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by Dr. L. WIEGER, S.J.

Translated Into English by L. Davrout, S.J.

Second Edition, enlarged and revised

according to the 4th French edition


This edition, first published in 1965, is an un-
abridged and unaltered republication of the second
edition, published by the Catholic Mission Press in
1927. The first edition of Chinese Characters was
published in 1915.
This edition is a joint publication of Paragon
Book Reprint Corp. and Dover Publications, Inc.

Standard Booh Number: 486-21321-8

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 64-18441

Manufactured in the United States of America

Paragon Book Reprint Corp. Dover Publications, Inc.
140 East 59th Street 180 Varick Street
New York 22, N.Y. New York 14, N.Y.

The end aimed at by the Author has been to analyse the an-
cient forms of the Chinese characters, to extract from them
their primitive constituents, and then to group them together
according to these primitive elements, in an order both logical
and synoptical.
The materials, figures and interpretations, were gathered from
the works of the Chinese epigraphers and philologues. After
having eliminated the useless characters, the Author picked out,
among the usual characters, 224 Primitives. Around these elements
were grouped about 1500 logical aggregates and phonetic com-
plexes, from which all the other characters are derived. Then
the whole matter was divided into 177 Lessons. A f t e r many ex-
periences, this disposition seemed to be the most advantageous
for study.
The Introduction is designed to furnish some necessary ex-
planation respecting the history, the categories, the analysis and
the different classificalions of the Chinese characters.
The Graphies are fac-similes of the oldest specimens of Chinese
writing cast, not engraved, upon bronze bells and vases.
The Phonetic Series, are a natural complement of the Lessons.
Two Lexicons showing the characters arranged by o r d e r of
Sounds a n d Radicals, complete the work.
The Romanisation adopted by the Translator, was according
to the Wade system.

L. Davrout S.J.



Tradition ascribes the idea of the. characters to Fu-hsi, and their first
drawing to Ts'ang-hsieh, two worthies of the prehistoric age. The syste-
matisation of the Chinese writing, is attributed to Huang-ti, the founder
of the Chinese empire, 25th century B.C. Some texts of the Annals, may have
been written earlier than the 22th century B.C. — In the beginning, writing was
used only for matters of government and administration. By its means, the Em-
peror was given information, and his orders were transmitted to the mandarins
and to the people. The shih, recorders, registrars, scribes, were trained up in
official schools, under the direction of a t'ai-shih grand-recorder.
The oldest ku-wen graphies that have come down to us in their original
form, are traced back to the 18th century B.C. Their study reveals the fact, that
while their making was well defined, their form varied much. Towards the year
B.C. 800, the grand-recorder Chou drew up, for the use of the official scribes,
a catalogue of the then existing characters, and fixed their standard shape. Those
ku-wen are called by Chinese philologists chon-wen, or ta-chuan
greater seal characters, or k'o-toa-tzu tadpoles. The origin of the lat-
ter appellation is thus recorded, lo the 2d century B.C., when the house in which
6 Introductory — Historical sketch.

Confucius bad dwell was pulled down, old books written in ancient characters
were discovered in a hiding-place. At the sight of the big heads and the slender
tails, Hung prince of Lu who was not a learned man, exclaimed: these
are tadpoles!.. The name has stuck to them ever since.

As the decay of the Chou Dynasty grew worse, studies were neglected and
the scribes became more and more ignorant. When they did not remember the
genuine character, they blunderingly invented a false one. Those non-genuine
characters, copied out again by other ignorant writers, became usual. Confucius
himself made this statement. Towards the year B. C. 500, he uttered this complaint:
«When I was young, I still knew some scribes who left blank the characters
which they could not write; now there are no more such men!» Consequently
the ch'i tzu «odd characters» were multiplied without restraint, to the
great prejudice of etymology.

Towards the year B. C. 213, under the Emperor Ch'in-shih-huang

who destroyed the classical books, Li-ssu, his prime-minister, published a
new official index of the characters, and fixed a way of writing which became
obligatory for scholars. His collection, entitled San-ts'ang, contained 3300
characters. This new form of writing was known as the hsiao-chuan,
lesser seal characters. — The study of the work of Li-ssu discloses two
facts:.. l. He did not create a n y new primitive, but he contented himself with
composing, by means of preexisting elements, the names for objects which were
unknown before. Therefore the evolution of characters was certainly closed before
the times of Li-sau, probably many centuries before him... 2. Deceived by the
ch'i-tzu, then so numerous, Li-ssu wrongly interpreted some characters, and
fixed them for posterity under a wrong shape. Many instances of these mistakes
of Li-ssu wilt be seen in the Etymological Lessons.

A few years after the catalogue of Li-ssu was edited, a new era was opened in
the study of characters. Two facts are peculiar to this change: an excessive mul-
tiplication; a gradual transformation. Let us briefly state the causes of these
philological phenomena:
Introductory. — Historical sketch. 7
\. Causes of the excessive multiplication of characters... First, the ignorance of
scribes who continually brougt to light faulty forms which were stupidly reproduced
by posterity ; then, the need felt to give names to new things. 1 he Empire was gro-
wing, learning was spreading; writing had become a public thing; the process
hsing-sheng (see page 10) being an easy one, all took to it. From this disorderly fer-
mentation, without direction, without control, without criticism, sprang up, together
with useful characters, thousands of useless doubles. Things could not well be
otherwise, when one remembers that the centres of fabrication were multiplied,
and that the local idioms were very different. The index of Li-ssu contained 3300
characters. In the space of two centuries, it was completed seven times, a nd
the 7th edition, published at the beginning of the Christian era, contains 7380
characters. Two centuries later, there were 10.000. Now the dictionary of
K'ang-hsi(A.D. 1716), contains 40,000 characters that may be plainly divided as fol-
lows: 4000 characters in common use; 2000 proper names and doubles of limited
use; 34.000 monstrosities of no practical use. We are far from the legendary num-
ber of 80.000 usual characters, ascribed to the Chinese language.
5. Causes of the gradual transformation of characters. — The first to be noti-
ced, is the complete change in the instruments and material used for writing. The
ancient wrote with a sort of fountain-pen, upon small laths of bamboo or smooth
wooden tablets. Hereby the figure of the fountain-pen of
old, as it has been transmitted to us on a bronze of the 2d
dynasty. Above, the reservoir holding the fluid, presuma-
bly a black varnish. The narrow bamboo tube contained
probably a wick, to regulate the flowing of the ink. Such
an instrument traces lines any way it is moved, either
backwards or forwards, straight or curved, as one likes,
but all equally thick. Therefore in the, chuan, greater
or lesser seal characters of all ages, there are figures of
every shape, round, ova), sinuous, the lines being all uni-
formly thick. — Not long after the catalogue of Li-ssu was
edited, Ch'eng-miao invented
a pencil of soft wood,
ending in a fibrous point, which being dipped in the black
varnish, was used for writing on silk strips. Traced with this coarse instrumen t
on a rough material, the rounded figures became square, the curved lines were
broken at right angles. But this ungraceful writing being quicker than with the
fountain-pen, the wooden pencil was adopted for public deeds, and the Li-
tzu or official hand, became the current writing, while the lesser seal characters
remained the classical writing.
As it commonly happens, the way being opened, inventions succeeded one
another. During his campaigns against the HANS, the general Meng-t'ien is
8 Introductory. — Historical sketch.

said to have invented or improved the writing-brush, the ink a n d the paper. This
invention was fatal to the characters. — A writing- brush cannot trace lines against
the hair, therefore m a n y characters could not be written and were replaced by
arbitrary and fanciful sketches. — The mate rials used further helped to increase
the confusion. Paper is absorbent: hence came the thick strokes, the thin strokes
and the slabbery letters, which were all unknown to the ancients. — A writing-
brush, made with stiff and elastic hair, flattens o u t when pressed down, twists
when turned, projects its poi nt when raised u p ; hence the swellings, the joints,
the crooks, which are not intentional, but are due to the instrument itself. — Therefo-
re the actual classical writing chieh-tzu, represents the hsiao-chuan
as transformed by the writing-brush.
There is more. The writing-brush galloping, the strokes were connected up,
giving birlh to the lien-pei-tzu; then it flew, throwing on the paper mis-
shapen figures, which are called ts'ao-tzu. The fancy for these novelties be-
came a rage. At the beginning of the Christian era, a man believed himself disho-
noured if he wrote in a legible way. In this crisis, the initiative of a private scholar
saved what could still be saved.
Towards the year A.D. 200, after long travels undertaken to get the authentic
originals, a literate of renown Hsu-shen or Hsu shu-chung,
vulgo Hsu-shih, published the lexicon Shuo-wen chieh-tzu.
It was the collection of Li-ssu, controlled, amended, explained and classified
under 540 rational keys. The aim of Hsu-shen was to impede any ulterior altera-
tion of the characters, by setting their authentical form before the eyes of a l l
scholars. His book contains 9353 simples and 1163 doubles, which makes 10.516
in all. It was not less useful to the nation, the admirers say, than the canals of the
great Yu It remained, from that time, the canon of the tzu, the authority
consulted in all doubts, by Chinese philologists. All the dictionaries published for
the last 17 centuries, boast of their having followed the Shuo-wen,
Bat the work of Hsu-shen had a more far reaching effect than the mere
conservation of the hsiao-chuan. It was the origin of archeological researches
which brought to light more of the antique ku-wen, a n d of philological studies
which explained them. These successive discoveries were published, according to
the Chinese way, in enlarged and annotated editions of the primitive Shuo-wen.
See — Later on, u n d e r each key of Hsu-shen, were ranged a
chronological series of ancient forms, copied either f r o m stones or bronzes that
were discovered, or from books t h a t were extracted from tombs or other hiding
places, throughout the Empire. See . — Published in fine books, care-
fully analysed, learnedly explained, these Series give the genealogy of the actual
characters. Their study enabled the critics to rectify the errors and mistakes of Li-
ssu and of Hsu-shen. It gave the material for the Etymological Lessons contai-
ned in this volume.
Introductory. — Historical sketch. 9

For instance, Series of the character chun, prince, through 45 centuries.

1. The primitive form, ku-wen. A

cap with horns, to inspire awe. Two
arms, the executive power. A mouth,
the legislative power.
2. A mere graphic variety. The
elements are the same, but their form
is different.
3. Another variety. The same
elements, a different form; It is so with
all the ku-wen: the idea is determined,
the form varies.
Then came a fanciful scribe who
gave to the cap a curious form; whence
the k'i-tzu 4, the elements being still
the same.
The next writer, an ignoramus,
thought he saw two hands, instead of
the horns on the cap, and he invented
the ch'i-tzu 5. The hands figure the
power, the mouth makes law; the idea
is still the same, but the graphic ele-
ments are partially different.
An idle writer, for the sake of
abbreviation, replaced one of the hands
by a simple stroke, which gave the
ch'i-tzu 6.
This last character, being in use at
the end of the Chou Dynasty, Li-ssu
interpreted if. a hand which acts, a
mouth which makes law. Thus was
fixed the hsiao-chuan 7.
The wood-pencil made with this
hsiao- chuan, the li-tzu 8 and 9.
The writing-brush changed the
li-tzu into the chieh-tzu. 10, which
is still classic in our days.
The latter being connected toge-
ther, became the lien-pei-tzu 11, the
successi veabbreviations of which gave
the ts'ao-tzu 12, 13, 14.
U is all about the same for the
other Series,
10 Introductory, — Six Categories.


Six Categories of Characters.

The Chinese philologists divide the characters into two great classes: the
wen, simple figures, and the tzu, compound letters.
The figures are subdivided into hsiang or nsiang-hsing, imitative
drafts; and chih-shih, indicative symbols.
The compound letters are subdivided into hui-i, logical aggregates,
in which all parts have a meaning; and in hsing-sheng or hsieh-
sheng, phonetic complexes, in which one part has a meaning, while the other
points out the pronunciation. _______

Let us summarise the matter, with a few details and instances.

First category. Imitative drafts, rough sketches representing the object;
The Shuo-wen contains 364 imitative drafts.
Example: the right hand.

Second category. Indicative symbols. A figure that suggests the meaning;

The Shuo-wen contains 125 indicative symbols. Exam-
ple: action of the authority which exerts itself from up down. Those symbols
often suggest an idea of motion.

Third category. Logical aggregates. They are made with two or several
characters more simple. Their signification results from the meanings of the dif-
ferent elements; The Shuo-wen contains 1167 logi-
cal aggregates. Example: , composed of mouth and divination; the
outcome is chan, to consult fortune-tellers, to cast lots.

Fourth category. Phonetic complexes. They are made with two or more
simple characters. One of them gives the meaning; the other is not a «meaning
element», but gives to the complex its pronunciation;
The Shuo-wen contains 7697 phonetic complexes. Example: The first
part , water, gives the meaning; the second , chan, gives the sound. The
compound means, to tinge, to moisten, and is pronounced chan.

To complete the study of the lin-shu, there are two more categories
to be studied, the chuan-chu and the chia-chieh. The above four
categories are based upon the composition of characters. The last two are based
upon their use.

Fifth category. Chuan-chu. Acceptation of the character in a meaning more

extended, derived, generalised, metaphorical, analogous, adapted, figurative, etc.
Introductory. — Six Categories. H

Example: picture of a fishing-net. By extension of the primitive sense, any

net-work, cobweb, reticulate design; lo catch with a net, to calch iu general, to
envelop, to gather, etc. All these meanings are chuan-chu. i. e. begot by successive
turns in the interpretation. Nearly all the primitive characters refer to concrete
objects. As the ideas became broader, the signification of characters spread in
the same proportion. The abstract terms are commonly chuan-chu of concrete
Sixth category. Chia-chieh. A mistake, lit. false borrowing. Use of a
character in a sense which is not its own, either 1. By error, for an other existing
character; or 2. By convention, to designate an object which has its name in the
spoken language, but which has no special character. Examples:
1. In the first paragraph of the Analects of Confucius, one may lind the charac-
ter meaning lo rejoice. Now means to speak, a n d to rejoice is written
Once a scribe wrote for . It was a mistake, a chia-chieh, which was not
amended, on account of the superstitious respect for the classical text.
2. Formerly, in some time, in some place, the elder brother was called ko.
This word was used in the spoken language only. None among the then existing
characters ko. had that meaning. Instead of m a k i n g a new one, it was agreed t h a t
ko, to sing, should be used also to mean, elder brother. Though this
meaning he unconnected with the composition of the character, however it was
admitted. This was a chia-chieh, an arbitrary character. — Not a few usual cha-
racters were thus given artificial meanings, besides their own meaning a n d their
different meanings chuan-chu. Other characters, either names of lost things, or
useless doubles, first disappeared and then appeared again with a meaning quite
new and in absolute contrast with their composition. Thus the foreign student is
quite puzzled when he sees the figure of a scorpion meaning also a myriad, a n d
he wonders how a n y relation may be found between the two terms? The answer
is very easy. There was not a proper character lo mean a myriad, wh i c h was
said wan in the spoken language. On the contrary, there were many characters to
write scorpion a nd one among them was just pronounced wan. It was dispossessed,
installed in its new functions, and from that time, myriad is written with two claws
and a tail. See, in the Lessons, the numbers 47 X, 49 H, 50 O, 71 Q, etc.
Those chia-chieh are the very reason why the interpretation of the Chinese
characters, which was primitively simple and easy, became so intricate a n d so
difficult. They obscure many texts, fill up the lexicons, overburden the memory,
and exasperate the students. These sad results spring not from a vice inherent lo
the Chinese characters, but from their antiquity and from the carelessness of
their successive keepers.

Notice. In the Lessons, for the sake of brevity, we shall not say in English,
about each character; this is «an imitative draft,» that is «an indicative symbol,»
or at logical aggregate,» or a «phonetic complex.» More commonly we shall
12 Introductory — Composition and Decomposition.

content ourselves wilh the Chinese definition given in Chinese characters. The
ordinary formulas for these definitions are thus given:
or hsiang or hsiang-hsing. Lit. imitative draft of the right hand.
, chih-shih. Lit. shows the thing, indicative symbol, to act, action.
, , , , Lit. from hand, draft; from
to act, symbol; by the fusion of meanings, to govern. This is a logical
, , , , Lit, from hand, from rod; by a
fusion of meanings, to strike. A logical aggregate.
, , , Lit. from , to enclose; gives the sound;
closed on the four sides, shut up hermetically. It is a phonetic complex.
As for the derived or arbitrary meanings, we shall be satisfied with indica-
ting them by the words chuan-chu or chia-chieh, inserted in the text. The most
important chuan-chu have been indicated, b u t not all the chia-chieh. The latter
are to be looked for in the larger dictionaries, which are absolutely necessary on
their account.


Primitives. Radicals. Phonetics.

From the calligraphic stand-point, the Chinese characters are all reduced into
simple strokes. These material elements amount, for the modern writing, to nine
in theory, and to about seventeen in practice. Their form is ascribed to the nature
of the writing brush, as explained previously. The strokes are:
Introductory — Composition and Decomposition. 13
Note well and do not forget that this reduction into simple strokes, into
material elements, has DO connection whatever with the etymological study of
the characters.

From the logical, etymological point of view, the compounds are made, not
with strokes, but with characters more simple, having their own use and meaning.
These simple characters are what we call «elements», when we speak of composi-
tions and decompositions. The more iutricate character was formed by their
association, and the analysis must end when it has separated and isolated these
formal elements. To go further, to decompose into strokes, would add nothing to
knowledge. Just as, in systematic botany, the study of a plant is ended when one
has determined its specific organs. The ulterior decomposition of these formal
elements into cells and fibres, belongs to histology, and is of no interest for
classification purposes. Examples:
, a logical aggregate, is decomposed into
, a phonetic complex, is decomposed into and
If one says that and which are given as elements, are evidently themsel-
ves compounds, we answer: no doubt, if it is a question of material analysis, one
should decompose into , and into and . But here, this is
not the question. What we look for, is the logical etymological analysis. Now, in
the logical aggregate , the element gives the meaning; it is therefore a formal
element. In the phonetic complex , gives the sound; it is therefore a formal
element. The etymological decomposition ends there.

It may be asked how numerous are those relatively simple characters or for-
mal elements, which are used to compose the more intricate characters? — Before
answering, one must distinguish two categories, indicated previously: the mean-
ing elements and the phonetic elements.
\. Meaning elements. — Theoretically, any simple character could be used
for the composition of a logical aggregate. The ancient writers used those they
wanted. — Practically, how many of those elements did they use? Relatively very
few. Indeed, the research of those elements had to be made among the ancient
regular forms, and not among the modern corrupted forms. Different Chinese
authors numbered from about five to six hundred elements, but their choice was
imperfect because there were compound forms, either multiples or inverted,
which were kept without reason. The first European who studied the question,
J.-M. Gallery, suggested the number of 300. J. Chalmers who resumed this study,
gave also 300 as a rough estimate Our own researches deliberately circumscribed
in the practical, domain led us to give 224 meaning elements, the list of which
may be found at the head of the Lessons.
14 Introductory. — Composition and Decomposition.
As said above, we call primitives the elements of the logical composition
called by the Chinese chien-shon, fundamental heads. The definition of
this term is to be noted well. Primitive, forrnal meaning element that cannot ad-
mit of an ulterior decomposition into meaning parts; or, more shortly, ideographic
minimum. In other words, the primitives are characters relatively simple, having
sound and meaning, and which are not formally resolved into figures having sound
and meaning. Materially, they may be reduced into strokes, b u t this is without any
use for the analysis. Just as a simple chemical body, or a bar of sulphur, or an
iron ingot, can be smashed with a hammer, a n d y e t this is not a decomposition,
but a breaking up. — In a few characters, strokes or dots were added to extend or
to modify the meaning. We call those characters partial primitives. They are
primitives, relatively to the graphical details superadded. See, as examples, the
nipples in , Lesson 67 0; the thorns in , Lesson 120 H; the grains of salt in
, Lesson 41 D; etc.
2. Phonetic elements. — Theoretically, the Chinese sounds not being numerous,
four hundred characters would have been sufficient to compose a phonetic scale. —
Practically, the Chinese used as phonetic elements, a greater number of characters;
the reason of this will be given below. Some Chinese authors numbered one thou-
sand of them, which they called the thousand mothers of sounds. J.-M. Callery
who made a special study of these characters a n d round in them a key to his
system, numbers 1040. Our researches, circumscribed in the practical domain,
gave 858 phonetic prolific elements. This list may he seen at the head of the
Phonetic Series. In the choice of these phonetic elements, the Chinese cared only
about the sound and not about the character. They employed, from which has
one stroke only, till which has twenty-four.

The inflected words of European languages are decomposed into radical and
termination. The radical gives the meaning; the termination indicates case, time,
mood. The (irst sinologists applied those grammatical terms belonging to inflected
languages, to the Chinese language which is not an inflected one. In the phonetic
complexes, they called radical the meaning part. They dared not call termina-
tion the phonetic part, and w i t h reason, for it would have been a mistake. They
called that part phonetic. We make ours those two terms, radical and phonetic,
but strictly in the sense above given, viz. Radical, formal element which gives
the meaning. Phonetic, the formal element which does not give the meaning, but
indicates the sound.
Why do we insist thus upon the delinition of these terms?.. The reason is this:
in sinologv, they were often used in an equivocal sense. — Some divided the charac-
ters into categories, stating that such a one is a radical, and such a one a phonetic,
while a n y character may be, in composition, either a radical, or a phonetic, ac-
cording to the part it has to act. — Others reduced the extension of the term radical
to the keys of the dictionaries, and gave as radicals only the 214 keys of K'ang-hsi;
16 Introductory. — Important Notices.
put in circulation with that sound, went to the North and to the South. Now the
Chinese philologists say that the North is known as corrupting the finals in the
words, while the South alters the initials. Thus when passing over in the Northern
dialects, had its final an transformed into en; was ended into yen and
into yeh: which are dialectic differences of a common origin. In a Southern dialect,
the ch of became t in , a n d n in : which are also differences of a common
origin. At the same time, the tones and aspirates, special to different places, stuck
to the former as well as to the latter. Then at last when, in the making of a big
dictionary, Ssu-ma kuang for instance, gathered u n d e r the mother
word its roving brood, it was diversified with odd colours; there were characters
pronounced chan, chen, tien, nien and t'ieh. The compiler neither made a choice,
nor criticised, nor tried to restore the primitive pronunciation, nor returned to a
unique dialect, but simply set down what was then used, and posterity was told
by him, once for all, t h a t was pronounced chan, that was pronounced
t'ieh, and that was their common phonetic. — Upon the whole, with regard to
the phonetic series, note the three following points: 1. The sound was well deter-
mined in the beginning... 2. There were dialectical corruptions... 3. The sound was
finally, and without any critical study, fixed by insertion in the dictionaries.
But then when one says that the phonetics determine the sound of compounds,
is this determination practically reduced to something rather vague? — It is much
to be regretted th a t it is often so. The determination is somewhat vague for the
final (vowel), still more vague for the initial (consonant), and nearly non-existing
for the tone and aspiration.
But then is the study of phonetics useless? — It is an exaggeration to say so.
The study of phonetics and of the phonetic series is useful. For, after all, the
sounds, initials and finals of each series varied only to a certain extent and accor-
ding to certain dialectic rules. Therefore the knowledge of phonetics allows, after
a certain use, to guess approximatively the sound of compound characters. It
helps also to fix those characters in the memory. Further, the study of characters,
made by following the phonetic series, is more attractive and more useful than
by following the series by radicals or by sounds. It is the reason why we add to
this volume a lexicon by phonetic series.


1. Use of a compound instead of a simple, as a radical. The same need

of variety, of distinction, that multiplied the phonetics (as above stated),
impelled the use sometimes, as a radical, of a compound, instead of a simple
character. Item, an inverted character was used instead of the straight form,
etc. For example for , or or for , for , for
M. for •
Introductory — Composition and Decomposition. 15
they called phonetic any character which was not radical. — Hence arose ways of
speaking, improper, equivocal and false. For example: because is the 75th key
of K,ang-hsi, some say : the radical is phonetic in , instead of saying: is
phonetic in , and radical in . Because is the 190th key of Callery, some
say: the phonetic is radical in , instead of saying: is radical in , and
phonetic in . — To avoid such a confused and inexact way of speaking, one
must remember that radicals and phonetics are not two categories of characters
specifically distinct. They are two categories of a certain number of characters
which, being neuter or indifferent by nature, are used in composition, either as
radicals, or as phonetics, according to the cases. Even the primitives are, in com-
position, radicals or phonetics, according to the cases. They form a class by them-
selves only as elements formally indivisible; elements which, being not composed,
compose all the others.

Why did they use one thousand characters, when four hundred could do? — It
was to avoid confusion. In certain categories, there were to be placed objects of
different kinds, but having the same sound. The radical proper to the category
could not be changed and consequently the phonetics had necessarily to be chan-
ged, in order to get different characters. Example: In the category of trees, the
radical of which is , the phonetic had given the phonetic complex k'u,
dead tree. Now there is a kin d of elm which is also pronounced k'u. For this
elm, the character k'n was made, in which is used as phonetic; and so on
for many others. — As above stated, the new characters are selected, for more
than twenty centuries, exclusively among the phonetic complexes. Out of the ten
thousand characters that constitute the main part of the big dictionaries, about
seven thousands of them are phonetic complexes. Some variety in their composi -
tion was of absolute necessity, to form a way of distinguishing one. from another.

