡝩 is used to be simplified to 妖.
That is, the original form of 妖 is 𡝩.
《說文解字》 explains 𡝩 as follows.
皃 [ ...
Interesting, but this is a coincidence.
Baby comes from a reduplicated Proto-Germanic root *bō-, which is cognate to English boy, appended with a diminutive suffix -y.
寶貝 comes from the meaning rare/precious seashells; this usage is attested at least since the Han dynasty. As a term of endearment, this started appearing as early as in the novel Dream of ...
「九」 and 「丸」 are not related. As @user3306356 points out, 「丸」 is probably related to 「夗」.
「九」 depicts an arm showing the hand, a bent wrist, and elbow, indicating the original meaning elbow. This word is now written as 「肘」 (Baxter-Sagart OC: /*t-[k]<r>uʔ/).
The meaning nine (/*[k]uʔ/) for 「九」 ...
的 in its function as a particle is attested in the 四大名著 Four Great Classical Novels, which are written in a vernacular Mandarin-type language, dating from the Ming dynasty. The particle use of 的 is also attested from the Yuan dynasty, when it seems it was adopted for the grammatical particle of the emerging new literary language. Its earliest attestation is ...
The Phonology of Standard Chinese by San Duanmu (端木三) has an entire chapter devoted to this topic (The Word Length Problem):
In this section I review six previous approaches to the disyllabic phenomenon in Chinese. For convenience, I call them (a) the homophone-avoidance approach, (b) the speech-tempo approach, (c) the grammatical approach, (d) the rhythm ...
EDIT: Also refer to Aminopterin's answer and Travis Hu's answer for more insights.
After some research, I found two reasonable explanations. But, IMHO, the two should be compiled as the following:
老 is a prefix that is added to make 虎 and 鼠 easier to pronounce; besides, it implies that people respect 虎 and fear 鼠.
The two explanations as follow:
The gender neutral form of the term 先生 is an antiquated Chinese title used for addressing a knowledgeable person who is your senior. This person could be a teacher, a principal, a scholar, a professor or a doctor.
This term, which literally means "born (生) before (先)", has been in use for a very long time. Somebody who is born before you would be your ...
From the wikipedia article:
目前「萌」大多使用在二次元裡，如果遇到刻意將現實世界（三次元）的人套用到二次元的審美的情況，也有可能用到「萌」。 不過這種狀況十分稀少，因為三次元的人通常難以構成萌屬性。 現在「燃え」在中文界解作萌的相對詞，是對熱血的喜愛。
Wiki page of 牛排 gives a clue of its etymology, written by, 姚德懷, the current chairman of 香港中國語文學會 (The Chinese Language Society of Hong Kong Ltd.), a non-profit organization in Hong Kong. Here's a summary:
According to 漢語大詞典, the word 牛排 has been cited in some novels in Qing Dynasty in the beginning of 20th century. Such as:
Translation: In ancient times, the host was seated to the east and the guest to the west, so the host was called "East".
Personally I have also heard it is because the Sun rises from the east, thus east is seen as the 'emic', or the 'theme'
The earliest texts with 乒乓 I can find is vernacular novels of Ming dynasty.
《西遊記》 Journey to the West as an example:
“乒” and “乓” are used together as onomatopoetic in history. :)
The name of "Éluósī" does not come from English or Russian. It may come from
During the Chinese Yuan and Ming dynasties the Russian ethnic group was called "Luósī" or "Luóchàguó". At that time as ...
角 came from 銀角, which was historically a currency that represented a fraction of the silver coin (銀元). 元 came from 圓, a description of the coin's circular shape. A theory for 角's use is that since the basic meaning of 角 is a horn; by extension it came to be used to describe "things that looks like horns". And from there, "corners" 角落, "angles" 角度, etc. ...
In Old Chinese, it is generally thought that some words followed regular morphological alternations (which are preserved in a few places in MSM, but "frozen", i.e., no longer productive). For instance:
处 chu3 "to dwell" / chu4 "a place"
数 shu3 "to count" / shu4 "a number"
知 zhi1 "to know" ...
言 (yan2) is the root of all words meaning talk. It says so in the 說文解字 (a dictionary from the Han dynasty):
The origin of the character 言 is a picture of a person with a big mouth. In ancient Chinese, it’s the general word for any form of speech or talking. In modern Chinese, it has become literary and is normally only used in compound words like ...
I didn't know that 來 has this meaning until today, and this is even its original meaning.
The original meaning of 來 is "grain or corn", which is the upper part of 麥.
《說文解字》 explains that 來 means 周所受瑞麥, 來麰也.
《說文解字注》 interprets it as follows.
The 4 elements of this kanji are well known (claw/plectrum; net; north-east; short measurement)
Unfortunately, this way of interpreting Chinese character components is not correct. As part of other characters, for the vast majority of the time, character components represent either meaning or sound of the word they originally were created for.