In which sense must we understand the assertion that the phonetics give their
sounds to the phonetic complexes? — To answer the question, one must presuppose
the following facts which are so evident that they need no proof. The Chinese
language is spoken for tens of centuries past, in an immense territory. Its sounds
are not numerous, and may be easily confounded. Hence arose a great number of
dialectic differences. A Chinese proverb says that at a distance of one hundred li,
people cannot understand each other. This assertion is exaggerated, but it is right
to say that, at a distance of one hundred U, there are perceptible dialectic dif-
ferences; that, at a distance of one thousand li, only a half of the things said are
understood: and that, at a distance of two thousand li, nothing is understood.
Further, the dialect of the same district varied in the course of ages. — That fact
being granted, let us take as example . In the place and time when was
first chosen to be used as a phonetic, this character was pronounced chan. Its
compounds, made after the same phonetic, were all pronounced chan, and being
Introductory. — Important Notices. 17
2. phonetic-Radicals. — In some a n c i e n t characters, an element which is
radical gives also its sound to the compound, being thus together radical and
phonetic. For ex. Lit. ping ice, from shui water,
from ping to freeze; ping is thus both radical and phonetic,Those chara-
cters are like a l i n k between the logical aggregates and the phonetic complexes.
3. Radical or phonetic redundancies. — \. The ancient characters were
relati vel y simple. When t h e systematic classifications begun to be made, then
w i t h o u t change in t he meaning of those characters, a meaning clement was su-
per-added to m a n y of them. This was a new radical, well chosen, but useless, un-
der which the character was classified in the new dictionaries. Thus, to chiao,
to teach, which nicely figured the action of the master descending upon the
disciple, a h a n d was added, ho ld in g a rod, symbol of t he master's authority.
This addition was the cause why was classified under the 66th radical in K'ang-
hsi. Thus the old characters happened to have, nearly all, synonym compounds,
and it is the compound that is used now, w h i l e the p r i m i t i v e character remains
in the dictionaries with the mention ku-wen, ancient form. This is why one
may often read in the Lessons the words « it is now written. » For ex., ,
now ; the ancient form was enriched with the radical , the rest being quite
the same. — 2. The ancient drafts, or symbols, or logical aggregates, had no pho-
netic element, and n o t h i n g helped the memory to remember the sound. Later on,
specially in the ti m e of Li-ssu, a phonetic element was added to some ancient
characters, w i t h o u t changing anything in the sense. For ex., to the character kui,
was added tui, to recall the sound ui, which gave Those embellished logical
aggregates differ from the phonetic complexes in this, t h a t they cannot be a-
dequately decomposed i nt o two elements, one being a radical, the other a pho-
netic... Another example: cb'u was added with the phonetic hu, which
gave ch'u... Now a n d are no longer used. They are found in the dictio -
naries, with the mention ku-wen, ancient forms of and
i. Phonetics and Radicals contracted. — See the phonetic Series 469,
, etc. It seems to come from hsin, h u t it ends in ao. Its phonetic is not
hsin, but nao, a logical aggregate made from hsin. Bu t nao having already
a lateral radical , the addition of the radical of phonetic complexes would make
ugly characters. To avoid this, is contracted, that is: its is suppressed, and
in its place the radical of the. complex is substituted. It the series 469, nao con-
tracted is the phonetic, . — The same happens in the series 119, un-
der ch'u, where one may find compounds in ieh. Their phonetic is chieh
contracted, in which gave place to another radical. — Remember well this re-
mark, it is very important in practice. One may often read, in the Lessons, the
expression "contracted phonetic" — In the logical combinations some
radicals are abbreviated in the same way. Thus becomes or . See
and , L. 44 E,J. — The scribes definitively contracted several intricate ancient
forms, for example:
18 Introductory. — Classification ol Characters.

5. Phonetics mixed. — Under some numbers of the phonetic Lexicon, one

may find two series written in the same way, but of different sound. The reason
is that in the modern writing, two ancient phonetics were mixed. Thus one wri-
tes to-day in the same way two series utterly distinct in the ancient writing. See,
for example, the Series 227, 284, 359-549.
6. Synonyms. — The great number of phonetic complexes, different in form
and in sound, but perfectly synonymous, is explained by the fact that they sprung
from many different places, in the modern times, after Li-ssu. Some double logical
aggregates probably owe their origin to the same cause, v.g. LL. 2 B
and 32 B. There were differences between the rival states and the jealous literati
of those times.
7. Multiples. — An element reproduced two or several times, figures graphically
the great number, or the great intensity. For example: Two trees make a
forest. Two fires means to blaze. Three men , a multitude. Three
chariots , a rolling, a big rumbling. .
8. Figures straightened. — Certain figures, broader than high, as , are of-
ten straightened in the compounds, to take less place. See L. 82 C, L.
66, L. 167, L 158, etc.
Conclusion. — The knowledge of the Chinese characters consists in mastering
less than 300 primitives, and about 1500 principal compounds made with the pri-
mitives, that is less than 2000 characters. A l l the others are derived from them.
Those are the elements and groups that are treated in the Etymological Lessons,
and collected in the Index of usual Groups, When the student knows them, he
may explain to himself all the compounds. The Lessons explain the logical ag-
gregates under their principal primitive. Each paragraph refers to the phonetical
series which contains the phonetic complexes derived from the same element.
The paragraph and the series form a whole, t h a t exhausts practically the study
of an element.


A. Chinese classifications.

1. Natural classification. — The first classifications were encyclopedias of

things, after the manner of the present lei-shu. The prototype of those
compilations is the Erh-ya, the first sketch of which is ascribed to
Chu-kung ( 1 1 t h century B.C.). Remodelled in the 5th century B.C. by a disciple
of Confucius, Tzu-hsia, it took its actual shape from Kuo-p'u, circa
Introductory — Classification of Characters. 19
A.D. 280. The things of this world were distributed under 16 sections: kindred,
houses, utensils, music, heaven, earth, mounds, hills, waters, plants, trees, insects,
fishes, birds, wild and domestic animals. IN the actual lei-shu, the hea-
dings are more numerous.
2. Logical classification, by Radicals. — Starting from the meaning element
of the phonetic complexes, or from one among the meaning elements in the logical
aggregates, the characters were disposed by logical series, under keys called
Radicals, according to the number of strokes. The shuo-wen was the first
lexicon, thus disposed. It contains 540 keys, some of them being very abundant,
and some very poor, according to the notion expressed by them. Later on, for the
sake of simplification, the latter keys were suppressed. This reduction brought
about the placing of the characters that had belonged to the keys left out, under
other keys, with which the former had some analogy of figures, but no real relation.
The classification thus became h a lf logical, half arbitrary. Under the Ming, the
number of keys was reduced to 214; which meant that the characters belonging
to more than 300 ancient keys, were arbitrarily placed where they should not be.
The dictionary of K'ang-hsi , is based upon these 214 keys. This
dictionary is easy enough to consult and precise in its definitions. But one must
avoid to use it for an y study of etymology or of classification, under pain of
committing the worst blunders. We shall indicate, in the Lessons, a certain
number of these mistakes, for which the compilers are not personally answerable,
because the system of keys used by them was composed before their time. —
Recently the Commercial Press of Shang-hai has printed a very
good abbreviated K'ang-hsi.
3. Phonetic classification, by Rhymes. — Towards the year A, D. 500,
Shen-yao introduced the system fan-ch'ieh, which consists in associating,
for the expression of a sound of any unknown character, two other known cha-
racters, the first of which gives the initial consonant, and the second the final
vowel. Examples: p'an and nieh make p'ieh; li and mo make to; etc. — The
fan-ch'ieh was devised by Indian Buddhist Monks, in order to render approxima-
tely, in Chinese, the Pali or Sanskrit syllables. — It was according to this system,
that dictionaries called yun-fu were made. In the beginning, they were
nearly dictionaries by sounds, the finals being very numerous: under the T'ang,
there were 206 finals for 36 initials. Later on, the number of finals was reduced,
by gathering in the same category all those that rhymed according to the
Chinese prosody; so that now en, in, un, un, are mingled; an, nan, ien, form a
same category, etc.— The yun-fu have all five volumens, one for each
tone. To find a character, one must know first its tone, then its prosodical catego-
ry; lastly one must seek in the latter, following the order of initials. The largest
Chinese dictionary, the P'ei-wen-yun-fu, was composed after
this type. We join here the usual table of rhymes.
20 Introductory. — Classification of Characters.

Table of Rhymes.

Ung. U, u, in, etc.

O. Ih, ei, i, e, etc.
Ai, uai, yeh. E, o, ai.
Ei, uei. A, ia.
E, ieh, ueh.
Iao, ieh, o, uo, ao.
En, in, un, un.

Ai, ei, e, i, ieh,

An, uan, yen. ih, o, uo, u.

I, ih.
A, ia, o, uo.
Ao, iao.

E. o. Ieh, yeh.
A. ai, ya, ua.
Ang, iang, uang.

Eng ing, iung.

Iu, ou.
En, in, un
Introductory. — Classification of Characters. 21

4. Phonetic classification, by sounds. — Basing himself upon thesystem

fan-ch'ieh, a certain Fan t'eng-feng invented, towards the year 1700, a
combination of 20 initials and 12 finals, that is nearly as easy as the European
alphabetical order though it does not attain it, for sounds li ke i, ih, u ei, are still
confounded. Instead of being capital, the. division by (ones is accessory. This
classification is far more convenient t h a n the dictionaries by rhymes. Therefore
the Wu-fang-yuan-yin was a great success. It was the. most com-
mon dictionary in the days ot the Cu'ing dynasty. Us key is thus given:

Initials Finals

P Sh ien, an, nan.

P' J en, in, unn, un.
M Ch ung, ing, cng, iung.
F Ch' an, iang, uang.
T Hs iu, ou.
T Y ao, iao.
N K u.
L K' uo, iao, o.
Ch H e, ieh, ueh.
Ch W u, ia, ua.
ai, uai.
i, ei, ui, ih, erh, u, iu.

5. The Tzu-hsiao-chu- yiii t hat will be occasionally

meutioned in
the Lessons, is a small hook that gives the f orm of the modern characters, as it
was required for the official examinations, till A.D. 1905, with an index of the
wrong characters. H contains some mistakes.

6. European classifications.

1. By radicals. The dictionary by radicals of K'ang-hsi was translated,

abridged or enlarged, a figuration replacing the original fan-ch'ieh. For
ex., the "Dictionnaire classique de La langue chinoise,du P.S. Couvreur S J.,
Ho-chien-fu, 1904». These dictionaries partake of the advantages and drawbacks
of the K'ang-hsi's dictionary.
2. By phonetics. The characters "were gathered according to the phonetic
series. The type of the k i n d is the " S g s t e na phoneticum scripturae sinicae,
auctore J.-M. Gallery, C, Miss., Macao, 1841.»
22 Introductory. — Classification of Characters.

3. By sounds. Being given a system of figuration, the characters were classified

according to the European alphabetical order. The big English dictionaries of
Williams and Giles, and the big «Dictionnaire chinois-francais du P.S.
Couvrcur S.J., llo-chien-fu, 1890», are made after this method.

Use of the dictionaries. — To find a character the sound and meaning of

which are unknown, one must refer to a dictionary by radicals, which supposes
the knowledge of the 214 keys of K'ang-hsi. — If the sound is known, with the
help of a Chinese master, or otherwise, then the shorter method is to use a di-
ctionary by sounds, supposing that one is well acquainted with its figuration. —
The phonetic series are the most useful for study, but they are not very useful as
a dictionary, unless one is already far advanced in the study of Chinese.


Modern form. The ancient form may be found at the number given.

P'ieh1. Chiu1. Ju2. Po3.

7. 54. 15. 56.
Chi4. Ya2. Chiung3. K'an3. Shin*
11. 9. 34. 38. 24.
Chn3. Yin3. Ch'u1. Kung1. Shu2.
4. 10. 38. 38. 22.
Chuan3. Ch'uei2. Li*. Sau1.
18. 13. 53. 89.
2 Fang1.
Chueh4. Mi*. Tao1.
6. 51. 34. 52.
I1. Chi1. Han3. Nai3. Ting1
1. 20. 55. 19. 57.
I4. Ch'i1. Han4. Pa1. Wu3.
8. 33. 59. 18. 39.
I I. Ch'iao3. I4. Pi3. Yu4.
9. 58. 39. 26. 43.
Kun3. Chiu3. Jen2. Ping1.
6. 23. 26. 17.
24 List of the Primitives.

Kung1. Chieh4. Shih4. Ho2.

87. 97. 114. 121.
3 Liang3. Ch'ien4. Hui2.
35. 99. 48. 76.
Ch'e4. Jan3.
Mien2. Chih3. Shui3.
78. 35. 112. 116.
Chi*. Nu3. Chin4. Jou3.
68. 67. 128. 23.
Chi1. Ching3. Kua1.
Shan1. Tou3.
70. 115. 162.
62. 98.
Chi3. Ch'uan3. Kuan3.
Shan1. Wen2.
84. 134. .108.
80. 61.
Chi2. Chung1. Kuan4.
Shao2. Wu4.
14. 109. 153.
54. 101.
Chih3. Fang1. K'ui4.
Ssu4. Wu3.
31. 117. 111.
Ch'ih4. 85. 130.
Sui1. Feng1. 2
Ta . Mao2.
63. 97. 95.
31. 147.
Chin1. Hu4. Min2.
Ta4. Yu4.
35. 68. 114.
60. 83
Chiu3. Hu4. Min3.
T'o .
33. 129. 95. 157.
Chung1. Huo3. Mu4
T'u3. Yueh4.
17. 126. 158.
81. 64.
Fan2. Hsin1. Ping3.
Ts'ai2. Yun2.
21. 41.
96. 107. 93.
Hsi4. Shih3.
Tzu3. Jih4.
64. 131.
94. 143.
Hsun3. Ssu4.
Wei . 2 Ku3. 5
11. 42.
74. 106.
I*. Ch'ai2. Tai3.
Teh3. Mao2.
71. 156. 118.
107. 100.
I3. Mu4. Chia3. T'ien2.
85. 119. 152. 149.
Kan1. Niu2. Ch'ieh3 T'o1.
102. 4 132. 20. 108.
Ko4. Pa1. Ch'ing1 Tseng4
77. 55. 55. 154.
K'ou3. Ch'i4. P'ien4. Chu4. Wa3.
72. 98. 57. 145.
Kung1. Ch'iang2. Fu4. Tu2.
Pu 2 .
82. 127. 133. 87. 151.
Llit of the Primitives. 25

Shu2. Shou3.
124. 160. 9 11
6 T'ien4. Ti4.
41. 87. Ch'ao1. Ch'ing4.
Ch'i . Tzu4. Tou4. 106. 173.
70. 159. 165. Che3. Lu4.
Ch'ien1. Yang2. Yu3. 159. 136.
115. 103. 41. Chiu3. Niao3.
Chih4. Yen3. 170. 138.
133. 117. 8 Chuan1. T'ou3.
Chiu4. 164.
139. Ch'ang2. Yin2.
7 Ch'uan2.
Chon1. 113. 172.
125. Yu2.
66. Chin1. Fei1.
Ch'u1. Ch'e1. 142.
167. 11.
51. 3 Cho4.
Chiao . Ko2.
Erh3. 43. 12 &
142. 105.
146. Chui4.
Erh2. Chih4. T'iao2. Ch'i2.
166. 41. 174.
164. Fei1.
Fao3. Chiung3. Yang2. Chiao2.
130 42. Fu4. 101. 176.
Fu4. Ch'uan4. 86. Ch'ih3.
40. 153. I*. 1O 175
Hsi1. Ch'uang1 101.
41. 40. Li4. Ko2. 106.
Hsia*. I2. 163. 155. Kai1.
41. . 82. P'eng2. Kou4. 108.
Hsin4. K'uai3. 64. 104. Lung2.
40. 156. T'u4.
Ma3. 140.
Hal. Lu3. 106. 137. Min3.
135. 90. Tzu1. Ssu4. 108.
Hui1. Pan1. 150.
136. Shou*.
110. 104. Tsao2. 144.
I1. Pei4. 102. Sha 3 .
16. 161. 54.
Jou*. Pien4. Shu 3 .
65. 123. 139.
Kua3. Shen1. Yao4.
118. 148. 88.
, Mi3.
26 Etymogical Lessons. 1.


About the pr im it i ve , a single stroke.

I1 represents the unity, pr in ci ple of numeration;

It figures the primordial uni t y, source
of a l l beings;
— It
is the 1st r a di c al in K'ang-hsi's dictionary.

In composition, says t he Shuo-wen, — is most c o m m o n l y symbolic;

I t s d i f f e r e n t s y m b o l i c m e a ni ngs may be s u m m e d up u n d e r four
pri nc i pal categories.

Firstly, w h e n w r i t t e n on top of [he c om p o u n d, — represents e i t h e r heaven, or

a roof, or any cover. Example:
Yu3 The rain. Drops of water f a l l i n g from a cloud
t h a t hangs to — h e a v e n ; J m eans t h e vertical f alling;
— It is the
173th radical in K'ang-hsi.

T'ien 1 . Heaven, the vast — e x t en t of space that is

above men, t he highest of things;

Note that ( L . 60)

means watt a n d not great; therefore do not translate
the unique great. The derived idea, as expl ai-
ned by all the commentators, is that of physical or
m o r a l superiority. The Ch'un-ch'iu says:

Placed abo ve them, heaven go-

verns men... According to this fundamental notion,
any superior, says the Erh-ya, is the of his
— For the
compounds of , see Lesson CO C.

Mo4. The outmost twigs, the — top of a tree;

— Phonetic
series 138.
Etymological Lessons. 1. 27
Secondly, placed below the compound, — represents the foundation, the
base, or any support. Examples:
Tan*. The dawn, the beginning of the day. The
sun above a line, viz. the horizon;
— Phonetic series 162.

Li4. To stand, to be erected. A man (L. 60) stand-

ing upon the ground. This character is the reverse
of , above C.
It forms the 117th radical in
K'ang-hsi. Phonetic series 134.

Pen3. The t r u n k of a tree. The part of a tree

above the — earth. This character is the reverse of
, above D
— Phonetic series 147.

Thirdly, — represents a barrier, a hindrance. Examples:

Shuan1 A beam — used to holt a door.

Ch'iao3. Difficulty in breathing, oppression;


line bent up represents the brealh that tries to

go out, but is checked by the transversal barrier.
See L. 58. — Phonetic series 3.

Fourthly, — represents something contained. Example:

Hsueh3. Blood. A vase containing — something.
This character primitively meant the oblation of the
blood of the victim in the sacrifices;
See the Legge's edi-
tion, Part II, Bk VI, Ode VI, 5,
The modern signification, blood, is a
derivative, chuan-chu. See Lesson 157. — It forms the
143th radical in K'ang-hsi. — Phonetic series 208.
28 Etymological Lessons. 2.

About the character , two strokes, and some of its derivatives
Erh4. Two. The number of the earth, because it
makes the pair with heaven. The number of the two
principles yin and yang.
— It is the 7th radical in K'ang-hsi.
In composition, has three different uses.

Firstly, means two. Example:

Jen2. The fundamental virtue of Confucianism, which
t h e Shuo-wen defines:
, to love each other. The benevolence
that must l i n k each man with his neighbour;
two, mutual, reciprocal. From is derived
Ning4. Coaxing, flattery; ; the of

Secondly, represents two terms, two extremes. Examples:

Chi2 . Activity, working up of faculties, struggle for
life. A man who acts, who struggles, with his
mouth and his hand, between heaven and
earth, to gain his point;

— Phonetic series 325.

Ken4 or Keng4. Idea of passage, of crossing, of
duration, between two terms. Ilrepresents a passage-
boat, that crosses from one bank to the other:

See L. 66. — In the modern writing,

(L. 76 H) is often used for . II is a mistake. Note
the compound
Heng. Constancy, perseverance. The heart (the
w i l l ) crossing f r om the beginning till the end, as a
boat does from one bank to the other; the moral trip
c o n t i n u e d t i l l one reaches the harbour. Rather a well
found simile.
Etymological Lessons. 2. 3. 29
G Thirdly. is an old form of shang4, h i g h ; a n d — reversal, an old
form of hsia low. See L. 5. —This remark is to be remembered; there w i l l he
many applications of it. See, for instance, L. 3 D, L. 29 H, etc... is
sometimes reduced to a single stroke, as in L. 43 N, L. 50 0, etc.


About , three strokes, and its derivatives.

San1. Thr e e; The n u m b e r of
1 2
heaven ea r th a n d h u m a n i t y ; the san is'ai ,
three Powers. Hence
Wang2. King.

to the ancients, the k i n g is the one, the man
who connects together heaven earth and h u m a n i -
ty. See L. 83 C. — Phonetic series 87.

represents bo un dary lines, limits, in

C h iang 1 . Bounds. The partitions that d i v i d e
and limit two fields;
Phonetic series 724.

straightened , forms a part of

Shih . Influx coming from heaven; auspicious or
inauspicious signs, by which the will of heaven is
known to mankind ;
The two horizontal lines are the old form
of the character shang1, hi gh, superior (L. 2G);
here they mean heaven; The three
vertical lines represent what is hanging from hea-
ven, viz. the s u n, the moon and the stars, th e muta-
tions of which reveal to men the transcendent thing s ;
The actual meaning, to teach, is chuan-
chu. forms the 113th radical of characters relating to transcendental mat-
ters. Note its modern contracted form, tha t is easily mistaken for the
contracted form of garments (L. 16 A).
30 Etymological Lessons. 3. 4

doubled forms hsuan4. It is believed that this

character figures the. primitive abacus, and has no-
t h i n g to do w i t h See an d L. 47 G, F. A n y -
how from is derived the phonetic compound
hsuan4, garlic.


About the dot.

Chu5. A dot, a sign of punc tuation, etc. Formerly

the dot was r o u n d ; it is n o w p i r i f o r m , on account of
the. w r i t i n g - b r u s h t h a t writes thus. It is the 3d radical
in K'ang-hsi.

is found in the. following characters:

Chu3 T h e i n f e r i o r p a r t re pr esents a l a m p , the. f l a m e

of w h i c h is One wri te s
now to mean a lamp, the character signifying
( c h u a n - c h u ) pr i n c e , m u s t e r Becaus e , say t he i n t e r -
preters, the prince
rises a b o v e t h e m u l t i t u d e a n d is seen by a l l , as the
f l a m e rises a n d shines over t h e lamp. — Phonetic
series 115.
Ta n 1 . C i n n a b a r . The is s u p p o s e d to represent the
red mineral, a n d the m i n e where it is found;
The an cient charac te rs suggest
a different interpretation. They represent the crucible
of the Taoist alchimists, w i t h cinnabar in it De-
compose and recompose cinnab a r, was their chief prac-
tice. See L 115 D. — Ph o n et i c Series 83. Compare,
(L.14T.) —Two old characters express the (L.30 D)
transformation of mortal m e n i n t o im mo r t al genii,
by means of a l c h e m y an d divination (L. 56 A.)
D N.B. —In the modern w r i t i n g , many characters, for in s tance , are
s u r m o u n t e d w i t h a dot, t h a t replaces e l e m e n t s w h i c h are ver y different in the a n -
cient w r it i n g . It is t h e same w i t h the d o t i n t r o d u c e d inside some of the charac-
ters, for exa mpl e The w r i t i n g - b r u s h is the cause of i t . — Note by the
way that t h e 8th radical, is but a corruption of the 11th tb radical.
Etymological Lessons. 5. 6. 31

We saw (L. 1, 1° and 2°) — used as meaning an horizontal line. From this accep-
tionare derived the following characters;
Shang4. Up, upon, superior, to mount. A sign
placed above, the fundamental line , signifying
above the level;
The ancient form of this character was
(L. 2 G), the s m all er top line being usep as a sign
r elatively to the longer bottom line. In the more
recent forms, the sign became more a nd more intricate. —
In the modern wri-
ting, kept up its ancient form at the top of many characters, for e xa m pl e,
. It is to be distinguished from , the fictitious Sth,radical in K'ang-hsi.
(See L 4 D).
Hsia 4 . Below, to descend, inferior. A line traced
below the fundamental line , signifying below the
level; —The ancient form
Of t h i s character was (L. 2 G), the shorter bottom
line being used as a sign relatively to the longer top


About two primitives, and

Firstly, kun3.
Kun3. A vertical stroke, a perpendicular;
— It forms the 2d radical in K'ang-hsi.
It is f o u n d in m a n y characters, in which it has gene-
rally a symbolic significat ion.

It represents the t r u n k , in
Mu4. Tree. See L. 119 A.
It represents a man standing, in
Shen1. To gird up (with both hands). See L. 50 C.

It represents an arow fixed in a target, in

Chung1. Middle, centre. L. 109 A.
32 Etymological Lessons. 6. 7.
It represents a spindle running through two objects, in
Ch'uan4. To string together. See L 153 B.

It represents a bow-string, in
Yin , to draw a bow; See L. 87 A. Etc.

Secondly, chueh2.
Chueh2. A crooked stroke, a hook;
It is the fictitious 6th radical in K'ang-hsi. The
Sbuo-wen gives no derivative s from this primitive.
However, in the modern characters, occurs very frequently.
The reason of the
fact is that, with the writing-brush, it is easier to trace than Consequently:

1. replaced in many characters, for e xa m pl e:

Hsiao3. See L. 18 H.

2. is arbitrarily written, as an abbreviation of different

figures, for example, for
the longer line of in

Ts'un4. See L. 45 B.

N. B. — inverted gives

Chueh2. A hook, . that is found


Yueh4. A halberd with a hook. See L 71 L.


About the primitive

P'ieh1. An oblique line from righ to left;
General idea of action, of motion. — It is the
fictitious 4th radical in K'ang-hsi. Nearly all the mo-
dern are abbreviations for other signs, while the
true are hardly recognized in the modern writing.
For example:
Etymological Lessons. 7. 8. 33

Sheng1 . The tenth part of a bushel. Composed

of bushel, and of which figures that a tenth
part of it is taken o ut. See L. 98 B.
Mei 2 . Eye-brow; represents the curve of the
orbita; the lines on the top represent the hairs;
is the eye. — Phonetic series 463.

inverted gives
Fu2, an oblique line from left to right.
This stroke that seldom occurs in the
ancient writing, is now frequently used as an abbrevia-
and combined, give

I*. To cut down with scissors, to mow. See L. 39 B.

About the primitive
I4. To draw, to drag; Forms several
compounds, for ex.

I*. A crooked arrow, a dart, kept by a thread, to kill

birds. In the modern writing, the hook was changed
in t o a point; and that represents the thread or the
action of drawing the arrow back, became . It forms
the 56th radical in K'ang-hsi.

I4. To draw. See L. 50 F. — Phonetic series 213.

The same in ti4, L. 135 G. — in pa2, L. 134.A.

1 1
In hsi , L. 92 B. — IN cheng , L. 49 D, whe-
re became in the modern writing.

inverted gives

I4. To drag; Is found in

Yu2. To drag, to trail. See L. 50 G.

34 Etymological Lessons. 9.10.


About the primitives i1 and ya2.

I1. Germination; it represents the germ that strives
to get out; Hence,
general notion of movement, of effort. Cyclical charac-
ter. To be distinguished from B;
— It is the 5th radical. Among its derivati-
ves, note L. 90 B, L. 129 A, and
Shih1. To let slip from the hand, to lose. See
L 48 B. — Phonetic series 155.

Ya2. Swallow, It represents the jerking

flying of this bird, . To be distinguished
from A; —Phonetic series 1. Logical
aggregates, , L. 94 A, B, etc. The modem wri-
ting is

Ya2 Swallow, the jerking bird. See L. 138.

Note: The scribes often write as an abbreviation of

intricate compounds. In
that case, it is n either i1 nor ya2, but a conventional sign. For instance, for
, etc.


About the primitive and its two important compounds, and , with their
series; then about the derivatives , a group apart .
Yin3. Curve; to cover, to conceal;

First series: combined with — ( L . 1), gives

Hsi3. Chest, trunk, box;
Therefore — represents the cover, the chest
or the action of containing. —It is the 23th radical. —
Note the next derivatives:
Etymological Lessons. 10. 35
Lou4. Shut up, in a confined space;
As in a cliest. It forms the compound
, mean, ugly ; perhaps cave-dwelling moun-
taineers (L. 86 A). — As the engravers often take off
a part of , to make room for , this character
might seem to be derived from (L. 41 A), which
it is not.
Ni4. To hide, to ahseoud; —
(L. 46 G) meaning to collect, to gather, the ag-
gregate means, to gather and to hide in a chest. Pho-
netic series 639.
Note. The derivatives of Hsi, the 23th radical, are to be distinguished from those
of Fang, the 22th radical. In the ancient writing, the two series were distinct; in
the modern writing, they are mingled together. See L. 5t A, and the Lexicon by
order of Radicals.

Second series: combined w i t h (L. 15), gives

Wang2. Primitive meaning, to hide;
Now meaning to enter, means to en-
ter into a hiding place. Derived meanings, to die, to
perish, to van ish. — Phonetic series 35.

Cha4. It is , plus . But

the line representing an obstacle, as in (L.1,I),
the meaning of cha is, to try to hide one's self and to
be hindered. Hence the modern meanings chuan-chu,
suddenly, unexpectedly. — Phonetic series 102. See L.
37 G.
Kai4. To beg, a beggar; A
wandering man, who seeks a refuge in a foreign
country, begging alms for his livelihood;
See L. 54 A. In the old
form, and were in juxtaposition; then co-
vered . Note the fanciful modern contractions of
this character.- It forms an important compound
See L. 73 A.
36 Etymological Lessons. 10

Sang1. Etymologically.
to weep over the dead; funerals. This compound
is a typical picture of the Chinese thing which it me-
ans: to howl with several mouths, as dogs do,
over a dead person. Meanings chuan-chu, to die,
to destroy. Note the contraction of the lower part of
the modern character.

Wu2. A multitude
(L 24 H) of me", acting upon a forest, felling
the trees, clearing of wood a tract of land. In the old
form J, stated t h a t the wood had vanished. Hence
chuan-chu the general abstract notions of vanishing,
defect, want, negation. — Phonetic series 718.

Note. The study of this second series, E F G H I J, proofs wit h evidence that it
is impossible to understand the characters, if one attends only to the modern forms,

Third series : combined w i t h ten (L.-24), and eye (L. 158), gives
the interesting following compounds :

Chih2. Perfectly right, n o t curved in the l e a s t ;

The eyes h a v i n g looked
at something, d id not discover a n y deviation. Pho-
netic series 335. — N o t e t h e r i g h t way of w r i t i n g t h i s
character. The modern engravers cut , so that one
may believe it is composed of two strokes . The scri-
bes often change it in to a single horizontal line ,etc.

Chen1. Perfectly t r u e ; So-

mething having been exposed on a pedestal, ten
eyes could not find a n y f a u l t in it... The of the pe-
destal was mingled w i th the lower p a r t of . Perfect genuineness of nature
b e i n g the characteristic of the Taoist Genii, the scope at which the Taoist
transformation (L. 30 D) of man aims, the Taoisls replaced by at the
top of chen (contraction). The calligraphic remarks
made about , are to be made here also. — Phonetic series 509.
Etymological Lessons. 10. 11. 37
Te . The rectitude of the,
heart. In modern writing, the was bent down
to gain room (L. 158 A), the is often reduced to
a small horizontal stroke. — It forms the compound
te2, moral conduct ( L. 63 A) directed by a
righteous heart, righteousness, virtue. — Another
compound is

T'ing 4 Rectification
of the h e a r t heart of a disciple (L. 81 0) or an
aud itor, by his ear (L. 146 A). To hear, to listen,
to be attentive, to conform to instruction, to obey...
ting is also phonetic. — It forms the compound
T'ing 1. From shelter and to hear. An open
hall, used for meetings, teaching, official proclama-
tions (L. 59 J ).

Hsiao1 has n o thin g in common with this series.

See LL. 12 N, a n d 160 A.

Lesson 11.

about , three series perfectly distinct in the ancient writing, but

mingled together in the modern writing.

First series: hsun4. Before s t u d y i n g this primitive, one must explain

Fei1. To fly. A primitive. It represents a crane (very
common in China) seen from behind. Upwards, the
head a n d the neck bent u p , as when the cranes arc
flying. Below, the tail. On both sides, the wings
fluttering. The small strokes represent the q ui ll s se-
parated when the bird is flying.
— It is the 183th radical in K'ang-hsi. That
being granted, one may now explain

Hsun4. To hover. A primitive. Compare with A. The

crane is hovering; its wings do not flutter. The feathers
being close together, are not visible;
— Phonetic series 20. Note the
38 Etymological Lessons. 11.
Shih 1 . Formerly, it meant the mosquito, the hove-
ring insect, forming swarms, that bites men ;
Now this character means a louse. Note its
abbreviated form t h at it commonly called
pan4 feng1, half wind. However (L. 21 B) has no-
t hing in common with . See also hsu4, below G.

Second series: Chi*. Is derived from the p r i m i t i v e

Chi*. To catch. This primitive is found only in one
compound, with the hand (L i8), which gives

Chi*. To do, to hold. It represents the hand doing or

keeping something; forms
important compounds in which it is nearly always
wrongly shaped. The scribes write (as above B), or
(as below J), or (L 21 ), etc. See shu2, L.
4 2
75 E; i , L. 79 K; chih , L. 102 G; lo3, L
74 B;etc.

K'ung3. To do a work (L. 82 A), by pressing or

knocking; Notice the com-
pounds k'ung3, pulsations of the heart, fear;
and chu , to build a clay-wall by battering mud
betwen boards a n d mats. — Phonetic series
226, u n d er its modern form.

Hsu4. The e n d of t h e night, before d a w n ; the time

for oblations a n d sacrifices;
Lit. To present one's self before dawn, when
it is still night, while holding one's ofl'ering for
sacrifice. — In the modern form, mutilated covers
Compare with feng1 denived from fan2,L. 21 B.

Inverted, forms
Chu2. To seize, to hold;
This ancient form is no longer used and was replaced

by .
Etymological Lessons. 11. 12. 39

Both combined form

Tou4. To seize each other, to fight;
— It is the 191th radical in K'ang-hsi, not
to he confounded wi th the 169th radical.

Third series. wan2.

Wan2. A p i l l , a n y t h i n g round. Often used for the
preceding . It is chai3 i nverted (L. 59 E). — The
deri vatives of (phonetic series 34) are to he distin-
guished from those of (L. 21; phonetic series 19).
It is sometimes difficult to make the distinction.


Tins lesson contains three series, , a n d an appendix.

First series: chuan3.

Chuan3. Small water course, rivulet;

A primitive. Forms some important compounds,

Shui 3 . Water, small river; The four strokes

added to the rivulet represent the waves of the water.
See L. 125. — It is the 85lh radical in K'ang-hsi.

Yu1. Primitive meaning, to sound a ford. A man

crossing writer, holding with the hand a
stick ( L. 43 [)), s o u n d i n g t he river with a stick;
An ancient form is
s i m p l y composed of
water and to sound. —
Chuan-chu the place where one is going. Often used chia-chieh as a relative
pronoun. — Phonetic series 318, in which the radical is placed under
etc. In these compounds. may be easily taken for the
radical; in real Ry is but a part of the phonetic. The small stroke at the
right of is what remains of in the modern writing. — Note that has no
relation with this character; it is an arbitrary abbreviation of pi4, pei4 (L. 54
40 Etymological Lessons. 12.

Second series: kuai4. It is doubled

Kuai 4. A river, a stream larger than
This character, now obsolete, was replaced
by . — Forms some compounds, for instance

Lin2. A torrent (L. 126 D).

Yu2. A boat ( L. 14 F).

Note that engravers substitu te for the character ,

easier to be engraved.
But being also an abbreviation lor , the l8th radical, this double employ of
the same sign brings confusion.

Third series: ch'uan1. It is repeated thrice.

Ch'uan 1 . A river, a bi g stream formed by the junc-
tion of several others;
Note the differences in the modern writing. — It is the
47th radical. P honetic series 18 Note the following

Lieh4. Bubbles; The phonetic is not

hsi4 ( the 36th r ad ical), as the modern character
might suggest; it is tai3 (the 78th radi c al) contrac-
ted, It forms the i m p o r t a n t compound lieh4 (L.
52 D).

Yung1. Moats. In
the w r i t i n g ta-chuan, instead of i4, city ( L . 74 C),
there was , representing circumvallations (L. 90 G);
— It forms the compound

Yung1. Wagtail; the bird that likes the sides

of moats . This character is the important
phonetic 769, under its modern contracted form
( takes the place of , and
Of . See L. 74 C, and the series hsiang1, L. 26 M.
Etymological Lessons. 12. 41
C hi n g . The u nd e r gr ou n d water courses, so i m p o r -
tant in the Chinese geomancy feng-shui.
currents of water that flow under the surface
of the ground (L. 1 . 1 ) . The p ho n eti c is not kung1
(L. 82), as the modern character m i g h t induce one to
believe, it is t'ing2 (L. 8l D). The primitive
meaning was perhaps to ex a mi n e the underground
veins. — Phonetic series 262.
Tsai 1 . A ct u al mean in g chuan-chu, calamity, misfor-
tune; . Primitive
A river barre d (L. 1 ,3 ) , which causes t he
c a l a m i t y of i n u n d a t i o n . The character now used to
mean calamity, is the c o m p o u n d , t h a t represents
indifferently either a flood ( water), or a fire (
fire). Note moreover the n ext compound:
Tzu 1 . Grounds uncultivated,
exposed to floods;
One writes now Th
character tzu1
must be carefu lly distinguished
from tzu1 (L. 150) t h a t forms th e phonetic series
406. The two have no co n n e ct i o n whatever. — The
engravers o ft en cu t , instead of , because it is
easier; hence the c o n f u s i o n of series.

H uang 1 . Devastation, ravage caused by the

rivers; , See L 10 E. - It forms.
H u a ng 1 . Wild, barren, drought,
a co nsequence of inundations for
the, plauts. Phonetic series 536.

K'an3. Incorr uptible uprightness,

inflexible rigidity
of principles;
Fidelity ( , an ancient
form of ) to one's principles, constant as the
current of a river. See L. 25 H.

Chou1 Main lands inhabita ble (iles or continents),

surrounded by waters. The lands are represented by
three points in the modern writin g , and by three
rounds in the old writing. This character was composed of two superposed.
— Phonetic series 187.
42 Etymological Lessons. 12. 13.

Appendix: In a l l the f o l l o w i n g characters, is not ch'uan, hut it represents

the hair. Nevertheless they are nearly all classified under the 47th radical.

See L 40 B.

Tzu3. Different wr iti ng of , a child horn with hair.

See L. 94 A.

T'u2. The l a st inverted. P r i m i t i v e sense, partus ce-

phalicus, t h e h a i r y head coming first. See L. 94 F.

Shou 3 . A h a i r y head. See L. 160 A

Hsiao1. The last inverted. Head of a criminal h u n g

up, as a lesson; the h a i r h angs down. See LL 160 A,

Oh'ao 2 . A bir d' s nest u p o n a ( r e e , t h e b i r d covering

it; The at the
top ot a tree is the. nest (a p r i m i t i v e , a n d not both
hands (1, 50, A ) ; represent s t h e feathers o f t h e bird
brooding on the nest. N ote t ha t this character has
n o t h i n g in common w i t h kuo3 (L. 110 F), though
t h e engravers a l w a y s c u t it in t h a t way. — Phonetic
series 594.


About the p r i m i t i v e
Ch'ui2. An object suspended, a pendant; with its

First series: doubled . It is f o u n d in

Shan .
A thief bringing under his arms stolen things ( a
ma n , L. 60 A). It forms the compound
Shen3, the name of the Province of Shen-si.
Etymological Lessons. 13. 43

Lai2. represents bearded ears of

corn hanging
down, ; the other part of the
character is a primitive, representing the plant. A sort
of bearded barley, which constituted the main food of
the people und er the Dynasty. This character now
means chia-chieh to come, the contrary of to go.—
Phonetic series 374. Note the following derivatives:
Mai 4 . It is composed of and
of (the 35th radical) to ad-
vance; ripening corn. Now, ei-
ther barley or wheat, according to HIP times, the pla-
ces, or the epithet added to it. — It is the 199th radi-
cal of a group of characters relating to corn.
Sbe4. Primitive sense, corn
gathered in the barn;

; this character is now written . Meaning chuan-

chu, thrift, parsimony; for the. countrymen are not
inclined to waste corn that cost them so much labour.
— Note how, in the modern character, the bottom of
and the top of were blended into a —...
Phonetic series 755.

logical aggregate. A dog (
L. 134) that s hows his teeth, the
points of which are. represented by instead of
(page 16, notice 1) . It forms the phonetic compound
yin4, to desire, to ask, etc.

Note: chia4, to pinch (L. 27 F); tsu2, soldier (L. 16 M ) ; as well as

different others (27 B C D E), have nothing in common with the primitive
which is spoken of here.

Second series: A repealed twice and superposed . It represents

the hair of the eye-brows, in the hanging fruits in

Mei2, eye-brow, L. 7 A. T'iao2, to bear fruit, L 41 E

44 Etymological Lessons. 13.

Third series: repeated four times . Note t h e arbitrary deformation of

the modern forms in this series

Ch'ui2. A bough loaded with leaves and drooping

flowers; This character,
now obsolete, was superseded by the n ex t compound,
its synonym and homophone

Ch'ui 2 . To hang, to be suspended from. It is the last

character combined with t'a3, the earth (L. 81), the
leaves hanging down towards the earth. — Phonetic
series 485.

Hua 1 . Flower;
The vernal expansion ( L . 58 E) of lea-
ves a n d flowers. In t h e second a n c i e n t ch ar act er,
is a r adical r e d u n d a n c e (L . 78 B) . — P h o n e t i c series
687. -- The modern character , means the term of
vegetal ev olut i on, t h e flower ( L . 30 D).

Ch'a4. Divergency, error, etc. It is a logical aggregate.

See L. 46 C, where this character was f ully explai-
ned. — Phonetic series 500.

SU Pongee, silk obtained from the cocoons of
wild silkworms, collected on the boughs of mulber-
ries. Chuan-chu, na tur a l, sim ple. — Phonetic series

K u a i 1 . It represents the torso, back view. The verti-

cal l i n e is t h e spine, represents the muscles on
each side, — represents the waist;

— It forms

Chi2. Spine, back ( L. 65).

Etymological Lessons. 13. 14. 45

So far, all is right. But there wat a n ot h e r

Kuai 1 . Odd. singular, irregular. See L 103 C.

The scribes confounded these two kuai1. So well defined and

distinct in the
ancient writing, and they formed the single modern character , which resembles
neither of them. Now one may read in K'ang-hsi,
under the arbitrary radical kuai, spine, odd,
Who is to blame, if the students not forewarned, find Chinese
characters absurd
and inexplicable?


A b o u t the p r i m i t i v e a n d its more i m p o r t a n t derivatives.

Three series,

Chi2. Notion of union, of assemblage, of a junction

of different elements, represented by three lines. Three
is used to mean m a n y ; . A primitive,
w h i c h is n o w c o m m o n l y superseded by t h e character
chi2 ( L . 119 G ) . It forms

First series;
Ho2. U n i o n , a g r e e m e n t , h a r m o n y ;
many ( t h r e e ) mouths ( L . 72) speaking together;
good understanding. — Phonetic series 198. — Note
the two following compounds:
Ta2. Vetch, pea, vegetables
whose boughs are joined, get
entangled. Chuan-chu, to join,
to adapt, to answer. In the last
sense, this character is now
written , which is unautho-
rised. — Phonetic series 570.
Yen3. To j oin the hands
to cover so mething; to cover.
See L. 47 L — Phonetic series
46 Etymogical Lessons 14.

She . A shed, a booth;
Joining of walls in beaten earth
and of thatch (LL. 74 and 78). In its modern form,
this character seems to be derived from (L. 102 C,
1 3 5 t h radical), under which it was classified by
K'ang-hsi. Rut there is no relation whatever between
both. It forms the compound she , to part with,
to reject, and the logical aggregate
Yu . I. me;
Comp osit io n :
to distinguish (L. 1 8 ) ;
contracted, being replaced by
. The Chinese
custom requires that anyone enteri ng a house,
should make known his presence and distinguish
hi ms el f from any other person by c r yi ng o u t : It is
I, so and so, who comes for such a n d such a purpose.»..
A man entering a house and k e e p i n g silence, is liable
to suspicion. — P h o n et i c scries 3 1 9 It forms the,
phonetic complex
Ch'a . T e a ; The
modern s c r i b e s m u ti l a t e d the an-
cient form. — Phonetic series 507.

Hui . To gather, a me eting ;
To order , to add (contracted,
L. 40 D). The ancient c haracter was simpler;
To assemble
a multitude represented by three. — Phonetic
scries 736.

Ch'ien . Meeting, together; . From
to gather, from several men, from
several mouths. It is a w e l l k n o w n fact t h a t a Chinese
cro wd cannot keep silent. — Phonetic series 726.

Yu A small boat, a primitive barge;
Junction of a few planks,
forming a bout , to go up the river (L. 12 D).
Note for (. L. 66). Note also t h a t the engravers
often cut instead of , which wrongfully reminds
of the 18th radical (L. 52). — Phonetic series 501.
Etymological Lessons. 14. 47

Lun2. To gather documents (L. 156), to com-

pare, to me ditate, to develop them ;
— Phonetic series 380.

Yao4. This character, w hich is much like the

precedin g, is not derived f r o m it.

A flute, a p a nd ea n pipe. Assemblage of se-

veral bamboos, the holes of w hic h are disposed in
a row, and t h a t gives sounds together;
Now, accord, h a r m o n y , in g e n e r a l. — It is
the 214th radical of characters r e l a ti n g to pipes a n d si-
m i l a r instruments. — Phonetic series 835.

Note, th e two f o l l o w i n g charact ers: ling 4 , decree;

a n d its compou nd by the. a d ditio n of a month,
ming , order. T h e r e is a dif ference b e twe e n th em.
: to lix upon a written
order t h e seal ( L. 55 B) w h i c h m a k e s it a w r i t of
exe cution. ; an order gi-
ven orally. — In t h e
philosophical language, m eans the decree by which
h e a v e n c a l l s men to life, a n d d e t e r m i n e s t h e ir f a t e . Two
a n c i e n t characters expre ss this m e a n i n g w e l l :
mouth of heaven d i c t a ti n g to a man h is d e s t i n y b e t -
ween heaven a n d earth (L . 2 D ) . . . combining
of t h e destiny of a man.

Phonetic series 135.

J Note. In the modern w r i t i n g , may be easily confounded with

11th radical, L 15), ( 12th radical, L 18), ( 9 t h radical, L. 25) placed
on the. top of a compound K'ang-hsi arbit r aril y classified under
under , etc. But the horizontal li n e of , some vestige of
which generally remains, is the test t h a t manifests t h e mistake. Its presence is
indicative of a derivative from . — See L. 15 B.
48 Etymological Lessons. 14.
Second series; . This character is put apart from the derivatives of ,
on account of its many and important sub-derivatives.
Chin 1 . The actual moment; notion of actuality, of
The composition is taulologic; union,
contact. Note that is often written . For the old
forms of chi2, see L. 19 E — Phonetic series 17. It

Han2, hen2. To hold in the mouth ( to have actually

in the mouth);
Meaning chuan-chu, to co ntain, to shut up. — Pho-
netic series 272. — It is d istinct from yin2, to
mutter, which is composed of the same elements.

T'an1. To covet;
The feeling moved by the presence precious
object Its phonetic compounds are unimportant.

Nien4. To remember, to th i n k again o f ;

, To make actually present
to the heart, to the mind, a fart of the past.
Derived meanings, to speak of, to recite, to read; these
actions reviving, making actual, the idea of a thing
passed or absent. — Phonetic series 385.

Yin3. wine (L. 41 G), new. It forms

Yin3. To d r i n k ; to water. This character is now

written ,a wrongly chosen compound, for it means
to wish for food. There were formerly three chara-

Yin3. To have water in one's presence ; to


Yin3. To have food at one's disposal ; to eat.

Yin3. To wish for wine: to drink.

The first character, which was the right one, became
obsolete. An element was taken from each of the last
two. Thus was made the irregular character
Etymological Lessons. 14. 49

Yin 1 . Cloudy weather;

Lit. There are actually clouds
(L 93 A). In the dualist system, yin denotes the
inferior pri nc iple (obscurity ), by opposition to
yang the superior princ i pl e (light). The compounds
and are now used. yin1, the shady Northern
watershed of a v a l l e y ; yang2, the s u n n y South
watershed . See L. 86 A.

Ch'en1. The sharp pike of a mountain (L. 80). It

is a phonetic complex; — Phonetic
series 253.

Ch'in 2 . A phonetic complex. See L. 23 E.

Ch'in2. A phonetic comp lex. See L. 83 B. Note the

Third series:

Chin 1 . Metal. According to the Chinese geology, the

metals are born from the earth. Hence the
In the hosom of the earth , two grains or
nuggets of gold; is phonet ic . The bottom stroke of
is combined w ith the top of , and is sometimes
in verted, as stated above K. This interpretation was
made by Li-ssu. — The old character was composed of
four nuggets, of horizontal lines denoting the stratifi-
cation of the metalliferous layer, and lastly of a cover
which meant that the whole was conceited under
the earth. Evidently a primitive. — It
is the 167th radical of a group of characters describing
metals and their uses.
50 Etymological Lessons. 15.

About ll>e primitive and its derivatives.
Ju3. To enter, to put in, to penetrate into;
The character represents
the penetration of roots into the earth ; the vertical
l i n e representing the plant, the two descending lines
denoting the roots. It is the reverse of ch'u1, to go
out (L. 78 E), that represents a plant growing
upw ards; — It is the 11th radical.
Ch'uan . Complete, entire, perfect. The etymologists
give two different interpreta tions of this character:
1. The ol d one : The work
(L. 82) is ordered , linished, complete, perfect.
According to this etymology, is derived f r o m
(L. 1 4 ) a n d not f r o m The b ot tom stroke of is
c o m b i n e d together w i t h the t o p stroke of
2. The modern one:
A jade (L. 83) spotless, perfect; would he
an abbreviation of yen3 (L. 117 B) , used as a
phonetic. This unli ke ly supposition is of Li-s su.
Ph o netic series 192, u n d e r its present Conn.
N ei l To enter, interior, into;
See chiung3, t he outside, L. 34
A. — Phonetic, series 74. It forms
O4. Na4 To speak in a whisper, as it were i nt o
one's month.
Note the mod ern form contracted. Taken for (the
c o m p o u n d for t h e sim p le, p. 16, I ) , it forms t h e two
following characters:
Yu4. To penetrate into , to
pierce with a sharp instrument
( L. 95 C). — Phonetic series 720.
Hsi1. Swallow;
A bird
that builds its nest within
the dwel lings (a thing common in China); (and not
, as the modern cha-
racter might induce to believe) represents the head (L. 78 A), says the Glose. It
m a y b e so; it seems probable however that represents the grass with which
the swallow stuffs its nest. — Phonetic series 840. is a wrong abbreviation of
this character (see L. 87 C).
Etymological Lessons. 15. 16. 51

The following character is d e r i v e d from , a n d not from . It is formed by

combination and fusion of and . The mouth at the bottom of the
compound, belongs to (L. 73 C).

Shang 1 . To give advice, to consult, 1o deliberate;

To express , one's interior feelings.
In t h e old c h a r a c t e r there, were two d a y s added,
which proves that the deliberations of old,
were n o t shorter t h a n the p re s e n t t i m e onos; they
p r o b a b l y took place d u r i n g the n i g h t , betw een two
days, ju st as now; —
In the sense of trade, is chia-chieh for its com-
pound w ith (L. 161, cowry, the money of the an-
cients), trade, being made with talk and money.
The Glose says so.
E In the modern writing, became on the top of wang2 (L. 10 E),
lin3 (L. 76 B); and in erh3 (L. 18 0). — Two are a part of the
character liang "(L. 35 H I).


About the primitive

I 1 . Clothes, a cover, cloak. The summary outlines of
c lothing. On the tup. the, u p p e r garments a n d sleeves,
At the bottom, the robes wavin g a n d
d raggling, — It is t h e 145th
r adical of a large group of characters relating to
garments. The phonetic complexes are not important;
note i1, to rely on, to trust to. Note the modern
contracted form, and compare it with that of
113th radical (L. 3 D).

Note. In composition, has three positions. — 1. One the l e f t side of the cha-
racter. It is then contracted u n d e r the form . — 2. on the top or at the bottom,
it is then unchanged. — 3. Cut i n t o two halves, on the top, at the bottom,
the phonetic being introduced between the two. These characters are n o t to be
confounded with those belonging to th e 8th radical is the test; a n y
one sees at the bottom of a compound, the n it is a derivative of 145th ra-
dical, not of 8th radical. — 4. Note also that in some characters, as a conse-
quence of the fusion with an element placed on the top, the upper part of is
quite altered in the modern forms. The lower part has also been altered in the
character (L. 16 M).
52Etymological Lessons, 16.

Examples of the four remarks.

Note the fo ll o wi ng derivatives;

Ch'u1. Beginning;
A knife and garments; for, says the Glose, the
cutting is the first thing required to make clothes.
. This is quite true!

Nai 1 . To bewail, to lament;

Howling of t h e mourners clad in m o u r n i n g

Shuai1. So1. Straw-clothes against rain ;

(See L. 116). This character is
now written — The modern meaning, decay, is
chia-chieh for , cachexy from malaria, slow
ex haustion caused by the marsh-fever, the disease
of the rainy countries. -- Phonetic series
un der its modern form.

C hung 1 . P ri mitive sense, th e under-garments :

clolhes, inside (L. 109);
Then, by extension, the inside of man, the feelings
of his heart, fidelity.

Kun 3 Official robe of

the Emperor, adorned
w ith dragons; .
See L. 18 C.
Note the modern form. —
Its phonetic complexes
are not important, v. g.
kun3, to bubble.

The two followin g characters a re to be c a r e f u l l y


Li3. The inside, the lining of clothes,

Then, in general, interior, inside. is a
synonym. See L. 149 D.
Ko3. To tie up. Note that
lo naked, composed of the same elements, is neith er
an homophone nor a synonyme. See L 120.F.
Etymological Lessons. 16. 53

Hsiang 1 . To take off one's ,robe

, in or d e r to work in common, to help t h e others.
See (L. 72 H) the radical nang2, intricate and unrecog-
nisable in the modern writing. — Phonetic series 831.

Huai 2 . To tie the clothes tight round the body; to

hide in one's bosom; See (L. 100 C) the
phonetic tai V — Phonetie series 820.

Piao3. The outside of the clothes (compare above G).

The first garments were beasts'skins worn with
the ha ir outside;
L. 100. — Phonetic series 389.

Yuan2. Trailing robe;

About , contracted a n d combined with , see L,
91 E. — P h o n e ti c series 587. It forms the phonetic

Huan 2 . Timid looks;

See L. 158. — Phonetic, series 734, u n der Its modern
coutracled form.

Tsu2. Soldier, satellite; A

gar me nt , marked with a sign. The u n if o r m of
the a n c i e n t Chinese soldiers, viz. an ordinary garment
w i t h an indicative m a r k ; Then, by
e x te n si o n , t h e man who wears the uniform, a soldier,
a satellite. Lastly, a sudden a n d unexpected accident,
end, death; th e soldiers, says th e Glose, being unceas-
ingly laid open to surprises a n d to death in their
fights against the enemies and against the w i l d beasts.
— Note the alteration of the two modern forms, —
Phonetic series 403.
54 Etymological Lessons 17.


About the prim itive a n d . in an appendix, about some characters t h a t might

seem to be d e r i v e d from it, b u t t h a t do n o t do so in reality.

Pi ng 1 . To freeze, ice;
It represents t h e rays t h a t
a p p e a r by crystallisation at the sur face of water when
it is freezing. — It. is the. !5th r a d i c a l of characters
r e f e r r i n g to cold, freezing, a n d ice. It forms.

Ping 1 . Ice; water crystallised;

— The scribes often
write , whic h is an u n a u t h o r i s e d form. This is not
to be c o n f o u n d e d w i t h yung3 (L 125 D)

Y e h 3 To f u s e m e la l s, solidification of the melted

See L. 85 E

T i a o 1 . T a k e n by fr o st , e x h a u s t e d , fading, d y i n g ;
See L. 109 C.

This character suffered f r o m m a n y f a n c i f u l alterations

in t h e course of ages. Its t r u e s o u n d is p ' i n g 2 . It
m e an s a horse s l i p p i n g on ice, nervous, a n -
xious. It forms the homophone derivative
P'ing2. Anxiety of the heart.

Now 1. The first of these, two characters was misused, as

an abbreviation, for the
f a mi l y nnme feng2. 2. The second was misused and written (chia-chieh) for
p'ing , proof, evidence, to lean upon. Then the scribes semi-repaired the
mistake, which change gave b i r t h to the new character p'ing 2 , proof, etc.
Etymological Lsssons 17 55

Tung1. Winter. It forms chung 1 , end, extremity, term.

Before explaining these characters, the primitive must be dealt with.

Chung . 't represents a
thread skein, the extremity of which is fixed by a tie
or a brooch, to keep it closed. Hence two notions, end
and fixation. — Compare L. 83 B. This character,
in its modern form, is to be distinguished from the
34th, 35th, 36th, 66th radica ls of K'ang-hsi. Now let
us come back to

Tung1. Winter
The frozen end of the year. The old character
meant cessation of the solar action, confinement
of the sun; For,
says the Glose, must be interpreted as in

Lao2, a paddock: oxen confined, In the

modern w r i t i n g . was changed into by the

Now Chung1 replaced t he pr i m i t i v e . , in the sense of end, extremity, term.

ln the f ollowing characters, is a special primitive,
that has nothing in common with . It means
thongs, folds, in G H I .J; scales, streaks, in K.
Ju 4 jou 4 . Me at, flesh. .Thongs of
dried meat , made up into a bundle (L. 54). The
anc ien t Chinese were used to dry-salt meat, without
smoking it. The pay of a school-master is still called
shu-hsin, because he was formerly paid with
dried meat. See L. 65. — It is t he 130th radical
of many characters rel ating to meat and food. Note
the derivative
Tsu3. Credence-table charged with meat, that was
offered in the sacrifices;
See L. 20 D. K'ang-hsi wrongfully classified this
character under the 9th radical
Etymological Lessons. 17.

Ch'iao 4 . The top lip. flesh above t he mouth

ft forms the phonetic complex

Ch'iao*. To restrain on'es

desires. There are various chia-
See L. 55 B This character is now written ;
it is a licence. It forms the phonetic complex
chiao3 the feet. — Distinguish ch'iao4 from ku3
(L. 18 E ) ; the modern writing of both is identic.

T'ien4. This character matches with the preceding.

It means the chin, flesh below the mouth (a
line between the two lips closed ).
The circle depicts the chin-dimple. See L. 41 B.

Hsi2. Thongs of flesh drying or dried in the

sun; Chia-chieh,
formerly, in days of old, ancient; or perhaps chuan-
chu, the dried meat being old, if compared with the
fresh meat. The second ancient form, which is incor-
rect, recalls (L 103 C). The modern form is con-
tracted. — Phonetic series 358. It forms the phonetic
Chi2. Field ploughed by the
Emperor. Appanage. Property.—
Phonetic series 770.

Yu2. Fish. See L. 142 A. Here represents the

scales. A sharp head, a scaly body, a tail represented
by (L. 126 C), makeup a fish. The modern character
is contracted. — It is the 195th radical of names and
parts of fish.

Chiao3. Horn. See L. US B. It would be the

preceding, less the tail. For, says the Glose, a
horn resembles a fish. It seems rather to be that
is a primitive, representing the streaks of the
horns. — It is the l48th radical.
Etymological Lessons. |g 57


About the primitive , and its derivative , which forms an important group.

First series:
Pa1. Etymological sense, to d ivide, to partake. It is a
primitive representing the division in two parts, the
separation; This character
now means eight, this number being easily divided
into two equal parts (note that four, a square, is a
kind of unity in the Chinese reckoning). — It is the
12th radical. Phonetic series 8. — In the compounds,
placed on the top of the character, is sometimes
reduced to two points in t he modern writing, v.g.
for . Most of the characters having at the bottom
in the K'ang-hsi dictionary, as ,
have really nothing in common with this primitive.
— Note the following derivatives:

Fen1. To divide, to separate, to partake;

(L 52) t h a t divides. Phonetic series 58 It forms
P'in2. Poverty, pecuniary
difficulties. That to which leads
the partition of goods;

was the money of

th e ancients(L. 161 ). The ancient
form is still more expressive;
to partake. Note t h a t the heritage being
equally divided among the male offspring, and the
Chinese families c o unti ng many members, poverty
follows the partition.

Kuug1. Common. Division and distribution of

private goods (L. 89 A);
By extension, justice,
implying a treatment equal for all; while ( L. 71Q)
means justice in the sense of a kind, decent
treatment. — Phonetic series 68. It forms the phonetic
58 Etymological Lessons. 18.

Sung1. The fie- tribe;

— Phonetic
series 394.

Hairs or feathers in the neck.
The modern m eaning, old man,
sir, is a chia-chieh; the characters and were
chosen to denote, appellations of politeness which
existed before;
Phonetic series 584. See. kun2, L. 16 F, etc.

Pan4. To divide in two by the middle, equa ll y;

a half;
Etymologically, to divide an ox in two parts,
in all its length, as the, butchers do, hefore the
c u t t i n g up. — Phonetic series 144. K'ang-hsi w r o n gl y
classified this character under the radical

Y e n 3 , The ravines, on the m o u nt ains' ridges;

separation and flowing of wate rs ;
. — Phonetic series 169. Note the phonetic
complex ch'uan2, a boat. Distinguish from
pan , I. 66 B. See L. 29 D.

K u 3 . A deep h o l l o w , a gorge, a torrent;

— It is t h e 150th
radical Phonetic series 284. Distinguish ku3 from
ch'iao , L. 17 H. The two are i d e n t i c in t h e modern
wr i t i ng. — It forms

Jung 2 , yung2. To contain, to

Shut up; . From to cover,
and hollow, a recipient;
. Chuan-chu, to endure, to hear,
to compose one's
demeanour, a mask, a face made to
the depths of the heart. — Phonetic series 542.

Ilsun 4. A ravine, a torrent. See L 118 D .

Etymological Lessons. 18. 59
Chieh 4 . Boundaries, limits; the tines that
separate men.
— Phonetic series 42.

Pi2. Certainly, necessarily. An arrow that divides

, t h a t solves a d o u bt , a dilemma;
It seems to have primitiv ely
been a k i n d of interjection pointing o u t a strict order;
There are, different meanings derived
from it. K'ang-h si wrongly classified this character
u n d e r t h e radi cal . — Phonetic series 148. It forms
the phonetic co mplex
Mi4. A quiet retreat (L. 36),
close, still, silen t; . —
P h o n e t i c series 383. It forms
Mi4. A grotto, secret, mysterious
( L . 80); Etc.

Second series:
Hsiao3. Small, trifling, mean; This
idea is represented by the partition of an object
already sm all by its nature;
— It is the 42th radical. It forms

Chien 1 . Point, sharp. A big object (L. 60) that

becomes small on its top It is a vulgar
modern character.

Hsiao4. To he like one's father, not degenerate;

Small flesh , offspring, like the
big flesh, one's parent... pu-hsiao, to be
degenerate; —
Phonetic series 277. In the modern writing, some
derivatives of (L. 65 D) v.g. , seem to be derived
from ; the scribes are the cause of this mistake,
as of so many others.
So3- A smal l object, not larger than the (L.
161) cowries used as money by the ancients.
In that sense, this
character is now written . — Phonetic series 566.
60 Etymological Lessons 18.
Hsi . Chink, fissure very small, that leaves
passage for a sl ender light (L. 88);
Note how the
top of disappeared, by its fusion with the upper
. This character is now replaced by the compound
hsi4, chink, fissure.
Mu 4 . Striped;
This character is derived from the preceding; the
on the top was suppressed, and replaced by (L. 62
A) stripes, added at the bottom. It forms mu4, the
waving of grain; chuan-chu, grace, amenity.

Shao3 Little, few, wanting; It comes

from to diminish that which is already small;

See L 7 A sheng1. — Phonetic series 80 It forms

Sha1. Sediment, gravel or sand
deposed by water.

That which appears, when water

decreases. — Phonetic series 302. It forms
Miao 3 . To contract the
eyelids, or to use one eye on-
ly, in order to examine att ent ively
a subtile object. By
extension, subtle , confused — Phonetic series 465.

Chiao3. Is derived from , and not from .A

sparrow. Lit.
the small bird that lives from the, superfluit y
of m e n; an d , by extension, a n y small bird. Note, tha t
the that reminds of , belongs to . See an
analogous case in ( L. 34 F). — forms
t h e following compound, in which passed through
a still more singular alteration in t he modern writing.
Chieh2. To c ut off;
See 71 F. Not to he
confounded with the
d e r i v a t i v e s of , L. 96 B.

hsing3, see L. 158 D.
Etymological Lessons. 18. 19. 61

Appendix: The following characters have nothing in common with nor

with See L. 36 E, L. 35 F, L 92 A, L. 124 A, L. 75 C,
L. 3 D, L. 59 C, L. 126 E, L. 112 G, L, etc. The following is
derived from and not from

Erh3. A final used as a f u l l stop, equivalent to a

there now, that is done; At
the end of a phrase, the voice is drawn in, and the
reserve of breathing is sent forth;
It is now used
(chia-chieh for L. 35 L) as a personal pronoun,
thou, you. The modern compound is used for the
same purpose.


About the two series and

First series;

Nai3. A primitive. A difficulty of breathing; any

difficulty in general; It is intended
to represent the air curling to make its way through
the wind-pipe. A sigh, a cry. This character, or rather
the sound that is written , is in style an important
connective particle, a , as say the
Chinese etymologists; the
conjunctions being not meaning characters, but exclamations to make the
hearer understand, how that which one is to say, is connected with that which
one has just said — Phonetic series 7. In reality, does not form a series.
Among the derivatives ascribed to it, i Those in nai are arbitrary abbreviations
of more intricate forms, e. g. for nai3, mil k. 2 Those in eng and ing belong
to the phonetic (later on ) jeng1, for which was written from immemorial
time. meant the shrieking gry of a bird surprised on its nest, a meaning
analogous to that of (See L. 41 D, and L. 10 A). Now and being
both read nai, are used one for another, and is the graphic radical of a series
that has no relation whatever with it.
62 Etymological Lessons. 19.

To this character combined with chih3 (L. 31 B), is ascribed the compound
Ying 2 . Note the fusion of the from ,with the
from . Success, h a p p y issue. To get well out of
a difficulty; . It forms with the dish
(L. 157), the compound

Ying2. The
a b u n d a n c e that comes to one when, by one's efforts,
one arrived to fill with provisions one's vessels.

The etymologists give also as a de ri va ti ve of

Yun4. To be with c h i l d , , This derivation
is a fancy one, as the c o m me nt at or s admit. In this
character, is a primitive, that represents the
closing in of t he (L, 94 A) foetus by the womb.

Note. L. 22 C, a n d L. 23 B, have nothing in common w i t h

Second series:

Chi 2 . To reach, to seize, to ca t c h;

hand that seizes a man. Not con-
nected with . — Phonetic series 40. Note the

Chi 2 . An emotion of the heart; with that

which occasionally ensues, haste, zeal, impatience,
hatred, etc. Note how the old form of was preser-
ved in the modern character

E Note: had old forms, primitives, now obsolete, but that may be still found
in compounds. Those forms are

For instance at the bottom of

Chin1. L. 14 K. Shih4. L 34 D.
Etymological Lessons. 20. 63

About the primitive , and its derivative that forms important compounds.

First series:
Chi 4 A seat, a stool; — It
forms the artificial 16th radical. Phonetic series 4.

Ch'u3, ch'u4. To stop in a place, to sojourn; a

place; The
p r i m i t i v e idea is to have found a seat, a place of
rest. In the m o de r n character, hu is a phonetic
redundancy. Compare L. 32 C.

P'i ng 2 . To lean u p , to sit do wn;

(L. 82 C). To lean one's self on a stand.
By extension, moral help, proof, evidence. This cha-
racter is now written or L. 17 E.
Note: is written as an ar b it r ar y abreviation of more intricate phonetics,
e.g. chi1 for dearth, famine.

Second series.
Ch'ieh3. A partial primitive. It was formerly pro-
nounced tsu3 or chu3. It represents a small square
stand, with shelves superposed; this utensil, so
common in China, was primitively used at sacrifices;
the — lower stroke represents the earth. See L.
17 G, the modern form more explicit ( the stand,
the meat placed upon it );
Now changed
its meaning and became (cbia-chieh) an important
conjunction, — Phonetic series HO. It
forms the phonetic complexes

Chu4. To help; To exert one's

strength (L. 53) for others. The fanciful ways of
engravers are the cause why this character is often
mistaken for a compound of the 109th radical. See the
lead cut character here joined. — Phonetic series 264.
64 Etymological Lessons. 20. 21.

Ch'a2. A proper Dame; Chia-chieh for

. to examine, to search. — Phonetic series 420. See
below, note.
Cha1. A proper name; — Phonetic
series 589. See below note.

Note. The engravers fancifully cut the two preceding

characters, F and G, as here joined, which leads one to
mistake them for derivatives from L. 143 B. —
These characters, with their series, would, according
to the Chinese etymologists, origi nate from the Kiang-
su. Hence the ir a n o m a l o u s pr o n u nc ia ti o n. It is an effect
of the dialect. See pp. 15 a n d 16


About the primitive fan2.

Fan2. Idea of generality, of universality;

This character was differently explained by the
philolog ists. — Some, starting f r o m an ancient form
that was probably but an abbreviation, explain:
( a n old form, L 19 E) .
The num-
ber of heaven a n d earth, generalised by ; a l l be i ngs e xi st a n t . — The classi-
cal form of t h e character seems to denote a more, n a t u r a l e x p l a n a t i o n : the
unity, the origin of beings a n d numbers (L. 1 A ), contained in a k i n d of p r i m i t i -
ve, which denotes the generalisation of a p ar ticular case. It is the t r u e n o t i o n of
. — Phonetic series 19. The scribes often write. instead of or (L. 11
E J). See also (L. 11 G ) .

Feng1. The wind; For, says the

Glose, when the wind blows, insects are born;
This composition and interpretation are in the
manner of Li-ssu. —The ancient character was derived
from sun, motion (L. 7 A),
expansion. A l l this seems to mean that the atmos-
pheric currents are produced by the action of solar
rays; which is t r ue for some wind s. — It is the 182th
radical of a group of characters relating to storms,
etc. Phonetic series 439. See ( L. 1 f C).
Etymological Lessons. 21. 22. 65

Feng4. The male phoenix. A modern character;

See the old character, L. 64 I.
P'ei4. Small ornaments made of jade or ivory, scent-
cushions, hanging from the girdle, when full dress is
worn. Anything
worn by a man on the piece of li ne n which,
b eing rolled up, makes a gi r dle (L. 35 A). This cha rac-
ter seems to be of a relatively modern origin.


About the p r i m i ti v e , and its derivative

First series:
Shu2, ch'u2. The j er k y flapping of a short w i n g ;
Then, in general,
any rhythmical and jerky motion. The derivatives of
must be carefully distinguished from those of L.
19, and L. 20; in the modern writing, this distin-
ction is not easy to be made. Forms
Fu2. A wild duck; the bird which flies

To3. The balancing of twigs and flowers. It is used

as a specificative of flowers, i-to hua.
— Phonetic series 240. Note the modern form

Second series;
Shu2, ch'u2. The right hand making a jerky
motion; to strike; . By extension,
a slick, a ferule. — It is the 79th radical. Phonetic
series 51. Note the following derivatives
Shan4; Jerky
motion of the scythe that cuts the grass ; to mow.
60 Etymological Lessons. 22. 23.

Ku3; . The upper part of the

the fleshy part of man's body, upon which the
mandarins of old bestowed the ferule bountifully.
Tien4; . The. great hall of a
tri bunal,
where flogging was given on the breech;
a realistic.but exact description. The modern scribes
write . See L. 32 A.
She4. To notify an order;
to set in order, in the Asiatic way, with many cries
and strokes;

I4. The satellites; those who, being armed with a

wh ip or a bamboo, prowl about every where,
lo o k in g f o r a v i c t i m ;

Other i m p o r t a n t derivatives w i l l bo explained elsewhere, e, g. tuan4 L 164 D,

ch'ing 4 L. 173, pan1 L 66 B Etc.


A b o u t the two p rimitiv es and

First series:
Chiu3. Nine; a numerical sign, without any other
signification; . — Phonetic scries
5. It forms
Hsiu4. This character was made, they say, to be
used as the name of the. founder of the Hou-han
Dynasty, Liu-hsiu. At his birth,
a story says there were found,
hanging down from o ne only stalk,
b e a u t i f u l ears. This phenomenon was regarded as a
presage of the Emperor's future elevation. Hence
This auspicious character
was used to designate the bachelors hsiu-ts'ai,
in imperial times. In t he modern writing, was
changed into (See L. 19 ). — Phouetic series 278.
Etymological Lessons. 23. 67
Second series:
Jou3. The h i n d legs a n d lail of an a n i m a l ; (he track
of an animal's paws a n d rail; a step;
It is a p r i m i t i v e t h a t has n o t h i n g in common
with . — It is th e 114th radical. F o u n d in
Yu2. It represents an insect with a big lail, probably
t h e sc or pion. Name of the c e l e b r a t e d
Emperor who was the f o u n d e r of t h e Hsia Dynasty,
1989 B.C. Sec o u r Textes H i s t o r i q u e s , p. 38. —
Phonetic series 504.
Yu3. M o n k e y ; Its bead,
says t h e Glose, resembles t h a t of t h e d e m o n s ( L 40 C),
a n d its l a i l is a p r e h e n si l e one. Gf. [.. 49 H. —
Phonetic series 503. Note the successive f o l l o w i n g
Li2. A y a k ; th e paws and
the big t a i l ; is an ab bre viati on
of L. 40 C, t h e b ead;
changed i n t o in the modern w r i t i n g , represents
the boms ( G f . L. 136). —
Phonetic, serie s 628.
C h ' i n 2 . it is , the horns
being replaced by the phon etic,
chin1 (L. 14 K ) . W ild ani mal s
by opposition to domesticated a n i m a l s
( b e l o w ). — P h o n e t i c series 728.

Fei4. A big ape. The c h a r a c t e r represents, t h e

head, the. f o u r bands, a nd the t a i l . Note the
successive abbreviations. A c o n t r a c t i o n of t h e las t ,
is considered as the c e n t r a l p a r t of t h e compound

Hsieh 4 . The w h ite a n t ; it forms

A swarm of termites stealing
grain in a storehouse, to eat it. To steal, to act by
stealth, etc. The scribes write in different mauners this intricate character. Note
th a t the form authorised by the is also mutilated. From (L.
24 H) there remains only a . w h ic h leads to confound with (L. 123).
68 Etymological Lessons. 23. 24.

Wan4. A scorpion, The claws , the head

, the tail . This character is now used to write
the number 10000 (chia-chieh); see page 11.
It has
nothing in common with the 140th radical, under
which it was classified by K'ang-hsi. It is not derived
from yu2 (above E), b u t from ch'ai4 L. 47 X. —
Phonetic series 765, that must not be confounded with
the series of . The sound of th e compounds is de-
rived from ch'ai4, a n d not f r o m wan4; e.g. mai4.
Li4. A scorpion

down under a stone (L. 59 A).
Pricking, sharp, bad, cruel, and
other chuan-chu. — Phonetic series 804,

Shou4. The domesticated animals, by opposition to

ch'in3 wild (above E);
On the top two ears, in t h e
middle the head, at the bottom the paws a n d
tail. The second a n c i e n t c h a r a c t e r f r o m w h i c h c a m e
the modern one, is an abbreviation. It forms the
compound shou 4 , flocks or h erds guarded by
dogs. B u t t'o2, c rocodile, has a nother origin. See
L. 72 E.


About the p r i m i t i v e a n d its m u l t i p l e s

First series:
Shih2. T e n
The number that
contains all the other simple numbers (decimal nume-
ration). Symbol of extent (two dimensions) and of the
five cardinal points (East, West, South, North, Centre).
— It is th e "24th radical. Phonetic series 10. Note the
Ghi4. To k n o w how to calculate;
To k n o w how to enounce the ten
numbers of the decimal system. By extension, to
reckon, to plan, a scheme.
Etymological Lessons. 24. 69
Shih4. An affair, a t hi n g;
Because, says
the Glose, ni l things are comprised between the two
terms of numeration, and . By extension, a sage,
a m a n pointed out, by his le arni ng, to become an of-
ficial ( n o w .). — It is the 33th radical. It forms
Chi2. Speach of a sage,
b r i n g i n g l u c k ; good, a us picious,
Com pare hsiung 1 ,
inauspicious, L. 38
D. — P h o n e t i c series 180. See L. 38 G. Compare
L. 165 B, L. 75 B. e t c. Note
Chieh 2 . A phonetic c o m p l e x .
To k e e p one's head straight;
is phonetic. — Phon.ser. 797.
Ch'ien1 . A
th ou san d;
Ten limes one hundred. The hundred is not represen-
ted in th e character. The on the top, an abbr evia-
t i o n of (L. 28), is phonetic says t h e Glose. is
perhaps an old primitive. —
Phonetic series 16. Forms
Nien2. The crop, the h a r v e st ;
thousand grains. By extension, a
year, the. t i m e required for a harvest. The modem
character is an incongnious contraction.
Chang1. A l e n g h t o f ten spans, now of ten feet;
A band and ten
See L. 43 L. — P h o n e t i c series 13.
Ku2. Old;
That which passed through ten
mouths, i.e. a tradition dating back ten generati ons. —
hsieh composed of the same elements means
u n a n i m i t y , ten mouths speaking in unison;
— Phonetic series 132. It forms
Ku*. Hermetically closed on
a l l sides (L. 74).
— Phonetic series 368.
Hu . T h e fetlock of an o x ;
It is
now used a? an interrogative
particle, chia-chieh for — Phonetic scries 450.
Note: ti is not derived from . See L. 120 H.
70 Etymological Lessons. 24.

Chih2. Straight; When

t u n eyes have seen to it, the line must be straight. See
L. 10 K, where this character was f u l l y explained. —
Phonetic series 335.

Note: K'ang-hsi i n c o r r e c t l y classified u n d e r L 46 M,

L 18 D, etc.

Second series: repeated twice ,

Nien 4 . Erh4 shih2 . Twenty;

The tens a d de d O U R to another. In composition, it
O f t e n m e a n s a m u l t i t u d e (L. 10 I). It is l i a b l e to he
confounded with kan 1 (L. 73 B). It forms

K u n g 4 . An a c t i o n d o n e in c o m m o n , a l l t a k i n g p a r t in
i t , represented by twenty pairs ot h a n d s ;
See L 47 Q — P h o ne t i c series 225.

K u a n g 1 . L i g h t , lust er .
P r i m i t i v e l y twenty tires (L 126). The
m o d e r n f o r m r epre se nt s , a man w i t h fire
(L 2 9 ) : p r o b a b l y a man c a r r y i n g a torch T h e a n c i e n t
f o r m was m a i n t a i n e d in a few compounds ( b e l o w L) —
P h o n e t i c series 222 It f o r m s

H u a n g 3 . Brightness of t h e
sun, to dazzle:
— Phonetic series

Huang 2 . Yellow, the hue of

t h e ploughed e a r t h (L. 119);

Note h o w and are mixed up. See t he

derivatives, !,. 17 1 . — It is t h e 201th ra di cal Phonetic
series 688.
Etymological Lessons. 24. 71

Shu4. All the inhabitants of a

gathered around the hearth (L. 126); among the
ancients, the hearth gave light and heat;
Meanings chuan-chu
the familial flock, concubines and children;
the h u m a n herd, the people. Various chia-chieh. —
Phonetic series 615. — Note the following logical
aggregates, in which was replaced by the. radical.

Tu4. To measure, a rule, a

A hand
which counts or
measures a quantity. — Phonetic series 484.

Hsi3. A mat, a meal; because,

in the olden times, people
used to eat, while sitting on
mats, the dishes being placed oil
a mat.
See a napkin, L 35 A.

Third series: repeated three limes;

San1-shih2 Thirty; It

Shih4. A period of thirty years; duration of a man's

active life; an age, a generation;
The vertical stroke of
on the left side is lenghtened, to denote the
prolongation and duration of life. — Phonetic series
157. It forms

Yeh4. The successions of

leaves upon the trees; a leaf
(now ); by extension, a t h i n
plate of metal or
— Phonetic series 494. Compare L.
104 A.
72 Etymological Lessons. 24.25.

Fourth series: repeated four times,

Ssu4-shih2 Forty; Twice

twenty. Some etymologists think this to be the top
part of the following character

Tai4. A girdle, to take along as if worn at the girdle,

to wear; This derivation is an
arbitrary one,
calligraphic, not etymological. is a primitive, while
— means the girdle, and the other part represents
the trinkets (L. 21 D) hanging from thegirdle;
At the bottom, the robes are represented by two
(L. 35), one above the other; — Pho-
netic series 648.

WU . See L. 10 1, where this character was fully
explained. A luxuriant forest destroyed by a
great number of men. It is now an adverb of
negation; no, none, no more. — Phonetic series 718.


Note: The p r i m i t i v e jen 2 , a man, being written in different manners; several

lessons are dev oted to it. Here is a list of them.
jen2 slanding, or put on the side. L. 25
jen2 inverted. L. 26
Multiples of a n d , L. 27
jen 2 on the top of t h e compounds, curtailed. L. 28
jen2 at the bottom of t he compounds. L. 29
jen2 bent down. L. 30 A
jen 2 sitting down. L. 32
jen2 overturned. L. 30 D
jen2 doubled up. L. 54
jen2 moving on. L. 31
jen with arms. LL. 60, 61
Etymological Lessons. 25 73

About the primitive under its two forms, and

Jen2. A m a n . represented by his legs; t h e one. who
stands upright. Compare (L. 60);

— It is the 9th r a d i c al of characters relating to man.

It forms

Ch'iu2 . A prisoner, to emprison ;

A man in an enclosure, L. 74. See
L. 157 C.

Shan3. A man in a
door (L. 129 C ) , moving sideways to give way
to others; by extension, a sudden a n d quick motion
in general.

Shu4. To guard the frontiers; a man with a

spear ( L. 71 F); See
the. c o m p o u n d (L. 90 D).

Fu2. From man and dog (L. 134). A

imitating the dog, or m aking others imitate it. To
crouch, to f a l l or lie prostrate, to hide, to h u m b l e ,
to subject, etc. — Ph o ne ti c series 196.

Wei4. The place where a m a n is standing

erect; t h e place assigned, according to his d i g n i t y , to
each official;
By extension, seat, r an k, person. See
(L. 60 H).

Jen2. The virtue that must unite men to men;

See L. 2 B, where this
character was explained.

Hsin4. True words, and, by extension, the effect

produced by these words upon others, truthfulness,
faith, confidence;
A man and a word. In the
old form, a man and a mouth. In still more
ancient form, a word and a heart; words
coming from the heart and appealing to it.
74 Etymological Lessons. 25. 26.


The taoist Genii;

According to the legends, they live OD the mountains,

hence the modern character , man and mountain.
The etymological meaning is a man who rose,
by the taoist practices, above mortals. (See L. 50 P,
L. 10 L).


About the inverted which is now written (Compare with the old forms,
L. 25 A and 26 B).

Preliminary note: The modern . corresponds to two old primitives. —

1. representsanold instrument, a kind of scraper, of
spoon. This character became soon
obsolete. In the derivatives that remained after it (
etc.) it was written even before the reform of Li-ssu. This explains how,
in the series , one may f i n d several characters th a t mean utensils (below C,
D, M). — 2. i nverted, over-turned. Hence, the significations derived from the
origin of this character; to turn round, to invert, to compare, to join, to match, to
pair (right side and reverse).

Pi3 . To t u r n one's self round, etc. — It

is t h e 21 th radical.

First series: Compounds in which means an object.

Shih2. A spoon, a key. (Phon. L. 112 I).

Ch'ang4. A special liquor, used in the sacrifices, to

induce the shen2 to come down;

A vase (L. 38 E) f u l l of grain

which, when fermented, produced the liquor; at the
bottom, the spoon with which people drew up the
liquor from the vessel. Compare below M. — It is the
192th radical. It forms

Yu4. Oblation of the liquor . See L. 130 E.

Etymological Lessons. 26. 75
Tsan1. A forked brooch used to fix the hair. Now
The character represents a man , with a
brooch on the top.
Note the alteration of the
modern character and try do distinguish it from
wu2 L. 61 C, and from chi4 L. 99 E. Repeated
twice, tsan1 is phonetic in hsun2, a caldron (L. 155),
and in

Tsan1. To murmur;
See L. 73 A. Not to be confounded, either with t'i
(L. 60 L) as many scribes do, or with L. 79 B. —
Phonetic series 709. Note

Tsan2. I, we. This modern character is an arbitrary

abbreviation of . It is used, regardless of the sense,
to write the sound tsan2, a personal pronoun used by
common peopl e in the provinces of the North. Its
derivatives and , much used in the books written
in spoken l angua ge, have no more v a l u e t h a n itself.

must be distinguished from chiu 1 , L. 31 B

Second series: Compounds in which means man, etc.

Pao3. A tithing of ten men. It forms some
phonetic compounds, eg pao3, a bustard, etc.

Ni2. Near, in contact; Morally, intimity.

Etymology, But ( L . 32)
means also, a man. Therefore ni means, two men near
one another. Phonetic series HO.

Nang2. A high dignity, towards which rise the

eyes and desires of men; exalted, to desire;

— Phonetic series 73. Compare yin4, L. 49 I.

Ssu3. Dead, to die;
A man, dead (L. 118 C). Note t. tn the
modern character, the top stroke of is prolonged
and covers . 2. In the ancient form, instead of ,
the inverted form, there is. the straight form.
76 Etymological Lessons. 26

P'in 3 . Etymologically, t h e row thai makes the

pair with the bull. Now mu3 means the male,
and p'in3 the female of a l l kinds of animals. Note
the analogous compound yu1. hind, female of the
lu , stag.

Keng3. Etymologically to t u r n the head.

Then, to turn over, to overthrow, in ge neral ;
There are also a few unusual phonetic
complexes; for these, see tsu 3 , L. 112; and
pi , L. 27 I.

Third series: A special series is ascribed to the f o l l o w i n g compounds of

on account both of the si n g u la r f o r m s wh ic h were give n to t h e m in the modern
writing, and of the importance of their derivatives. In t h e old writing, those
characters were perfectly regular.

Yao3. To t u r n one's back

to the sun; obscure, hidden. It forms yao3,
dark as in a cavern; yao , the South-East
angle, t h e most retir ed place in a house; etc. lu
its modern form, the next seems to be a compound of
the same e l e m e n t s ; it is not so.

Chih 3 . The old t o r m is composed of , the tongue

(L. 102 C ), a n d of , a sweet t h i n g (L. 1. 4 0 ); good,
agreeable to t h e taste;
After Li-ssu. the character was composed of kan1
sweet (L. 73 B), an d of phonetic ;
Chuan-chu, an edict of the Emperor who is supposed
to speak iu soft words. — Phonetic series 186. It forms
ch'ang2 (L. 36 E), ch'i2 (L. 30 E), chi1 (L.
121 M ) .

Ken4. To turn
suddenly round , in order to look a man f u l l in
the face, haughtily; anger, defiance. — It is the 138th
radic al. Phonetic series 219 and 741.
Note. Hang- has another origin. See L. 75 F.
Hem t'ui4. See L. 31 C.
Etymological Lessons. 26. 77

Hsiang 1 Boiled grain, the Chinese soup fan4- It

is composed as (L. 26 C). A vase ( p r i m i t i v e ) ;
— its contents (L. 1.4°); the spoon to draw up
(L. 26 A).
Its contra cted form must be distinguished from
hang ( L . 75 F). It forms the following characters:

Hsiang1. The g rain producing country, between

the walled cities, r epresented by two one of them
being straight, the other being inverted and abbrevia-
ted in the modern writin g ( L. 74 C).
— Phonetic serins 682.

Ch'ing 2 . Ministers. Those who were present at the

imperial meals, standing in two opposite rows,
holding the sceptres, badges of their dignity;
See L. 55 A.

Chi 2 . The c o n v e n i e n t measure (L. 55 B) of

soup; temperance, m o d e r a t i o n ; now . — Chi2 is
w i d e l y used chia-chieh as a c o n j u n c t i o n exp ressi ng
t h e logical consequence. — Phonetic series 424. It
forms the phonetic c o m pl e x.
Chieh2. A segment of the
bamboo, between two nodes.
Chuan-chu, an article, a limit
of time, a term. Chia-chieh for
chi2, temperance,
moderation. — Phonetic series 798.

Chi4. To suck up, to swallow; (L. 99 E). Chuan-chu,

already passed, as swallowed soup; finished.alrea-
dy, since; _ Phonetic series 596.
78 Etymological Lessons 26.

Shih2. ssu4. Food, to eat, to feed: ,

See L 14, union, together; grain, food.
Because, says the Glose. it is by mixing the. different
(si x) kinds of grain that the human food is prepared;
Note the top stroke of ,
a contraction of , is confounded with the lower
stroke of . — It is the 184th radical of characters
relating to food. It forms

Shih2. To nourish; to give

food to a roan;
forms the phonetic complexes shih4, to adorn, and
ch'ih4, an order, injunction. See L. 28.

Ts'ang 4 . A granary, govern-

ment storehouse. In this cha-
racter, is mutilated, to
make room beneath t o r (L. 7 4 ) :
— Phonetic series 575.

Chin4 is not derived from . The modern forms are

corrupt. Compare the ancient forms with L. 1 1 7 B.
The rearing of c a t t l e , u n d e r trees, in the steppe. Hence
now chin4, a stud, a stable.

O N. B. — Let us recall — \. That is the classical abbreviation of

ken3 (26 L), h u t that it is also used for oth er compounds. — 2. That is the
classical abbreviation of hsiang (26 M). By the principle of the least effort,
the scribes often write instead of . — 3. That these abbreviations are to be
distinguished from the d erivati ves of liang2 (75 F); a thing easier to say than
to do. — 4. That the engravers, fo llowing the scribes, cut in fanciful ways, several
characters of this series, as one may hav e noticed. — See also , L. 31 C.
Etymological Lessons. 27. 79


About the multiples of .

First series: repeated twice (the straight form, L. 25).

Ts'ung2. A m a n walking after another; to follow,

obey. It is the opposite

of , L. 27 C.

Ghuan-chu, a preposition, as the Latin ab, ex;

it is in this sense that is so often used in this work,
for the analysis of characters. It is now practically
superseded by the. next homophone and synonym

Ts'ung2. Note the curious form

of the modern character. It is
composed of , and of (Rad.
162; L. 112 E) dislocated; the three placed on the
left side simulate , the 60th radical, under which
K'ang-hsi wrongf ully classified and its similes ; the
lower part is placed under . ID the ancient
character, there is simply A juxtaposition of the
e l e m e n t s . — Phonetic series 657.

Ch'ien1. To c ut. Two men a n d a halberd;

See, L. 71. Compare L.
25 D, and L. 47 E. — It forms
Ch'ien1. The wild garlic ;
See L.
!70 B. — Phonetic series 829.

Ch'ien1. Reunion, meeting. By extension, together.

(L. 14), A meeting
several men, who speak. — Phonetic series 726.

Second series: Two turned face to face.

Tso4. To sit down, to be seated;

Two men sitting on the
ground, in the old fashion, and facing each other to
talk. — Phonetic series 309.
80 Etymological Lessons. 27.

Wu1. The work (L. 82) of witches; magic,

incantations. Two witches who dance to obtain rain

It forms
Shih . The stalks of
Achillea Sibirica , t h a t were
used by the wizards to divine.
It forms
the phonetic complexes shih4, to bite, to gnaw;
shin4, bank, quay.
See Ling2, L 72 K. Distinguish from
L, 16 M, a n d from contracted in L. 13 C, etc,

Chia1. A man (L. 60) who clasps two others

in his arms: to press, to squeeze, to pick up, to f i x ;
— Phonetic series 257.
To be distinguished from shan3 (L. 13 B), and
from lai2 (L. 13 C). It forms the, p h o n e t i c co mpl ex
Ch'ieh4. Box, casket,
(L. 10. B), It is
wr i tt e n

Third series: Two t u r n e d one against a n o t h e r .

Pei3. The opposite of ( L. 27 A). Not to follow
each other, to t u r n one's back, disagreement;

Derived meaning, the back ; a n d , by

extension, the North t he cardinal point
towards w h ic h o ne t ur n s one's hack when s i t t i n g
down facing the South, according to custom. — The
modern scribes wr ite for different more intricate
characters. See kuai1, L 103 C ; ch'eng2, L 31
E, etc.

Ch'iu1. A hill, a mound;

The Glose is summed up thus: — represents
the top of a height. On the top, two men turned
one against another, instead of four men whom it
w o u l d have been too difficult to depict. The meaning
is that, from the top one may see towards the four
Etymological Lessons. 27. 81
directions i. e. towards a l l directions; a c ul mi nati ng point. — Phonetic series
113. — Note that ping1 (L. 47 D) is unconnected will) Item, the k i n d
primitive (L. 80 B)... But forms
Hsu1. A high upland;
These uplands being generally wild and barren, hence
chuan-chu, empty, that which contains nothing;
— Phonetic series
685, under its modern corrupt form.

Fourth series: repeated twice ( , inverted form, L. 26).

Pi . It is inverted (27 A), To
effect a union, to follow, to cooperate, to plot.
PP. Meanings derived from th e inversion (See L. 26
A, 2»), to draw a parallel between, to compare, r an k . —
It is the 81th radical. Phonetic series 77. It forms

Pi3. A synonym of the preceding. The two men are

placed upon (L 81 ) the earth. — Phonetic series

Chieh1. Together, all;

Sev era l men (L 169 A c o n t r a c t e d ) a c t in g in
concert, — Pho n etic scries 428. K' a n g - h s i e r r o n e o u s l y
classified this c hara cter u n d e r t h e radical 106

K'un1 A number or men u n d e r t h e su n (L.

143); m u l t i t u d e , generality;
Chuan-chu of different kinds; , a posterity,
those who will succeed in life, under t he s un;
the multitude of insects that the sun is supposed to
bring forth... Chia-chieh , an elder brother;
compare ko1, p. 11. — Phonetic series 371.

P'i2. The navel which is supposed to be in communi-

cation with the head (L. 40 A) through channels
in which circulate the- vital spirits.
So the lower part
would not be , but a kind of primitive, represen-
ting the channels. Instead of , the scribes write
hence the erroneous character here joined. — Phone-
tic series 567.
82 Etymological Lessons. 27.
Note 1 : is intended to delineate the feet in some characters that represent
animals, e. g.

Ch'ao4, jerboa, L. 106 C. Lu4, antelope. L. 136 A.

Note 2:Two , one above the other, represent also the feet in the following series
Neng2, formerly Nai4, which explains the sound of
some derivatives. The great brown bear. After Li-ssu,
this character was explained thus: two paws,
the body, the growling of the angry bear. (L. 85 E).
But the study of the old forms reveals a special primitive
delineati ng a head, a hairy body standing, and claws.
(L. 146 H ). The bear is the symbol of bravery; hence
the meanings chuan-chu, valour, an officer ;
— Phonetic series 55*. It forms
T'ai4. Martial attitude. — The
outward of the interior valour.
Hsiung2. The s m a l l black bear; represents
the feet (L. 126 C), a graphic redundancy.
Pa4. A bear, f i g u r a t i v e l y an officer t a k e n in a
net (L. 39 C). to dismiss, to resign, to cease, and
other cbuan-chu. The Glose explains that the. net
means calumnious accusations. Compare L. 39 F.

Fifth series: repealed thrice.

Chung4. Gat h eri n g, meeting. Tres collegium
faciunt; The next compound, a
synonym a n d homophone, is now used instead.

Chung4. A crowd; Note

that is not (as above, in ), but the eye
(L. 158) depicted horizontally. The visual space
f u l l of men; all the m e n taken in at a glance;
crowd, a ll, etc. The scribes fancifully and strangely
altered this character, as one may see by the two
specimens here joined.
Ghu4. To meet; a reunion of men;
See L. 146 F. — Phonetic
series 775.
Etymological Lessons. 28. 83


About some peculiar forms of . curtailed in the modern writing, either through
want of space, or through a p arti al f u sio n w i th a phonetic; is reduced to ,
, etc. In the ancient writing. has its normal form.
Chi2. To attain, to seize upon. A hand th a t seizes
a man T h i s character was explained, L. 19 D. —
phonetic series 40.

Hsien 4 . A trap, a p i t ;
A man who fa lls int o a
p i t ( L 139). Cf. L. 38 D. — Phonelic series 360.

Fu4 1. Morally, a m a n who has cowries,

m o n e y (L. 161); the pride caused by fo rtune,; insubor-
dination, disdain ; — 2.
Physically, a m a n who bears a load on his back,
in order to gain cowries; to toil hard, to suffer;


P r i m i t i v e sense, th e flush of the face;

The composition of t h i s ch a r a rt e r is typical; a man,

and (L. 55) a seal; because, says the Glose, the
c ol o u r of t h e face corresponds w i t h the feelings of the
h e a r t , as t h e s t a m p reproduces the seal. By extension,
the flush arising from passion, sexual pleasure, colour
in general — It is t h e 139th radical.

Wei2. A m a n l o o k i n g from up a steep cliff

(L. 59); a perilous situation, danger;
There are i m p o r t a n t compounds,
a b o u t w h i c h see L. 59 H.

Ch'ien 1 . O n e t h o u s a n d This a n o m a l o u s character

was e x p l a i n e d L. 24 D. on t h e lop is p h o n e t i c ;
is for ten times one h u n d re d , says
Glose.— Phonetic series 16.

T'ing2. Upright, raised, attentive;

A man on the
ground (L. 81). Not to be confounded with jen4
(L. 82 C). In the modern writing, the two characters
are almost identical.
84 Etymological Lessons. 28. 29.

Tiao4. Actual meaning, to mourn for one dead, in

order to console his family. Composition: a man
who carries a bow (L. 87) over his shoulders. The
Chinese of olden tim es did not bury their dead. The
corpse was packed up in a bundle of grass (L. 78 G),
an d l e f t to rot away in some remote place. The rite of
condoling, at that time,
consisted in offering one's self with a bow, to protect the corpse against wild
beasts. The
meaning, to hang u p , to suspend, comes from the fact that the bow was carried
hanging across the shoulder, wh ic h is represented by the old character.
Chiu 1. Primitive sense, egotism hurting one's
neighbour; a man who does not look for his own
(L. 31 B) benefit;
By extension, offence, fault, mistake;
— Phonetic series 338.

Shen1. Body, person. It is with a big belly and a

leg. See L. 148. — Ii is the 158th radical of characters
relating to the shapes of the body.

Note: The head ( s h a r p s n o u t ) of some a n i m a l figures,

is like in the
ancient writing. The resemblance is merely a graphical one. For instance:

'u2, h ar e, L 106 B. Yu 2 , fish, L. 142 A.


About , the form taken by , when placed at the bottom of the characters.

Jen 2 . A m a n ( t w o legs). It sometimes means, feet,

support — It is the 10th radical.
Erh 2 . An i nf an t:
A body and a
head (L. 40 C) opened in the form of , repre-
sen ti n g a s k u l l , the fontanels of which are not yet
closed. — Phonetic series 352.
Etymological Lessons. 29. 85

Mao4. The face;

From man and ( L. 88), white, colour or form
of the face. Instead of this, the synonym and
homophone co mpound is now used.

Huang 4 ; A mouth
on the top of a man; to speak strongly,
emphatically, a ut horitatively. Note the two modern
chuan-chu, with change of sounds
1. K'uang4. An emphatic conjunction, so much
the more, a fortiori. The scribes write , but
their writing is rejected by the critics,
2. Hsiung1. The eldest among several brothers;
the one who must exhort and correct his brothers.—
Phonetic, series 123. Note also the compounds

Chu4 An oration that goes with the oblation

of a sacrifice, and that touches the shen;

Chou4 A modern character. The added is

a redundancy. Adjuration, impre catio n ;
This character is often erroneously wr itten

Yueh 4 Good words t h a t dispel gri ef a n d rejoice, the

hear er ; hence the. two meanings, to speak, to rejoice.
It is added with a ( L. 18), that means, dissipa-
tion ;
It is u n c o n n e c t e d w i t h ( L. 18 E. ). It is
used as a modern a r b i t r a r y chia-chieh to mean,
exchange, d e l i v e r y in th e commercial transactions; it
is then p r o n o u n c e d tui4;

Phonetic series 313.

Yun3. To consent, to grant. A man who says

yes; To make out
one's assent, by breathing forth a yes. See L. 85 E. —
Phonetic series 100. Note the phonetic complex

Tsun1. To walk solemnly;

— Phonetic series 311.
86 Etymological Lessons. 29.
Ch'ung . To nourish a child, from its birth till,
knowing how to walk, it has become a man;
To feed,
to fill, f u l l , etc. Chuan-chu a n d chia-chieh of different
kinds. — Phonetic series 189.

Yeh4 The head:

A head (L. 160) u p o n a body
Note t h e c o n t r a c t i o n of in the modern charac-
ter. — It is t h e 181t h radi cal of a g r o u p of characters
r e l a t i n g to t h e head, neck, etc..

Yuan2. That which is on the top, u p on man.

Head, principle, origin; as caput in latin;

See , an ancient form of

, L. 2 G. — Ph o net i c series 97. Note t h e compounds
Kuan 1 . The man's cap, then
caps a n d hats in general;

(L 45 B) s t a n d s f o r The m e a n i n g is,
w h a t is placed on t h e head, to cover it.

Wan 2 . En t ir e , finished, done;

The p u t t i n g up of the roof completes a building.
— Phonetic, series 314 It forms

K'ou 4 Robbers, to loot. The

m a n who ar m e d w i t h a stick
{ L. 43 D ) threatens the dwel-

K u a n g 1 . Light. The ol d f o r m of this character was

e x p l a i n e d L. 24 J. T his is t h e modem form,
probably, a m a n carrying a torch. — Phonetic series 222.

Jung3. I n a c t i o n , to rem ain in a ctive;

A man in his
bouse, because he has no work to do in the lields.
Not to be confounded w i t h yin3, composed of
and (L. 34 E).
Etymological Lessons. 29. 30. 87
Wu . A stool. A plane surface upon a support;

— Phonetic scries 36.


About ( who bends forward ), and ( inverted, the feed being

turned up).

First series:
Jen 2 . A m a n who leans, who bends u p ;
It f o r m s

A woman who bends
f o r w a r d to conceal her shame, says the Glose;
p r o b a b l y h e r menses (not h e r pregnancy L. 112 L).
H e n c e chuan-chu time, epoch, period. — It is t h e
161th r a d i c a l . — Phonetic series 254.—The p r i m i t i v e
ine a ning; h a s been preserved in t h e c o m p o u n d
Ju 4 . To sh a m e, to i n s u l t ; To
reveal ( l o r , L. 43 A ) a shameful situation
or t h i n g . — Phonetic series 541.

Ho u 4 . A p r i n c e ( b y extension, a prin ce ss).

The m a n who notifies bis orders, bending

tow ard s t h e people. This composition is ana logous to
that ot chun2, a prince, See page 9. — P h o n e t i c
series 109. — inverted, forms
Ssu4. The government, the administration, that is
like the reverse of the prince; —
Phonetic series 159.

Second series:
Hua4. A man tumbled head over heels;
The primitive sense was, to die;
Derived meanings, to overthrow, to
transform; It forms
88 Etymological Lessons. 30. 31.

Hua4. To change, to convert men by teaching

them; — Phonetic
series 64. It forms hua1, flowers, the term of the
evolution of plants. See L. 13 F.

Chen 1 . Transformation by the Taoist practices.

See, L. 10 L.

Lao3. Old, venerable, a septuagenarian. A man

whose hair and beard (L. 100) change , grow
Note the strange modern contraction of and of . - It is the 125th
radical. This character forms i m p o r t a n t c o m p o u n d s, in w h i c h was suppressed to
give room to t h e radical or to the phonetic. For in st a n c e:

Ch'i2. Sexagenarian; old man who needs a

better food. See L. 26 K. — P h o n e t i c series 513.

K'ao3. Old age; represents the a st h m a o f old men

(L. 1, 1). By extension, to e x a mi n e, to interrogate
p u p i l s a n d candidates, which are attributes of wor-
thies. — Phonetic .series 218.

Hsiao4. Filial piety; the t h i n g which th e

c h i l d r e n owe to the aged persons in general, a n d to
t h e i r parents in particula r;
— Phonetic series 276. But
chiao1, to leach, has n o t h i n g in common w i t h
This character, whose exact form is g i v e n here,
w i l l be e x p l a i n e d L. 39 H.

Che3. This character is not derived from . See

L. 159 B.


About three derivatives of , partial primitives, viz.: chiu3, chin3, su1.

First series:
Chiu3. A man hinder e d w h i l e w a l k i n g , by a k i n d of
Hence the notion of slowness, of duration —
Phonetic series 17.
Etymological Lessons. 31. 89

Second series:
Chih 3 . To follow, to pursu e a man who walks;

— It is the 34th
radical, o r di n aril y placed on the top of compounds.
It forms

Ko3. To go on one's way. w i t h o u t hearing the

advice of others;
Separated, distinct, particular, other. The
i n d i v i d u a l described by his self-love, his own way.—
Phonetic series 220. It forms

Chiu 1 . A man attached to his own opinion,

who cares only for his own interes ts, a n d who
consequently offends against othe rs. By extension,
offence, fault;
See L. 28 I. Note the contraction of the modern
character. — Phonetic series 338.

Lu 4 . Way, road ; ; through which

each one trespasses. — Phonetic series 748.
K'o4. Ch'ieh4. A guest, a traveller; ;
to stay for a time in a house not one's own.
Liao . B o u n d a r y t h a t divides the fields. Chuan-
chu, to p a r t i t i o n , to s h o r t e n , a l i t t le , etc It forms
liao4, to l a y d o w n , to d e p o s e
Lao . O l d m e a n i n g : a t r e n c h to i r r i g a t e ; water
used by ev e ry b od y . It forms lao4, the fall of the
leaves, to sink.

See hai4, L. 97 H ; feng 1 L 97 A: and tung1 L. 17 F.

The 34th radical chih3 (three strokes) must be carefully distinguished from
the 66th radical p'u1 (four strokes), and from the. 36th radieal hsi4.

Third series:
Sui 1 . A man who goes on, despite of shackles;
To be distin-
guished from analogous forms, as stated above. — It
is the 35th radical, ordinarily placed at the bottom of
the compounds. It forms
90 Etymological Lessons. 31.

Chih 4 To reach or make others reach the

a i m , despile of d i f f i c u l t i e s ; See
L. 133 B.
T'ui4. To have walked with difficulty all the day
long, and consequently, to refuse to advance
more, or to go backwards, on account of the difficul-
tie s of the road. To refuse, to retreat .
The added is a
radical redundancy (L. 112.E). Note the contraction of the
modern character, and
read again the note L. 26 0.— Phonetic series 578.
See L. 29 E; L. 79 K; L. 38 D; etc.

inverted, forms
K'ua4 To overcome an obstacle represented by ;
The modern character
k e pt t h e old form. P h o n et i c in ko 1 , a pot.
straight and inverted, forms
C h ' u a n 3 . I t . is composed of , t h e s t r a i g h t a n d the
inverted form, ba rk to h a c k ;
To po in contrary d i r e c t i o n s : opposition, contra-
d i c t i o n , offence, e r r o r ; Compare L. 27 G.
— It is t h e 136th ra dical. In th e compounds,
represents two men hack to hack
Note the following
Wu3. A dance wi t h gestures,
performed by twogroups opposing
each ot her (See L. 65 D); the
dancers hack to hack, a phonetic contracted (L.
10 I);
Chieh2. Primitive sense:
tree, on which cr i mi n al s were
hung, gallows of hackold. to
now means a roost, for f o w l s to rest
— P h o n e t i c series 518. It
forms the f o l l o w i n g
Sheng4, ch'eng2. A warriors'
car, a so rt of roost for men
standing back to back, on two
r a n k s; the top represents a roof. The modern form
does credit to the ingeni ous scribes. — Phonetic
series 512
See also , and L. 126 D;etc.
Etymological Lessons. 31. 32. 91

Chiang 4 . From , the straight and the inverted

form one above the other;
Two men, one of th e m (th e inferior) is subject
to the oth er (the superior). This character is now
written . and the pronunciation is different accor-
ding to th e two different meanings. Hsiang4, to subject,
to s u b m i t ( t h e inferior.}. Chiang4, to descend, to send
down, to degrade, to gra n t (the superior). — Phonetic
series 182. — contracted is phonetic in lung2,
L. 79 F; being reduced to

Another form of straight a n d inverted, one above

t h e other. It is f o u n d o n l y in the compound

Wei2. R e f r a c t o r y op p o sit i on : two men who p u l l at

the same object in c o n t r a r y directions;
( L . 74). This character is now
written — P h o n e t i c series 487. See
L. 23 F.


About a peculiar form of , shih1, analogous to. , which was explained L 30A.
Shih . A seated m a n . The l i v i n g person who an-
ciently represented the dead; by extension, a dead
person. The Glose says: The sons, not seeing the de-
ceased ancestor whom they worshipped, i n v e n t e d the, to i mp er son at e h i m ;

It is the 44th radical of characters relating to parts a n d positions of

bodies. It forms

Shih 1 . Corpse; a man, dead (L. 26 H ) .

Ni2. Two men near each other (L. 26 F).

T'un2. The lower part of the body; the part seated

(L. 20 A); represents this part;

Hence tien4, the flogging on the buttocks (L 22 D).

Instead of , the scribes write , which makes one
more false character.
92 Etymological Lessons. 32.
I2. It is composed as ( L . 2 B), the feeling that must
bind man to man ( two, men). Is phonetic in
Wei4. To smooth cloth, the hand holding a hot
iron. By extension, to make even, to sweeten;

It forms wei4, to soothe, to console, to iron

the wrinkles of the heart. Note how the scribes
changed into , and
— Phonetic series 658.

Chu1. A place, a spot, an abode. Et y m o l o g i c a l l y ,

a man who f o u n d a seat. Its c o m p o si t i o n is a n al o -
gous to t h a t of . above A ;
This c h a r a c t e r was a r b i t r a r i l y changed by
the scribes in to Compare L. 20 B
— Phonetic seri es 345.

I3. Wei 3 . Tail. The h a i r at the e n d ot the

body. Contracted into and sometimes into
forms i m p o r t a n t c o m p o u n d s (See L. 100 B). The Shuo-
wen t e l l s us t h a t t h e ol d Chinese put on a fal se t a i l ,
in order to be as b e a u t i f u l as a n i m a l s ;

Sui1. Niao4. U r i n e , water coming f r o m u u d e i

the tail, for is contracted.

Shih3. Excr eme n t; th e residue of grain similarly

ejected ; is contracted. This character is a mo-
dern one a n d superseded the old .See L. 122 C.

Ch'ih3. The span of a ma n , of a male adult's hand.

This s p a n was, u n d e r t h e Dynasty, t h e u n i t y of
length and measured about twenty centimeters. The
grew longer, after that time, up to thirty centime-
ters . The Europeans c a l l it a foot. In China it is a
hand; The (L.
9 A ) , says the Glose, represents the opening of the
hand, f r o m the t h u m b to the little finger. See (L.
45 B). It forms
Etymological Lessons. 32. 33. 93

Chu2. To fit up, workshop where things are fitted

up. This end is obtained by using both mouth and
hands (span, used for the hand);
— Phonetic
series 266.

Wu1. Abode, lodgings. Place where a man being

arrived (L. 133 B), takes rest.
Compare Shih4
(L. 133 B), which is a synonym. — Phonetic series
490. It is contracted i n t o in several characters; for

Lou4. The rain passing through the roof of

house ; to leak:

See L. 125 B.


About the two primitives, and

First series:
Ch'i 1 . Seven. A numerical sign, wi t hout a ny other
signification: It is radical in
ch'en3, second teething, about the age of seven
years. It is phonetic in ch'ih4, to cry out at, to
scol d ; a n d in

Ch'ieh1. To cut;
nife, L. 52. - Phonetic
series 43.

Second series:
T'o1. A partial primitive. It represents a small plant
s i n k i n g its root into the. ground. The ground —, the
root beneath, the stalk and a small ear above;
— Phonetic
series 29. It forms
Chai 2 . Habitation, abode;
The place where a man takes root, fixes his
dwelling, — Phonetic series 177.
94 Etymological Lessons. 34.


In this number we distinguish t h e series of two primitives. and , wantonly

mingled together by the scribes, and mixed up by K'ang-hsi.

First series:
Chiung . The. suburbs, the country, the space. The
t w o ve rt i c al strokes delineate the limits; the horizontal
s t r o k e represents the interval between t h e m , the void
space ; — It is the
1 3 t h radical. Note the deri vat i ves
Chiung . A synonym of the preceding. The
representation is more e x p l i c i t ; ( L. 74 delineating
t h e w a l l e d t o w n in the middle of t h e c o u n t r y . —
P h o n e t i c s eries 1 1 4 . The d eriv a t iv e s of are to be
distinguished from those of (L. 76 G). e. g.
3 2
chiung , to go in remote places; hui . to return.
3 4
Distinguish also chiung from hsiang and
4 4
shang ( L. 36 E) ; from o (L. 15 C); from
chiung (L. 42 B)
Nei . The i n t er i o r; to ent er in a void space,
in t h e i n t e r i o r . This ch a r a c t e r was e x p l a i n e d L. 15 C.
Not e how in the old form here joined, is already
m is ta ke n f o r (34 H), whi le the Glose gives t h e true
e x p l a n a t i o n . - Phonetic series 74.

Shih . A market The grass-grown space out
of the c i t y , wh er e people go and get (L. 19 El what
t h e y are in need of;
(L. 79 B)
This c h a r a c t e r has nothing in common with (L. 35),
under which it was erroneously classified by K'ang-
hsi. It must be carefully distinguished . from fu
(35 B), and from fei (L. 79 G ). There are a few
i nsignificant compounds. Note the logical aggregate
nao , to bustle; (L. 11 I) to quarrel as in the
market place ; the noisy wrangling and confusion
of a market, so dear to the Chinese.
Yin . To go away, to withdraw. A man who
walks in order to go out of a space;
— Phonetic series 94. Not to be
confounded with jung3, L. 29 J.
Etymological Lessons. 34. 95

Hao4. To rise up, high. A bird that rises up in

the space; When
this character is not well engraved, one might believe
it is topped by a ( L. 36); in reality it is the of
the. left side of , that crosses , just as crosses
in the preceding. — Phonetic series 531.

Ming2 Obscurity, darkness;

The six Chinese hours (half a
during which the space is in darkness, the sun
being absent. — Phonetic series 553.

Note. One. may see how, in the modern forms, and are absolutely mixed

Second series:

Mi2. To cover. A line t ha t falls at both ends, to cover;

— It is the 14tlh radical
of a few characters meaning, to cover. Note the
f o l l o w i n g derivatives

Mi*. A t r i v et covered (L. 127 D)

Kuan1. To cover the head ; a cap. See L. 29 H.

Yuan1 Ill-use without motive, wrong, grievance.

Etymologically a rabbit (L. 106 B), trapped

It forms
a few insignificant phonetic complexes. This character
is sometimes wrongly written

is met, with the meaning of physical cover, of moral blindness, in many

characters, e.g. L. 126 F; L. 154 B; L. 72 D; L. 39 1. But the
following are derived from (L. 54), and not from , as the modern form
might induce one to believe, e.g. L. 69 G; L. 167 C; etc.
96 Etymological Lessons. 34.

Mao3. To cover something (L. 1 , 4 ° ) ;

It forms

T'ung2. Agreement, u ni o n , reunion;

The primitive meaning is: adaptation
of a cover to the orifice of a vase. — Phonetic
series 246.

Ch'iao1. A cover with flowers ( L. 79 B);

(vegetable objects;
compare L. 1021). By extension, the shell of mollusks,
of fruits, of eggs, t h a t covers them, and is orna-
mented with fine designs;
In these last meanings,
this character is now written chia-cbieb ch'iao1,
the p r i m i t i v e m e ani n g of which was to strike. This cha-
racter forms t h e p h o n e t i c series 517, in which the
radical is placed u n d e r contracted; e.g.

The scribes a n d t h e engravers often forget the

s m a l l stroke of . On t h e o t h e r ha nd, they fancy the
different writing s . etc.

Meng2. To cover. Its composition resembles that of

( L . 34 If ), a boar t a k e n in a snare.
It f o r m s meng2, the wistaria, a
trailing plant t h a t cover s: to cover. Phonetic series
784. — The characte r meng2 is to he distinguished
from chung , L. 69 G

Mao4 A covering f o r t h e head; that which covers

the head (L. 1, 40);
It is now written —The scribes write

so that the derivatives of mao4 cannot be distinguished from those of yueh1
(L. 73 A). Still improving on the scribes, K'ang-hsi, a f t e r having classified, under
the 14th radical , characters that do not belong to it, placed the true derivati-
ves of , the whole series . u n d e r the 13th radical . Such is the value
of classifications based upon the modern characters, altered or mingled with
others. — It forms the compounds.
Etymological Lessons. 34. 97

Mao4. To rush on heedless, to act wi th the eyes

covered ; imprudence, temerity;
— Phonetic series 462. It forms the
phouetic complex
Man2. To offend by headless
action. The of is bent
(L. 158), to give room to . —
Phonetic series 635.

T'a4 Birds of passage flying in flock; swarm of

wings covering the sky;
— Phonetic series 571.

Chou4. A helmet, the headgear of soldiers;

(L. 151 A) is phonetic; Not
to be confounded w it h the character chou4 posterity,
that is pronounced a nd written in the same way (L.65
B); neither with wei4 ( L. 122 C).

Mien 3 . Offici al cap; mien3 ( L. 106 A) is

phonetic. Compare yuan , L. 34 H.

Tsui4. A meeting under the same roof. See

L. 146 F. — Phonetic series 711.

Appendix. The repeated twice, is given as being the lower part of the next
important compound, though it appears seldom, the
modern scribes having changed into

Yen1. Disappearance, loss, absence. An object that

was at one tine (L. 159 A) in a store, a n d
became invisible (a double cover) later on.

See L. 23 G. Note the phonetic complex

Pien1. To walk on the edge of a precipice, r u n n i n g

the risk of fal li ng into it and disappearing. Chuan-
chu, bank, edge, margin, a boundary in general;
98 Etymological Lessons. 35.


About two primitives nearly identical in the modern writing, chin1, and
liang3, with their derivatives. :

First series: chin1.

Chin1. A small piece of cloth resembling the Euro-
pean handkerchief, that was worn in ancient times,
hanging from the girdle, and used for cleaning and
dusting. By extension, a bonnet, the ancient Chinese
putting on a cloth to cover
their heads; cloth in general, represents the two extremities of cloth hanging
from the girdle; represents the slate of suspension ;
— It is the the 60th radical of characters relating to cloth.

Note. The lower part of some ancient characters, v.g. L. 119, L. 92,
accidentally resembles . Note also t h a t (L. 79 C) has n o t h i n g in common
with . But (L. 21 D) is derived from it, as are also t h e f o l l o w i n g characters

Fu4. The cloth worn by t h e a n c i e n t Chinese, a ki nd

of skin apron hanging from the waist, down to the
knees. It was preserved as a s o u v e n i r of ancient
custom in the Imperial dress... represents the girdle, the piece of cloth,
the hanging of the same;
Compare tai4 (L. 24 Q), t h e construction
of which is analogous.
Note. The modern form is used for three characters th a t must be carefully
distinguished; shih4 market, L. 34 D; fu4 apron, L. 35 B; fei* vegetation,
L. 79 G, that forms the important phonetic series 45, whilst the two preceding
ones have only a few derivatives.

Pu4. A piece sf cloth made of h e m p , nettles or dolic;

the ancient Chinese did not know of cotton. At the
bottom , on the top fu4 (L 43 G) as phonetic.

Chuan-chu; to spread out, to display, to explain,

etc. — Phonetic series 152.

Hsi1. The interstices of a woven material, between

the crossed threads (L. 39 G);
Cbuan-chu, loose, not close, thinly, scattered, infre-
quent. Different chia-chieh. Now , literally
grain thin-sown. — Phonetic series 275.
Etymological Lessons. 35. 99

Chou3. A dusting-brush. See L. 44 K, L,

Shua1. To wipe one's body with a rag; to

wipe; It is contracted
in the c o m p o u n d
Shua1. To scrape w i t h a k n i f e or otherwise, to
scrub, to cleanse:

Pi4. Rag, latters. A piece of cloth riddled with

holes (L. 18 A, division). K'ang-hsi erroneously
gives eight strokes to this character, instead of seven.

It forms the homophone

and synonymous compound
Pi4, in w h i c h (L. 43 D) re-
presents the p hysi cal action t h a t
lorethe cloth into shreds.—
Phonetic series 641.

C h i h 3 . It is also der iv ed f r o m . The top is

contracted (L. 102,1), houghs, foliage. cloth that
has been pierced with needles a n d so flowered.
Leaves were the first designs used for embroidery;
— It is th e 204th radical.

Second series: liang3.

Liang 3 . It represents scalse in equilibrium. This
character is no w obsolete, but forms important
c o m p o u n d s in w h i c h its p r i m i t i v e m e a n i n g may be
still found. In these compounds, a supperadded ele-
ment develops the notion of weighing and equilibrium.
Thus two, represents the weight and counterpoise;
to enter-enter (L. 15), means that an equal
weight was placed on both sides; graphically
represents the same thing. Etc.
100 Etymological Lessons. 35.

Liaog3. Two weights e q u a l , state of balance;


Leang3. One ounce. This character is of modern

origin. The level beam, is a graphic redundancy.
In the sense of two, this character is chia-chieh for
t he preced ing. — Phonetic series 376. The scribes mu-
tilate in different ways, as may be seen here

Tsai4. A second weighing , equal to the first

one. on the top represents the horizontal beam.
Twice, again, repeated;
— It has nothing
in common with . L 116 A.

Ch'eng4. This character is formed like the

preceding; hut instead of a beam, there is a
hand that lifts the balance, in order to let it oscillate;
represents the equilibrium of the two scales.
To weigh, weighing,
sca les; now . It is often written by the scribes.

Erh3. Symmetry, harmony of proportions;

A balance loaded
e q u a l l y on both sides. On the top, erh (L. 18
0) is phonetic. See L. 39 N. Chia-chieh, personal pro-
noun, thou, y o u ;
It is often incor rectly engraved The right form has
only 14 strokes. — Phonetic series 776.

Man2. Before the equilibrium is perfect, the ba-

lance oscillating hither and thither. Compare L.
The vertical strokes of
the two e lements are united. The modern scribes com-
monly write instead of . It forms.
Etymological Lessons. 35. 36. 101

Man2. Equality, equilibrium;

Compare L. 35 I. — represents the level
beam. — Phonetic series 636.

Chien 3 The cocoon of the silkworm: fr o m silk,

the worm, the regular form of the cocoon;
The modern character is place d h e r e
purposely to show how the engravers transformed


About the primitive

Mien1. It represents a h u t , a dwelling ;

— It is the 40th radical of characters relating to
dwellings. It forms

Sung*. A hut made with wood;

T'ang4. A cave-dwelling

, in the rock;

Tsung1. An ancestral h a l l ;
The b u i l d i n g from which ema nates
(L. 3 D) the influence of the deceased ancestors o v e r
their posterity. By extension, ancestors, a clan. —
Phonetic series 404.

Ning2. Rest, happiness; the heart of man being

satisfied, when he has a shelter and a full dish,
board and lodging;
It is found contracted in

Ning2. That which one is in need of, to e n j o y

rest; The of
was replaced by The srribes often write i n c o r -
102 Etymological Lessons. 36.
N i n g . That which one aspires to , to enjoy
peace. To wish, to prefer; peace, to soothe;
The modern writers put
(L. 57) instead of ( L. 58), out of respect for the
etymology. — P honet ic series 785, under t he modern
form . — This character was specially ill-treated
by t he scribes. See, underneath t he right one, some
wrong ones invented by them.
Note: lao2 is not derived from . L. 17 F.

Second series. In some modern characters, i nst ea d of being contracted i n t o

, mien2 k e p t its a nc ie n t f o r m . O n l y t h e d o t w h i c h represents t h e top of the
roof, sometimes slipped to the le f t, a nd was changed i n t o . Exa m ple s:

See L. 123 F.

Hsiang4. A small round w i n d o w in t h e Northern

wall, under the roof , for ventilation;
The is the represent ation
of the small window, and not the mouth, 30th ra-
dical. Chuan-chu, to face, direc tion . — Phonetic series
200. To be distinguished from t he series 122.
chiung3 (L. 34 B). It forms

Shang4. Has n o t h i n g iu common w i t h (L. 18 H),

u n d e r which it was classified by K'ang- hsi. The vertical
stroke is th e top of protracted; the two l at er al
strokes are (L. 18 A), division, separation ;
The crest or ridge ou the roof of Chi-
nese houses, which divides wi n d an d rain,and which is
placed last of all. Hence the meanings, to add to, still,
elevated, superior, to esteem, etc. — Phonetic series
391, in which placed above the radical, is contrac-
ted into . In composition, means a roof or a

Ch'ang3. To knock (L. 43 D ) a t a house door,

to open. — Phonetic series 663.
Etymological Lessons. 36. 103

T'ang2. Dry and even soil under a roof. A hall,

a meeting-house, a court. — Phonetic series 649.

Tang1. Value of a field (L. 149 ), or of a

house. To value, equal to, to compensate, to match,
convenient, etc. — Phonetic series 763.

Tang3. A house which is smoky or dark. A

poor hamlet. To clob together in darkness, secretly,
a cabal, a conspiracy. — Phonetic series 857.

Ch'eng 1 . To give feet (L. 112 B) to a house,

to prop it up. The scribes altered the ancient form. —
Phonetic series 666.

Shang 1 . The flowing g a r m e n t , robe, which co-

vers the lower part of tbe body (L . 16);

Shang1. To bestow as a reward cowries (L 161),

the money of the ancients;
It forms ch'ang2, to pay, to compensate.

Chang3. The palm ot the hand. Chuan-chu, to

grasp, to rule (L. 48);

Ch'ang2. A banner used to head the troops

( L. 35); hence cbuan-chu, rule, constant way, con-

Ch'ang 2 . To t hi n k something good, to taste

(L. 26 K ) ; Chia-chieh for the last. It
is often engraved incorrectly.
104 Etymological Lessons. 37.


About , derived from the. pr i m i ti ve , explained in the last Lesson.

Hsueh . A space obtained
l>y the removal of rock or of earth; a cave, a hole
a den. — It is the 116th radical. Phonetic series 125.
It forms

T'u4. A dog (L. 134) t h a t rushes headlong out of

its kennel, to attack an
i ntruder. Chuan-chu,

Ts'uan4. A rat (L 139) in its hole. To hide

one's self, to conceal one's self in a place of safety;
— Phonetic series 843.

Ch'uan 1 To bore ,with the teeth (L'. 147). To

perforate, to r un
through, to put on;

Wa1. A hole, to make a hole as the robbers do when

they pierce through the walls; (L. 9 B).
It forms wa1,
to dig out, to scoop out, to excavate.

Ch'iung 2 . A man (L. 28) who looks (L 168)

out from a cavern, to h it (L. 43 D) or to catch.
To be on the watch for, to spy , to expect, to covet.
It is often altered, as are a l l the intricate coin-
It forms the phonetic compound ch'iung2,
a precious stone. It is a radical contracted in the
important compound
Huan4. To exchange, to change;
To pass an object from one hand to another,
whil e examining it attentively, to avoid deception.
Now . Note the contraction of into , in the
modern writing. — Phonetic series 451.

Chai3. In a confined space, narrow, as when one is

crouched down in a hole. See L. 10 F.
Etymological Lessons. 38. 105


About the three primitives: k'an3 ch'u1, and kung 1 , which are both written
in the modern way.

A Note: Two other primitives,i 3 (L, 85 B) and ssu1 (L. 89) are also w r it t e n
, in the modern running h a n d : so that is used for four ancient primitives,
which fact does not make the matter cle arer.

First series: k'an3.

K'an3. A hole in the earth, a pit;
— It is the 17th radical. It forms

K'uai 4 . A clod, a shovelful of earth; there is a

hole , where the earth was removed; a f urr o w, a
trench; It forms chieh4 often
incorrectly engraved ; a man (L. 32) sitting
down on th e trench w h i c h marks the l i m i t of his
properly, and thus asserting his domain. Boundary, limit.

Hsiung 1 . This character represents the f al l

( L. 39 B ) of a man into a p it ;
Chuan-chu, an accident, unfortunate,
u n l u c k y . — Phonetic series 62.
Note the compounds
Hsiung 1 . The t h o r a x , the
breast, the heart, the affections.
concealed in a man
(L. 54). — In the second form,
( L. 65) represents the flesh
enveloping the inte
For, says t h e Glose, it is in the heart that the evil is
conceived; —
Phonetic series 206.
Hsiung 1 . A man (L . 29) under evil
influonces, contemplating or doing e v i l ;
, It forms the phonetic complex
Tsung1. To move, to s h a k e ;
(L. 31 C). -
Phonetic.series 483.

Hsu. Mad with d r i n k (L. 41

106 Etymological Lessons. 38.
Second series: ch'u1.
Ch'u1. Basin, porringer; This
representation is found in more intricate characters
designing different vessels, e. g.

Ch'u4. An empty vessel and its cover;

The top resembling in the
modern writing, and in the old one, is a special
primitive. Chuan-chu, to empty, to remove, to lay
aside, to leave; ideas coming from the removal of a
vessel's cover, and of its c ontents. Compare below
. — Phonetic series 119. It forms

Tiu 1 . To lose. Falling down and disappearance

of an object; Compare
L. 48 B

Chieh2. To prevent by violence (L. 53) a man

from going. as the brigands do;

By extension,
coercion, violence The scribes often write , which
is a wrong character. The philologists refer to ,a
contracted phonetic, the compounds of in ieh,
as chieh4, etc.

The same cover, upon a different vessel, may be found in the ancient forms of the
following characters
Hu2 A pot, a jug. The representation of the vessel
is a primitive. On the top, the cover.
It has nothing in common
with ya4, L. 82 H. Not to be confounded with
k'un3, L. 15 A. It forms the next.
I . A kind of ritual vase of old.
This character, now obsolete in
the primitive sense, is used ins-
tead of— one, in casting up accounts. See 24 C, and
38 D. was the auspicious vase; was the
inauspicious corresponding vase.— Phonetic series 680.
Etymological Lessons. 38 39. 107

Ho2. A dish filled and its cover. To till, to cover.

This cover resembles the cover of , the vase being
represented by (L 157 A) instead of . In the
vase. — represents the contents (L. 1, 4°).

In the modern writing, the scribes contracted the cover and the
contents into , thus forming an illogical character, for it is made with one cover
and two vases, and . It is often chia-chieh for , an interrogative particle:
— Phonetic series 532, under its modern form. Note the compound
Kai4. A. roof made with course grass used for
thatching, to put a roof on, to conceal both literally
and figuratively; a cover;
The mo-
dern form is admitted by the critics, but is an unauthorised character.

Third series: kung1.

K u n g 1 . I t w a s a t first a rudimental representation
of the arm bent; Then the hand
(L. 46) was added. The latter forms the phonetic
series 69.


About the, character , which corresponds with two primitives (Series I and2);
and about its multiples (Series 3. 4. 5.1.

First series: wu3

Wu3. Five; a numerical sign, It
represents, says the Glose, the live elements (four
sides a n d the centre; compare L. 24 A). Later on,
two strokes were added, to represent heaven and
earth, and thus was formed

Wu3 Five;
The two principles yin1 and yang2, begetting the live
elements, between heaven and earth. It forms
Wu2. An appellation to design one's self; I, my, me;

— Phonetic series 316.

108 Etymological Lessons. 39.
Second series: i4.
I4. This character is intended to depict the blades of
shears; action Of cutting or turning; action or
influence of any kind. It is formed of two (L. 7 C)
intercrossed and jointed;
To c u t grass, to mow,. Jt is f o u n d in

Sha1. To cut an ear. See L. 45 J.

Hsiung 1 . To roll down into a pit. See L. 38 D,

Third series: Two , side by side, represent the meshes in the important
Wang3. A net; to throw down the net, to entangle,
to catch. It is derived f r o m covering (L. 34 H),
and representing the
— It is the
112th radical of characters concerning nets. The
scribes alter so 1hat it m a y he mistaken for
bent down ( L . 158). It forms
Wang3. To car r y off by a cast of the
net (L. 10 E). By extension, disappearan ce,
absence, negation; compare (L. 10 I, J). The scribes
wrote in such a way t h a t it resembles the 169th
radical . — Phonetic series 408. Not to be
confou nded with the next
Kang 1 . The culminating p o i n t of a mountain
(L. 80), covered by t h e cloudst The
Close rejects as being a g r a p h i c redundan cy , a n d
gives as an irregular f o r m of — Phonetic
series 365.

Chao4. To take a bird (L. 168) in a net;

Lo2. To catch birds with a net made w i t h

threads (LL. 168 an d 92). — Phonetic series 815.
Etymological Lessons. 39. 109

Li4 To blame. To entangle a culprit, in the

reproaches (L. 73 C) addressed to h im ;

Fa2. To punish, a penalty;

Railings and corporal maimings inflicted with a
sword ( L. 52 ).
Chih4. The Glose explains this character as follows:
to procure the delivery of a just man (L. 10 K),
fallen into the net of a slanderous accusation;
Chuan chu, to procure, to dispose.
Pa*. To dismiss a mandarin, drawn into a
snare. To cease, to stop. See L. 27 J.

F o u r t h series: Two superposed.

Yao2. M u t u a l action and reaction (L, 39 B ) ;
influence; symmetrical dispos ition, net-work, etc. —
It is the 89th radical. Note the f o r m of on the top
Of the compounds.
Hsiao2. To learn. The disciple (L. (4), impro-
ving u n d e r the influence of the master;
See below .—Not to be confounded with
hsiao4, filial'piely, L. 39 E. — It forms

Chiao 1 . To teach. Here the

( L . 4 3 D) ferule is joined to
the master's influence, for the for
mation of the disciple;

Hsiao2. To learn. This character is more, explicit

than (above H ) . Both hands (L. 50 A) of the
master, acting from above upon the darkness which
covers (L. 34. H) the mind of the disciple.
— Phonetic
series 733, under the contracted form , always
giving place to the radical. Note chiao3, to percei-
ve, to feel, whi ch forms some insignificant compounds.
110 Etymological Lessons. 39 40.

Yao3. Meat , cut up and made ready according

to the rules.— Phonotic series 4 1 2 .

Hsi1. Interstices of any material, between the

intercrossed threads; loose, scarce, etc. See L. 35
D. — Phonetic series 275.

Fan2. Fence, hedge-row. From two trees, bound

and interlaced , to form a hedge;
See , L. 47 Z.

Po2. A hoise (L. 1 3 7 ) , dappled, spotted;

By extension, to lind fault

with, to criticise, to censure, to refute. This character
is often incorrectly written

Fifth series: repeated four times representing symmetry, meaning

action, in the following

Erh . Harmony. See L. 35 L — Phonetic series 776.

Shuang3. A man (L. 60) acting with both

arms; active, alert, cheerful;
There are diflerent chia-chieh Compare 13 B, and 27 E.


About the three series , indudiug five primitives.

First series: hsin4

Hsin*. The skull, the cover of the brain;

In composition, the head It is often altered in the
modern writing, so that it resembles (L 119) It forms

Pi2. The navel, which is supposed to be In commu-

nication with the head .through ducts in which
circulate the vital spirits See L. 27 I. — Phonetic
series 557.
Etymological Lessons. 40. 111
Ssu1. To think;
When one is thinking, says the
Glose, the vital fluid of th e heart ascends to the
brain.— Phonetic series 477. It forms

Lu4. To meditate;
Phonetic series 807.

Head and hands. It wil l be

explained, w i t h its
i m p o r t a n t series, in the L. 50, M N 0 P.

Hsi 4 . Tenuous, slender, like a t h r e a d ;

It may be t h a t the pr i m i t i ve sense was hair,
the f i l a m e nt s that cover the head.

Sub-series: hsin4, which is often engraved by the modern writers op

Hsin . The hairy head;
This was fi r s t a special primitive, representing
the h a i r raised up a n d k n o t t e d in a t u f t ; then the
was covered w i t h h a i r (L. 12 M ) . The engravers often
cutting instead of , the derivatives of bsin4
are easily c o n f o un d ed wirh those of tzu . Sec LL.
150 A, an d 12 I. — It forms

Nao3. The brain, the m a r r o w of the head, says the

The ( L. 56 A, 2 ° ) is i n t e n d ed to mean the
symmet rica l structure of t h e brain, hemispheres a n d
lobes. — Note : always contracted into
g i v i n g place to the radical, forms the p honetic s eries
469, etc.
Lieh4. Hairy, bristly, disorderly;
The top is the h a ir y head, as above. The bottom is
shu3, rat (L. 139 B) contracted ; the whiskers and
the t ail of a rat.— Phonetic series 80S.
Fei4. Monkey. Sec L. 23 F.
112 Etymological Lessons. 40.
Second series: fu .

Fu 4 . Head of a devil, of a p h a n t o m ;
It forms

Kui 3 . The s p i r i t of a dead m a n , a manes, a ghost, a

spectre. F u r t h e r , a f t e r the introduction of Buddhism,
it m e a n t , a d e v i l , a preta.

The old character is evidently a primitive representing

a h u m a n f o r m floating in t h e air. The more recent
forms o f t e n show the, split head of B u d d h i s t pretas,
a n d alw ays ha ve an appendage, t h a t was sometimes
taken for a tail, but that really represents the whirling
made by t h e ghost, while, it moves. — It forms the
194th radical of characters relating to devils. Phonetic
series 5i8. — Now is a s y n o n y m for horrid, repul-
sive, malignant.

Wei4. To dread, to be in awe, a w f u l , terrible.

The c h a r a c t e r was first composed of t h e head of a
spectre , a n d of claws (L. 49). Later on, a man
frightened, was added; for, says the Glose, nothing
insp ires more awe, t h a n the head of a demon, or
the claws of a tiger;

Compare the composition of , L. 135 H.

The bottom of t h e modern character is a strange
contraction (compare L. tO H ) ; lost its ; finally
K a n g - h s i placed this character t h u s alt ere d under
, the 120th r a d i c a l , — Phonetic series 488.

Yu2. An ape; Its head

and its tail and paws ; the head resembles that of a
demon, See L. 23 E — Phonetic series 503.

Pi4. To agree, to enter into an engagement. is

not a head, It is the pledge, the earnest-money p laced
upon a small table (L. ?9 K), an act that conclndes
a transaction. By extension, to yield (to the condi-
tions), to give (the earnest-money). Classified by
Etymological Lessons. 40. 113
K'ang-hsi u n d e r the 102th radical.

Compare L. 47 R i4, difference, disagreement.

The hands rejecting the pledge placed upon
the table , that is, the affair is not concluded, the
bargain is not made. — Pi4 is
phonetic In
PI2. The nose;
See (L. 159 A ) . - It is the
209th radical.
Note: and much annoyed K'ang-hsi. Finally he classified under
the 31th radical, and under the 102th radical. It Is therefore not easy to
see the etymological meanings in th e modern series of radicals.

Third series: ch'uang1.

This modern character has two ancient forms, each forming a distinct series.
Further there will be an appendix for the modern abbreviation

Ch'uang 1 . A window, closed by a shutter or by

lattices (two forms); It is now replaced by its

1. Derivatives from the first a n c ie n t form Besides

cb'uang window, and
shu1 shutter, note
Ts'ung 1 . To feel alarm or agitation;
When the heart being restless.one looks
t h r o u g h the window, to see what is coming. —
Phonetic series 660.
2. Derivatives from the second ancient form.
Hei1. Black. That which the fire deposits around
the, aperture through which t h e smoke escapes;
soot ;
In the primitive
Chinese huls, the smoke found its way through the
window. Note the contraction of (L. 126 D) in the
modern character. — It is the 203th radical. Phonetic
series 678. It forms
Mei1. Chinese ink, an earthy substance
made with soot;
114 Etymological Lessons. 40.41.

Hsun 1 . Smoke, to fumigate. Black va pour that

rises from the (ire; (L. 78 A) is used symboli-
Note the modern contrac-
tion. — Phonetic series 781.

Tang 3 . A meeting in the darkness ; conspiracy.

See L. 36 E — Phonetic series 857.

Tse ng 1 , ts'eng 2 . The words t ha t people say to

each other, when still at the door, at the moment
of deparlure; adieu. By extension, still, more, to
a dd. — Phonetic series 710.

H u i 4 . The words that people say at the door,

when (L. 14 A) they meet; greeting. By exten sion,
mee ting, reunion — Phonetic series 736.

Note. Chien3 does not come f r o m . It is added

with . See L 75 A.
3. A p p e n d i x . an a b b r e v i a t i o n of , a b o ve iO D, is f o u n d in ts'ung1 for
Hence ts'ung 1 o nion.


The seven series of t h i s Lesson are devoted to seven characters, distinct in the
ancient writing, analogous or identical in the modern writing, viz: 1. ping3. —
2. t'ien 4 — 3. hsia4. — 4, 5, 6 hsi1, t'iao2, yao 1 . — 7, yu 3 .
First series: ping3.
Ping 3 . F ire, calamity. The fire u n d e r a roof,
in a house. The more recent form represents the
flames rising up and — spreading over the roof;

Phonetic series 150 It forms

K e n g 1 . To change, to improve;
, Intervention of the armed
h a n d (L. 43 D) in a fire, in an u n h a p p y s itua tio n;
change, amendment. Nole the contraction of the
modern character, and the
compound su1, to return to life. K'ang-hsi erroneously classified
under , the 73th. radical. — Phonetic series 283. It forms
Etymological Lessons. 41. 115
4 2
Pien . Pien A man who settles his
afTairs well; advantage, convenience, ease;
— Phonetic
series AH.

Second series: tien4.

T'ien4. Chin A primitive. The second ancient
character is considered as an abbreviation of the first,
which was explained in the L 47 I. In composition,
is often used for (L. IT G), dried meal, It
forms the phonetic compound

Ch'ien4. Rubia cordifolia, a climbing plant with

large ovate leaves, used in dyeing.

Hsu4. A m a n who eats or offers (for )

dried meat It forms
Hsu 1 . Hsu3. A roof under which a traveller
stops, to spend the n igh t; means, either that he
eats the dried meal he brought w i t h hi m , or ra t her
t h a t he gives the dried m eat to pay his host.
Constellations, the. celestial i nns. The scribes write
for ; it is a licence.— Phonetic series 613.

Pi 4 . A i d , helper, lieutenant,
Two bows, strung on a bamboo with
leather-strongs, to prevent deformation;
The idea of helper, of minister, comes
from the fact that, in ancient times, bows, like swords,
were paired, not single. See L 87 B.

Third series: hsia4

Hsia4. A k i n d of stopper, of cover;
A primitive, often engraved . — It is the 116th
radical of a few common character. It forms

Chia3. Ku3. To buy. To cover an object by its

value in eowries (L. 161 ), to pay its value.

Fu2. To cover. See L. 75 1.

116 Etymological Lesson». 41.

Fourth series: hsi1.

hsi1. A primitive not to be confounded with the
preceding, under which K'ang-hsi wrongly cbassified
it. Image of a bird sitting on its nest; note the
successive contractions; Chuan-
chu, t h e West, for the birds go to roost when the sun
is setting;
It forms

Jeng1. Cry and flight of a bird caught on its nest;

It is n o w w r i t t e n . See L. 19 A, where this
character was fully explained.

Yin 1 . To destroy, to wall, to dam i n ;

See L. 81. It is now written
The pri mit ive idea was probably tha t of mud nests
built by certain birds, v.g such as the swallows. —
Phonetic series 499.

Lu3. The rock salt, that was first used by the Chinese,
a n d that comes from t h e West, says t h e Glose. Hence
the composition: hsi1, West, in its ancient form,
and four grains of s alt ;
— It is the 197th radical. It forms
the compounds
Yen2. Salt obtained by evaporation of the sea-water;

Ancient form salt and the basin (L. 157 A) used

to prepare it. Compare L. 82 F.

Chien3. impure carbonate of soda.

Hsien2. Salted.

Tan2. Pickled. See L. 75 G.

Etymological Lessons. 41. 117

Fifth scries: t'iao4, contraction of

T'iao 2 . Fruits h a n g i n g f r o m plants or trees, in ears
or in bunches; A primitive. On
the top the pedicle, at the bottom the ear or the
bunc h. The ancient form was thrice repeated, to mean
the mu ltitu de of fruits. Not to be confounded w i t h
a singular form of yu3 (L. 41 G). K'ang-hsi
wrongly classified t h i s character under , the 25th
radical In composition, in the modern forms, is
written , v.g.
Li4. Chestnut-tree; See L.
119. — Phonetic series 550.

Su4. Ears, grains of corn; See

L. 122.

S i x t h series: yao4, c o n t r a c t i o n of

See L. 50, N, 0, P.

Sev enth series: yu3.

Yu3. A p r i m i t i v e . It represents an ancient vase, a
k i n d of a m p h o r a , u sed for m a k i n g or keeping t h e
f e r m e n t e d liquors. By extension, fermented liquor,
now chiu3. There are
chia chieh of different kinds. — It is the 164th radical
of characters re l a t i n g to liq u ors It forms

Yu2 or shu 2 . To offer up libations, in the old

way, on a straw b u n d l e ;

See page 362.

Chiu4. Liquor obtained when the fermentation is

over, when the dregs are entirel y separated (L. 18A);
spirits that have settled;
— Phonetic series 432. It forms

Tsun1. To offer with both hands, the wine,

to the manes. By extension, to honour, h igh, noble.
See L. 46 E. The scribes replaced by .—
Phonetic series 713.
118 Etymological Lessons. 41. 42

Tien4. Spirits for the libations, placed upon a

.small table tL. 29 K ) ; to offer libations. The
scribes often contracted into It forms the

Cheng1. Name of a city.


About the two primitives ssu2 and chiung3.

First series: ssu4.

Ssu4. Four. N u m e r i c a l sign. Even n u m b e r , w h i c h is
easily divided into two halves. The old f o r m graphically
represents the d i v i si o n nf into two halves. —
Phonetic series 1 0.

Liu 4 . Six. The even number, also easily divisible,

that comes after four. marked with a dot. Note
that in the other simpl e ev en numbers, the divisibility
is also indicated; two; eight,

P'i3. Half of a whole. The whole is represented by

. A little more than the h a l f of was kopt, so
that the character is still recognisab le;
That w hic h, be ing j o i n e d wit h
its like , forms a pair, a m a t c h See the c o m p o u n d
L 73 B

Second series: chiung3.

Chiung3. A window; By extension,
light; Compare L 40 D, and L
41 G. The modern form is to be distinguished from
L. 15 C. It forms the compounds

Meng2. A liliaceous plant, Fritillaria Thunbergii. A

phonetic complex.
Etymological Lessons. 42. 43. 149

Ming2. Brightness, to illustrate. The moon

sbining through the window;
Li-ssu read instead of hence
sun a n d moon, light. — Phonetic series 384.
It forms

Meng 2 . Note in the first place that the radical is not

. as the modern character might induce one to
believe; it is blood;
To clear up an obscure affair, by
swearing, in the old wa y, up on a vessel full of blood.

Meng2. To bud, to germinate, to open, to appear in

the light; See
L 78 B.


The eight following Lessons, 43 to 50, treat about the character representing the
human hand. Among the modifications introduced in the modern writing, there
were none more deplorable, than the replacing of those very expressive charac-
ters, by unrecognisable abbreviations.

In the old writing, the hand is represented in s i x different ways:

The right hand The right hand

in profile. L. 43 seq. prone. L. 49.

The l e f t h a n d Both bands

in profile. L 46 raised. L. 47.

The h a n d Both h a n d s
facing. L 48. hanging L. 50.

A Note. The use of a compound, instead of the primitive, is frequent in these

series, in order to make easier the distinction between the numerous derivatives
from hand. See p. 16, aote 1.
120 Etymological Lessons. 43.

First series:
Yu4. The right h a n d. The Glose explains that the
fingers are reduced to three, for the sake of
simplification; It is found
in a great n u m b e r of compounds. — It is th e 29th

Chih 1 . Bough, branch. The right h a n d holding a

bough. The old form represents the hand separating
t he bough from the stem;
— It is the 65th radical. — Phonetic
series 45.

P'u1. To tap; The

right hand holding a rod. Compare L. 43 G. The
engravers inve nted t h e m o d e r n form . — It is th e
66th radical of characters relat ing to strokes and
motions. Note t h e two followin g compounds

M u 4 S h e p h e r d , to feed. The
man who superintends, has
oversight of cattle;

Chiao1. To teach. The master

armed with a rod, acting
upon his disciple. See L.
89 H.

Fan3. To t a r n over, inversion. The m o t i o n of

the band t urn i ng over;
— Phonetic series 55.

Chi2. To reach, to seize. A h a n d seizing a

man; See L. 19 D. — Phone-
tic series 40.

Fu4. Father, considered as the e h i e f a n d instructor

of his family. Composed of hand a n d a stick;
L. 43 D. — It is t h e 88th radical. Phonetic series 60
Etymological Lessons. 43. 121

P'i2. To flay; skin. The hand that flays;

The left stroke, represents tbe skin;
the stroke above th e hand may represent tbe knife.
These two strokes are a special primitive. — It is the
107th radical of characters relating to skins. Phonetic
series 149. It forms
Chia3. False, borrowed; To have
two skins, a double skin, a borrowed skin over
one's true skin. The modern character reproduces
the ancient one. — Phonetic series 427.

Nan3, nien 3 . T h in s k in. It is an abbreviation of

Not to be confounded w it h fu2, L. 55 C. It forms
nan , to blush. Turning red of the thin skin
that covers the cheeks.

Second series:

K In the modern writin g, the stroke of is su p p r esse d, when it coincides

with a stroke in t h e same d i r e c t i o n , coining down f r o m the, top of the character.
In this case, there remains b u t fiom . In the a n c i e n t wr iti ng, these characters
are made l i k e those of t h e f i r s t series.
Chang4. A l i n e o f t e n s p a n s (See L. 32 F). A
hand and ten; —
Phonetic series 13.
Shih3. A n n a l i s t , scribe, liter ate. A h a n d grasping
the f o u n t a i n- p e n (pag e 7 ) ;
It forms
Li*. Those among the litera-
ti, who were (L. 2 G) set
over the instruction and admi-
nistration of the
people ;

— See L. 44 H.

Chueh2. To divide, to partake;

A hand holding one h a lf of a bilateral
object, which was divided into two halves. K'ang-hsi
wrongly classified this character under , the 37th
radical. — Phonetic series 53.
122 Etymological Lessons. 43. 44.

Third series: Multiples of

Yu3. Friend, friendship. The character represents the
right hands of two friends, acting in the same
direction; for, says the Glose, true friends are those
who cooperate;
Compare L. 46 C.
Jao2. Three hands picking herbs; to gather;
It is an ancient form of L. 46 G The hand
represented thrice signifies activity. It forms
Sang1. The mulberry, the
tree, the leaves of which are
plucked to feed the silkworms;

Phonetic series 558.

Cho4. To sew; This character

has nothing in common with the hand. It is a
primitive that represents the stitches encroaching
upon one another. Compare (L. 57 B). - Phonetic
series 341.

A In this Lesson, we sh all examine some characters in w hich the hand
kept almost its ancient form in the modern writing. The ancient forms of these
characters resemble those of the last Lesson. Do not confound the h a n d , with
the 58th radical
Ch'ou 3 . A hand bound. To bind, to tie u p ;
Chia-chieh, a cyclical
character. Sometimes, in composition, it means the
hand (L. 43 A). — Phonetic series 50. It forms.
Hsiu1. To be forced to offer
a sheep in expiation, as a re-
paration for wrong. Hence, to
feel ashamed, to blush.
Yin . A magistrate, to govern. A hand that exerts
a u t ho r i t y ;
It forms i1, a proper Dame; and
Ghun1. A prince;

See, p. 9, for the story and

the Interpretation of this character. — Phonetic series
267. But ts'ang1 is not derived from . See L. 26
M, under
Etymological Lessons. 44. 123
Nieh4. A hand writing upon — a surface. In the
ancient form, hand writing upon a tablet,
whose top o n l y is figured.

Yu4. A more explicit form. Hand writing — a l i n e

on a lahlet. The line is horizontal, because it was im-
possible to truce a vertical one (p. 18,8). The modern
writing-brush is written , because its handle is
made of hamboo. — It is the 129th radical. See its
important derivatives, L, 169.

Tai4. To reach, to seize, to hold. A hand that seizes

a tail ; when running, one seizes from behind ;

For contracted, see L. 100. Compare ch'iu2,

L. 45 K. See, also (L. 102 B) k'ang 1 , that has no-
thing iu common with . -~ It is the 171th radical.

Chieh2. Result, success. The hand having

reached its end, ceases from ac tin g. See
L. 112, and L. 78. — Phonetic series 330 It forms

Ch'i 1 . Wile. —This form is a relatively modern one;

(L 67) a w o m a n who holds a broom or a
duster. For, says The Glose, the woman must take care
of th e household. Compare (below K). — A more
ancient form gives: daughter, an d price (L. 111
B). The price paid to the parents, for their daughter,
by the husband. — Phonetic series 326.

Shih 4 To serve. Chia-chieh any affair. Hand acting

with fidelity, is a false interpretatio n. This
character has nothing to do wit h L. 43 M.
It re-
presents the hand of a son invitin g the soul
of his ancestor. See page 370.
124 Etymological Lessons. 44.

Ping 3 . Sheaf of grain hold by a hand, to bind

in sheaves, to hold;

Chien1. A han d t h a t binds up into sheaves two

(several) stalks of grain. By extension, to join se-
veral together, a whole. Note the contraction of the
two in the modern form. — Phonetic series 519.

Hui4. A broom, hundle of branches held in a

See L 97 B. K'ang-hsi wrongly
classified this character under the 58th radical. —
Phonetic series 617. It forms
Hsueh 3 . Snow; ra i n
solidified, t h a t m a y he swept

scribes contracted into

Chou3. A duster, mode w i t h a cloth, fixed by the

m i d d l e to a h a n d l e . I n v e n t e d in t h e 2 1 t h C e n t u r y B.
C., a c c o r d i n g lo th e Glose., it is s t i l l used in o u r days.
A hand, t h e h a n d l e , a n d a double
h a n g i n g . Compare t h e b o t t o m of L. 24 Q. — Pho-
netic, series 343. It f o r m s

Fu4. A married w o m a n , w i f e ;

A woman with a duster, indicating

her household duties. The ancients, says, t h e Glose, gave to this character the
sound of fu, to remind the wife that she must be f u , obedient to her husband.
Compare ch'i , above G.
Kui 1 . The ar ri val of t h e br i de at her husband's
bouse, where she w i l l slay as a wife ( contracted);
Later on was a d d e d as
a phonetic. Chuan-
chu, to b elo ng to, to depend u p o n ; the maried woman belonging to a new f amil y,
being submitted to a new authority.

C h i n 1 To dust A h a n d holding a duster

(above K) Pleonastic composition (two ). The
scribes invented the modern form. — P honetic series
261. The compound ch'in 4 . to encroach u p o n t h e
neighbour's ground, is
explained thus: to act g r a d u a l l y and discretely, as with a dusting-brush,
thus gaining on one's neighbour's ground;
Etymological Lessons. 45. 125


A About five d e ri v a l i v e s f r o m , t h a t arc of a special interest, on a c c o u n t

of the series derived from t h e m . These are:

First scries
Tsun4.The Chinese i n c h. The clot represents th e place
on t h e w r i s t w h e r e the puls e is felt, w hi c h pl a c e is an
inch d i st a n t f r o m the h a n d ; hence the meaning i n c h ;

By extension, measure, rule. In composition,

is o f t e n w r i t t e n instead o f . ; see L. 43 A. — It is
the .41th radical. Phonetic series 32. It forms

Fu 4 . To give A h a n d t h a t gives up some, object

to a m a n : — Phonetic
series 420. it forms
Fu3 Building where t h e
records, the litle-deeds of do-
nations, the diplomas, were
kept; By extension, t r i b u n al , palace.—
Phonetic series 355.

Shou3. A m a n d a r i n , a p r e f e c t ; the m a n , w h o , in hi s
t r i b u n a l , a p p l i e s the law.
By extension, to observe,
to keep. — Phonetic series 237.

Te2. To acquire, to obtain;

To lay one's hand on the thing one
had in view The compound is now used instead.
— Phonetic series 397. Sometimes is used as an
abbreviation of , e.g. for nai4; it is a licen-
ce. Note the, contraction of the modern character.

Hsun2. To wind, to unravel treads with

the hands and the ; the latter probably represen-
ting an instrument used for the winding.
The old character
represented the unravelling of threads by two hands
holding combs. By extension, to examine, to invesli-
126 Etymological Lessons. 45.

gate (the winding requires attention); length, duration (as of a thread winded ).
The c h a r a c t e r was altered by the scribes. There are different chia-chieh. — Pho-
netic series 686.

Chou3. The fore-arm, the elbow;

The fleshy part above the wrist.
Chou . The crupper of a saddle; The
preceding contracted, is supposed to be the phon etic.

T'ao3. To rule by one's words; to chide

Second series:
Ch'a1. To cross, to interlace. The a n c i e n t character
represented t h e two hands i n t e r l a c e d . In t h e modern
character, the l e f t h a n d is represented by
By extension,
gearings, toothed wheels, etc. — Phonetic series 12.

Third series.:
Chao3. Claws; Hand or paw with
points; It forms

Tsao2. Flea. The insect that

irritates men, says the Glose.
— Pho netic series 570.

Fourth series:
Shu2. A glutinous grain, rice or millet ;
The idea of glutinousness is represented
by the hand , that separates three agglutinated
grains. The ancient charater represented the plant.—
Phonetic series 158. It forms

Sha1. To decapitate;
The cutting (39 B) of the ear, upon a stalk of
rice, sorghum or millet. The ancient forms represent:
on the top, the hand after th e cutting ; at the bottom,
the stalk beheaded. To behead a man is now said
sha1, (L. 22 D) representing the sword's stroke.
Etymological Lessons. 46. 46. 127
Note that the modern scribes, leaving off the dot on the
top of , write etc., which gives the phonetic
6 strokes, instead of 7, and makes one mistake for
(L. 119). It is a licence. K'ang-hsi numbered 6
strokes in , 7 in , then
6 again in- , etc. It is an inconsistency.

Fifth, series:
Ch'iu2. To search for, to ask, to implore. According
to the Glose, the primitive composition and meaning
of this character would be l i k e those of (L. 44 E);
; to seize, or to
hold by the tail
contracted (L. 100 B). The meaning, to beg, to pray, would come from
sacrifice of a b ull for impetration, as under the Chow Dynasty. Perhaps, in this
sacrifice, the offerer held by its tail the offered b u l l . — It seems rather that the
primitive sense, was , to offer hairs (L 100) of the victim, with prayers, as
was done in the ancient sacrifices. K'ang-hi wrongly classified under wa-
ter. — Phonetic series 263.


A The first Series of this Lesson treats about the left hand . In the modern
writing, on the top of the compounds, it becomes ; af the b otto m, it becomes
, etc. It is never written (See LL. 44 and 135 H).
The second Series treats about some compounds, in which the right hand
placed on the top, became also in the modern writing. In their ancient form,
those compounds are made just like those given in the LL. 43, 44, 45.

First series: for

Tso3. The left hand; Was soon
replaced by

Tso3. Properly, the help given by the le ft hand

to the right, its action;
128 Etymological Lessons. 46.

Gh'a4. Variance, and consequently, aberration,

failure. Two h a n d s opposite. W h i l e the l ef t h a n d is
act i n g, offering some object, t h e r i g h t one does not
move, does n o t receive, remai ns hanging. Compare 43
P, 47 B, 47 Y, 50 A, etc.. The tracing of the h a n g i n g
right h a n d bei ng too difficult with the modern writing-
brush, the co m position of t h i s character was modified
as follows; left h a n d , m a k i n g two with the
right one, not agreeing with it, f o r s a k e n by the right
that (L 18 E) remains h a n g i n g , instead of helping
the l e ft ;
Finally, a foolish scribe wrote instead of , and
Li-ssu adopted. Conclusion : has nothing in com-
mon, either with , or w i t h (L, 103). — Phonetic
series 506.
To4. To b u i l d a (L. 86) l i n e of c o n t r a v a l l a t i o n ,
terraces, to besiege, a f o r t i f i e d t o w n , according to t h e
Chinese ways; represents t h e action of the besiegers;
twice repealed, me ans t h e i r great n u m b e r ; left,
means that their action is the inverse, the contrary
to the action of t h e besieged ; By extension,
to d e s t r o y . It forms
To4. S u i 2 M e a t c u t up.
One of the two was
replaced by the radical (L. 65).
It forms, contracted i n t o in
t h e modern writing, the phon etic
series 480. The phonetic compl ex
sui2, to follow,
forms the phonetic
series 759.
PI 4 . O r di n a r y , vulgar. This
m e a n i n g is chuan-chu from
the primitive meaning ;
This ch ar acte r represents an ancient
drinking vase provided with a h a n d l e on t h e l e f t side (a p r i m i t i v e distinct from
(L. 152), and which was held wit h the left hand. How came t h is character to mean
common, v u l g a r ? There were, says t h e Glose, two w i n e vessels, the tsun1 a n d
1 1 1
the pi . The tsun was used for the sacrifices, t h e pi was used every day. Later
on, the two characters were taken in the abstract sense for noble and vulgar,
a n d the vases were written tsun1 a n d pi1 ;
— Phonetic series 388.
Etymological Lessons. 46. 129

Second series: for

Yu4. It me a ns now, the right h a n d (chia-chieh for
L 43 B), the right side. The primitive meaning
was. to put in the mouth; to help the mouth,
as the Glose says; which is a proof that the ancient
Chinese used the right hand to eat;
Hence, to help. Compare L. 46
13. _ Phonetic series 172.

Jao 2 . Pr i mit i ve sense, to pick, eatable herbs,

in order to eat t he m; Compare L. 43
Q. — Jao- is now (chia-chi eh) an impor tant conjunc-
tion, if, as, etc. See the compound L 10 D.
Phonetic series 454.

Yu3. Primitive meaning: the phases of' the moon

, its m o n t h l y darkening, as if a h an d covered it;
Or, a c c o r d i n g to oth ers,
ecl ipse of the. moon, the interpretation being the
same. The following interpretation: eclipse of the
s u n , the moon placing the hand before it,
is rejected by t h e com-
mentators. — Yu means no w (chia-chieh) lo be, to
have. — Phonetic series 250.

H u i 1 Ashes, fire that can be h an d l e d ; or

p er h a p s that which remains of the fire that was
covered, smothered;
— Phonetic series 210.

Kung2 The a r m ; See L. 38 H. —

Phonetic series 69.

Pu4. Linen, cloth. In this character, is not ,but

fu (L. 43 G) contracted, phonetic. See L. 35 G. —
Phonetic series 152.
130 Etymological Lessons. 47.

A About the two hands. The simplification of this character, in the modern
writing, made many compounds quite unintelligible. See the examples given
below, and you may verify the remark. Any signs are good to replace ;
Kung3. The two hands joine d and held up, as when
presenting a thing:
It is the 55th radical.

First series.
Tsun 1 . To ofter a w i n e vessel t hat was held with
both hands;
T he scribe s changed into . See, L. 40 E, the
o r i g i n of t h e modern chuan-chu, noble, high, eminent.
— Phonetic series 713.

P i n g 1 . Arms, soldiers; Two

h a n d s br andishing an axe (L. 128).

C h i e h 4 . To d a u n t , to forbid with threats;

Two hands h o l d i n g a hal ber d (L. 71) —
Phonetic series 258.

L u n g 4 , neng 4 . Two h a n d s playing with a

jade ball (L. 83); To
h a n d l e , to make. — Phonetic series 290.
Hsuan. To calculate. It has nothing in common with
lung 4. It is a different writing of , below G, the
representation of the abacus being instead of

Chu4. To heap up, to hoard up, to prepare. The

is contracted into .Two hands heaping up
cowries ( L. 161), the money of the ancients;
— Phonetic series

Hsuan4 To calculate, to plan. It has n o t h i n g in

common with chu4;
Two hands manipulating the Chinese abacus (a
primitive) made of bamboo. Compare above F. —
Phonetic series 780, the radical being placed at the
bottom, etc.
Etymological Lessons 47. 131
Pi en . Hat ; On the
tup, t h e hat, a p r i m i t i v e form. At the bottom, two
hands, th e r i t u a l r e q u i r i n g both hands to be used in
covering or uncovering oneself. The form is u
m o d e r n contraction. — Phonetic series 78.

Yen3, To cover,
o join the hands, in
order to cover something; —
Phonetic series 496.

Second series.
In the modern writing, the hands are often mixed up with the object which
they hold. Among these compounds, that are now unrecognisable, some are very
important. The two following, J and K, are to be carefully distinguished.
Cheng4. Fire that can be handled, embers,
live coal, lit. grain of fire;
Compare , L. 46 I. It forms

Gheng4. To c a u l k the seams

of a boat ( for L 66); or
rather, to curve with fire
planks to build a h u l l . — Phonetic, series 511, in
which the radic al is inserted at the bottom of
etc. — From the year B. C. 221, was used (chia-
chieh) to write the personal pronoun chen by which
the E m p e r o r designated h i m s e l f .

Chuan4. To pick a n d sort (L. 123) with the

hands, to choose the best. The top Is not
(L. 12 2). — Phonetic series 191, in which the ra-
dical is placed at the bottom, etc. Note the
Chuan4. A deed sealed L.
55 B), a roll, a scroll, a section
or division of a work; is
phonetic. — Phonetic series 350.
132 Etymological Lessons. 47.

Third series:
This is another series formed hy the hands mixed up with the object which
they hold. Though the object is not the same in the ancient characters, the
modern contraction is the same. The radical is at the bottom.
Peng4. To hold up (or to receive) respectfully in both
hands, as required by the ritual;
Note that at the bottom,
has only two transversal strokes, as in the ancient
character (L. 48). says the Glose, represents the
action of presenting something, while the two
hands represent the ritual reverence. —. Phonetic
series 354.
Tsou4. To i n f o r m , a m e m o r a n d u m . To present one's
Self (L. 60 V) before a superior, a n d to offer
to hi m one's advice; The (L. 78 A) is
symbolic, — P hon et i c series 482.

Ch'ung 1 . To b ark the g r a i n by p o u n d i n g it.

Two h a n d s t h a t raise up the pestle
(L. 130), above the mortal (L. 139);
According to the Glose, the. g u i l t y women were
co nd emn ed to this hard work. Not to be conf ounded
with , below P. — Phonetic series 606. The
composition of the next is analogous.
Ch'in 2 . A k i n d of rice, cul-
tivated in the. Wei valley; then
the name of this valley, an d las-
t l y of the Ch'in Dynasty. The
character represents the
barking of thi s rice. — Phonetic series 522.

Tai 4 A man, who struggles, in water;

flooded river, inundation. Hence the derived notion,
vast, w i de -s pr ea di n g. The modern character is a
strange contraction.

Ch'un 1 . Spring. Here the m od er n has a quite

d ifferent meaning from th at of the preceding charact ers.
Outburst of the. plants , u n d e r the influence of
the s u n , at the b e g i n n i n g of the year. See L. 79
A. — Phonetic series 436.
Etymological Lessons. 47. 133

Fourth scries. O t h e r m o d e r n c o n t r a c t i o n s of
Kung 4 Generally, all, altogether. Action in common
, symbolised, in the old character; by four
hands joined together, and in the more, recent form,
by twenty pairs of hands;
See L. 74 C. — Phonetic series 225.

Note: L. 22 D, has nothing in common with

The same may be said of the two following
characters, R a n d S
I4. To disagree, discord, variance, difference, hetero-
dox. Two hands , thrust aside the earnest
money, from t h e s mall table, upon which it was
l ai d d o w n ; the parties do not want to conclude, they
disagree. Compare t he agreement, L. 40 C. —
Phonetic series 620.

Pao4. i n s o l a t i o n , e x p o su r e to the s u n ; to s p r e a d
out the grain . w h e n the su n is risen . By
e x t e n si o n , a n y intense, violent action or influence. —
P h o n e t i c series 809.

F i f t h series. Other m o d e r n contractions of

Sai1 To wall i n , to block u p , to sh u t u p . An empty
pl ac e is filed w it h bricks, or other materials,
t h a t ar e i n t r o d u c e d by the hands. It is now written
. — P h o n e t i c series 530. The top of the compounds,
w h i c h now resembles the top of the derivatives f r o m
( b e l o w U), was different from them in the old

H a n 2 . Cold;
A poor m a n , who tries to
protect h i m s e l f from frost, (L. 17 A), in his
shelter, by b u r y i n g himself in straw. — Phonetic
series 530, in w h i c h the top is the s ame as in the de-
rivatives from sai1 ( a b o v e T) ; gives room to the
radical, v.g.
Gh'ien5 To go lame;
134 Etymological Lessons. 47.

S i x t h series. Other modern contractions of

Ch'eng2. To aid, to second; a deputy, a minister
Two hands holding a , the official
sceptre, to mean the min i st er (See L. 55 A, B). A
mou ntain represents the pri n ce who is assisted; for,
says the Glose, m o u n t a i n means eminence, dignity.
In the modern character, flattened was changed
into —. It forms the phonetic, compound
Cheng1. To steam, to boil;
— Phonetic series
510. Note also
Chin 3 . The symbolical wedding
cup, two halves of a same gourd.

Ch'eng2. To
Sec (above L), the composition and meaning of
w h i c h are n e a r l y identical; instead of , there is
representing any object whatever.

S e v e n t h series: In the two f o l l o w i n g c h a ra c t e r s, represents t h e claws of

a scorpion.
Ch'ai4. A scorpion represented by its claws, head
and tail; The legs being added, this
charact er
Wan4. Scorpion ; This character now means
chia-chieh a myriad. See the Introduction, p. 11, and
L. 23 H. Phonetic series 765.

Eighth series: the hands diverging.

P'an1. To discard. Gesture of a man w h o exerts

h i m s e l f to separate, to repel obstacles, on the right
an d on the le ft. The modern abbre-
v i a t i o n is an u n h a p p y one. It forms
Fan2. Hedge, tr ellis, obtacle, to stop;
The hands try ing in vain to separate the
interlaced branches of a hedge ( L. 39 L). —
Phonetic series 801, in which the radical is added at
the bottom, , etc.
Etymological Lessons. 48. 49. 135
About , a special form of the hand.

Shou3. is the hand seen half face;

is the
hand (palm) seen f u l l f a c e ; The, small
in the, ancient form, represents the lines of the
h a n d . Now or . — It is t h e 64t h r a d i c a l of
characters r e l a t i n g to the h a n d . See L. 11 E, a n d
note the following,

Shih1. To lose, to let fall f r o m the hand;

See L. 9 A. The a n -
ci en t c h a r a c t e r is h a r d l y r e c o g n i s a b l e in i t s m o d e r n
form. — Phonetic series 155.

K'an4. To look at, to re ga r d c a r e f u l l y . A h a n d

covering an eye; For, says
the Glose, in o r d e r to see well, o n e sh a d e s t h e eye
with the hand, that stops t he rays of the s u n ;
L. 37 F.

Che2. She2. To c u t , to b r e a k , to burst ; A

hand holding an axe ;
This is a mistake of Li-ssu. The old character r e p r e-
sented an axe. and the two parts of a c u t
branch; — Phonetic series 252.

Pai4. To honour, to reverence. Two hands that are

held down; See .an
ancient form of , L. 5 B.

About the hand, not raised up, but prone.

Chao3. The right hand, prone, leaning on the palm

By extension, paw, claw; It
is the 87th radical. Phonetic series 39. On accaund of
its meaning, in the compounds, the n o r m a l position
of is on the top of the c o m p o u n d : : Ull,
contracted form in the modern w riting.
136 Etymological Lessons. 49.

Ts'ai3. To pluck, w i t h the tip of the fingers, upon

a tree, a /lower or a f r u i t ;
Now . — Phonetic series 402.

Lueh4. To draw, to stretch between fingers;

Two hands a n d ; — re-
presents t h e stretching. Compare below D, E. — Pho-
n e t i c series 292,

C heng 1 . To p u l l in different directions; to q u a rr el ,

to light. Two h a n d s , and the primitive (L. 8)
t h a t m e a n s , to p u l l ;
The Glose e x p l a i n s that p u l l i n g brings quarrels
— Phonetic series 324.

P'iao3. To pass an object downwards, from one's

own hand, to another's;
it forms

Shou4. To gi v e or to receive, from hand to hand, to

confine i n t o a recipent;
Therefore is t h a t w h i c h rem ains
from L. 66. One may follow, in t h e
characters, the successive, alterations of this element.
The ch aracter represents a lading ; a h and , on the
bank, delivers the goods; another , in the boat,
receives a n d stows them away. The mo dern abstract
meanings, to receive, to endure, are chuan-chu. —
Phonetic series 39'2. Note t h a t ai4 (L. 99 F) has
n o t h i n g in c o m m o n w i t h

Yuan2. A traction eq u al on both sides; action

a nd reaction, (L. 115 B contracted) annulling
eac h ot her; eq uilibri um, pause, halt. — Phonetic
series 505.

Y in 3 . To enjo y the result of the work of one's

h ands of one's toil, of t h at which
one has
gathered; a life secure a n d free from care;
It forms , peace of
heart, t h e man who has what he needs, a n d who
desires n o t hi n g else; now . — Phonetic series 794.
Etymological Lessons. 49. 50. 137

Weil. Female mo nke y , (Compare L.

23 E). One on the, top, a n d two others mingled at
the bottom ; be cause, says the Glose, among all the
animals, t he f emale monkey is the most prone to claw ;
The m i d d le is intended to represent
the. body of the. fema le monkey. This body is compo-
sed of man ( o n account of the resemblance), and
of a coarse representation of t h e breasts (to signify
the female). This last element is a primitive (See
L 67 0) — That is all pure f u n . The a n c i e n t
charac ter represented a
hand carding textile fibres. — Now chuan-chu to do, chia-chieh to be; for, in
order to, etc. Note the modern usual abbre via tion. — Phonetic series 717.

Yin 4 . A se al , to seal, to p r in t. A ha n d , bolding a

piece of jade , the seal of office. (L. 55 B; L. 47 V, W),
and using it downwards;
In the modern character, the two
elements, instead of overlying each other, are in
juxtaposition, which is illogical. — The following is

I4. The. contrary idea: stamp, pressure, to compress

(positive-negative, c o m p a r e L 30 C);
The hand
added further, is a redundancy of radicals. Then
lost one stroke,


About the two hands lowered, the i n v e r t of , L. 47

Chui2 Hands lowered, giving or ta king downwards;

There are numerous compounds.
Note that The mo d e r n writers and engravers often
draw , which makes the compounds unintelligible,
and changes the nu mber of strokes.

Kuan 4 To wash o n e s hands. W ate r poured

upon the hands, over a vessel;
138 Etymological Lessons. 50.

F i r s t series: and its derivatives.

Shen 1 . A n c i e nt f or m: two hands e x t e n d i n g a rope;
idea of extension, of expansion. Later on, the rope
straightened by the scribes was interpreted as being
a man standing, who girds himself with both hands;
oldest forms were primitives, figuring the alternate
expansion of the two n a t u r a l powers. — Phonetic se-
ries 153. It forms the following.

Tien4. Lightning, thunderbolt, the expansion (dis-

charg e) towards the earth, of a .stormy cloud,
la the modern character, the l i n e is curved towards
t he right, in order to take less room. The Glose
explains the nature of a thunderbolt as follows:
The ch'i4
yang 2 , the male power, rushing on the earth, lights
with the ch'i4 yin1, the female power, which gives
b i r t h to the lightning. Thus the Chinese, twenty
c e n t u r i e s before F r a n k l i n .

Yen 3 . A m a n ( L. 60) who stretches his legs and

covers a stri de's length; by extension, to r o ve r ;
— Phonetic scries 418.

I4. To stretch , to p u l l in a direction;

See L. 8 A. Now . — Phonetic
series 213.

Yiu2. To stretch , to p u l l in another direction;

See L. 8 B Now . —
Phonetic series 502.

Ch'en2. Name of a place. The fi r s t C a p i t a l , the first

seat ot a d m i n i s t r a t i o n of China, u n d e r Fu-hsi (See our
Textes Hisloriques, p. 19). From L. 119, c u t t i n g
down of trees; L. 86, building walls; exerci-
sing authority. The vertical lines of and of are
joined. Derived notions of antiquity, of a long duration,
to dispose, to fit up, etc. It has n o t h i n g in common
with , L. 120 K. Compare L. 12 0.
Etymological Lessons. 50 139

Second series: and its d e r i v a t i v e s

Yu2. To lift up. many hands drawing or pushing;

It forms compounds,
in which the radical is inserted on the top, between
the two ; v.g.

Yu2. A heavy car (L. 167), a roller drawn or

pushed with much trouble.

Yu3 To give. See and the analysis of . L. 5*

H. — Phonetic series 768, in which the radical is added
at the bottom, between the two ; v.g.

Chu3. To raise;

Hsing1. To lift up , several

men acting toge-
ther; Not to he
confounded with the derivatives of (L. 151) , etc.
Chuan-chu, animation, success, the results of coope-
ratio n a n d concord; to be in d e m a n d , fashionabl e .

Third series: and its derivatives

Hsiao2 To learn. Was explained L. 39 1. When the

hands of the master act
downwards, th e
darkness that covers the mi nd of the disc i pl e
is dispelled. — Phonetic series 733. giving
place to the radical.

Fourth series: and its derivatives.

Yao 1 . This compound represents a head and two
hands. It means sometimes, head and hands; and
sometimes, head and shoulders, the bust. It forms
compounds that are important, but unrecognisable in
the modem form, on account of the fusion of different
140 Etymological Lessons. 50.

Yao1. The loins, t h e waist;

A hea d . t he two hands , t ha t
s u r r o u n d a wom an' s figure. women t a k i n g more care of
t h e i r waist th a n m e n . T he a n c i e n t forms represented
a h u m a n face, a n d two h a n d s g i r d i n g t h e w a i st ;
m e a n , loins, waist, t h i s c h a r a c t e r is n o w w ri t t e n
The a n c i e n t cha ract er n o w m e a n s chia-chieh, to w a n t ,
to ne e d, to a sk for, etc. — P h o n e t i c series 493.

P'iao 4. I gn i s fat u u s (vul g o phantom-fire)

The Chinese f e a r t h e m . On t h e top , t h e bust of t h e
hobgoblin. At t h e b ot t o m , the fla me t h a t takes the
place of t h e body's l o w e r p a r t In t h e m i d d l e , the
waist. The m o d e r n m e a n i n g s of t h i s character, a
warrant, a b i l l , a r e c h ua n- c h u ( t h i n g s t h a t a re f eared).
— Phonetic, series (642. K'ang-hsi who m i g h t have
rightly cl a ssi fi ed under , placed it un de r ,
w h i c h is a m i s t a k e . B u t I b i s is th e worst insta nce, a n d
shows how a l l his classifications a r e arbitrary a nd
wit h o ut foundation: instead of classifying under
. as he d i d f o r , be classified it u n d e r (113th
r a d i c a l ) , w i t h w h i c h it has n o t h i n g in common, I h e
c h a r a c t e r at t h e b o t t o m bei n g (86th ra dic a l).

C h ' i e n 1 To rise by c l i m b i n g u p . The bead and

fo ur bands. The idea is probably taken from
t h e m o n k e y s ( q u a d r u m a n a ) . By e x t e n s i o n , to rise up,
to m a k e h e a d w a y , p r o m o t i o n . The m o d e r n fo rm was
a d d e d w i t h an official s e a l , wh i c h m e a n s p r o m o t i o n
in t h e h i e r a r c h y , t h e seal b e i n g t h e badge Of the r a n k .
Now , to be p r o m o t e d . See L. "25 I , t he
Immortal s, t he m e n who rose above the h u m a n
cond ition.
Nung 2 The h u s b a n d m a n ; A head
two h a nd s . and t h e b r e a k ot t h e day c o n t r a c -
ted g i v i n g place to . The o i a n who w o r k s f r o m
early da wn: a l l f i e l d - w o r k be ing d one very early in
hot countries — P h o n e t i c series 751.

Note: has nothing in common with ch'u1 L. 51 B, li3 L 97 B, ts'ao2

L. 120 K. Neither of the last two are derived from
Etymological Lessons.. 51. 52. 141


About two primitives, which were united on account of their resemblance in the
old writing, fang1 and ch'u1.

First series: fang1.

Fang 1 . The p r i m i t i v e wooden vessel, a log h o llow ed

out; The ch arac ter is written
h o r i z o n t a l l y . By extension, chest, t r u n k , box. —It is
the 22th radical. To be distinguished from the 23th
r a d i c a l (L. 10 B ) ; the, two are much a lik e. It forms.

C h i a n g 4 . The primiti ve art, t h e first ha n dicraft,

w h i c h consisted in h o l l o w i n g the wood w i t h an
ax e, to m a k e the vessels; carpentry;
c a r p e n t e r ; then, by extension, craft, art, in general.

Second series: ch'u1.

Ch'u 1 . Represents a piece of wood t h a t is bent. It

was later on replaced by fang 1 ( a b o v e A) raised up.
By extension, curved, c ro oked, oblique, not straight. —
Phoneti c series 190. But li3 L. 97 B, nung2
L. 50 Q, ts'ao L. 120 K, are not d e ri v e d from


About the primitive

Tao1. Edge-tool, knife, sword; The

h a n d l e is curved, to take less room. The u p per hook
belongs to the handle, the lower hook is the edge. See
page 365 the primitive instrument, of silex, fixed into
a curved handle of wood. — Note the contracted form
of this character, when it is placed on the side. It is the
18th radical of characters relating to cutting, etc.

This character is not found in the old dictionaries.

It is considered as a different writing of
It Is read tiao1, and means, perverse,
142 Etymological Lessons. 52.

J e n . Edged weapons, the edge, sharp, pointed:

The character represents a
sword wi t h a dot on the blade, to i n d i c at e t h e place
where the i n s t r u m e n t cuts. — Phonetic series 21.
It forms
Jen3. To bear, to sustain;
heart and a cutting weapon. The
heart wounded.

Liang2 Cutting weapon f i x e d in t h e notch it

m a d e , a c t i o n of a c u t t i n g w e a p o n ;
It is f o u n d in
Liang2. P r i m i t i v e l y , a narrow
— foot-bridge, made w i t h two
trees placed over a brook
Later on, a tree, harked
a n d planed, placed ove r a
brook. Then, by extension, a
beam, a sleeper. It forms by
substituting to ,
the character liang 2 , sorghum.

Chao4. P ri m i ti v e m e a n i n g , , to j u d g e accor-
d i n g to the Chinese way, viz. to chide a n d to
make some a m p utati o n. Compare the similar
composition of a n d , L. 39 E. By extension, to
cite, to sen d for, to call. — Phone tic series 105

Lieh 4 . To div ide seriatim, to arrange, to place

according to r a n k or r u l e ;
See L. 12 F. — Phonetic series 228.

Tsai2. Law, rule to be, observed; a n d the penalties

of old, fines a n d mu ti la ti on s;
C h u a n - c h u , c o n se qu en tl y . — P h o n e t i c series 4 8 1 ,

Tsei2. In its modern form, this character m i g h t be

taken for a derivative of (L. 71 0). This is not so.
It is composed of a halberd, a sword,
cowries, To plunder with arms in h a n d ;
robbery; a bandit. It derives not from
Etymological Lessons. 52. 53 143
Li*. To cut the corn ; reaping-hook; hence,
sharp, acute; Cbuan-chu, the
harvest, the acquisition of the year; hence, gain»,
profit, interest on money. — An old form was composed
of , and ( L. 101) representing the motion of the
sickle. In t he corresponding modern form, lost
one stroke, as it may be seen above,. — The, two f o r m s are found in the com-
pounds, the old one being used spec iall y when is placed on the top of the
compound, as in This last character is composed of and ,
the 202th radical. The of the radical, and of the phonetic, are mingled toge-
ther. — Phonetic series 288.

See L. 18 B, L. 16 B, etc.
Do not mistake for , the contracted, e.g. in . See the whole Lesson 28.—
However has somet ime s, but seldom, this form. See L. 55 G.

repeated three times is found in

Li4. .Nephelium li-chih ,
the fruit so dear to
t he Chinese. The. sound li4 (L. 53) induced the
scribes to write , th us m aking one more wrong


About the primitiv e

Li4. Sinew; by extension, strength;
The lop of the m iddle-line (the sinew) is curved, to
take less room. The two side-lines a nd the transversal
s troke represent the fibrous sheath. — It is the 19th
radical of characters relating to effort of any kind. It

Lueh3. I n f i r m , feeble; from strength and few:

Nan2. The man, by opposition to the woman, the

male. The one who exerts his strength in the work
of the field, the woman being busy at home;

Compare L. 135 C.
144 Etymological Lessons. 53.54.

Chia1. To add the

sinews to the month,
violence to persuasion; By
extension, to add to, to increase, to insist, to inflict,
etc. — Phonetic series 108.

See L. i'O E; L. 38 F; L. 90 A.

Hsieh2. Ac ti o n in common, represented by the union

of the strength of three persons; union, concord,
cooperation; Compare
L. 47 Q. — Phonetic series 20t It forms
Hsieh2. Union, ten persons, i. e. a multitude,
joining their efforts; See
L. 24.
Hsieh2. The sides of the chest Perfect cooperation
of the ribs;


In the first part of this Lesson, a particular form of the primitive (L. 25)
will be studied. The second part is dev o te d to the primitives the
compounds of which resemble those of in the. modern writing.

First part.
P a o 1 . A man who bends to enfold an object;
To wrap up, to envelop,
to contain; a bundle, a whole. — It is the 20th radical
of characters relating to wrapping and enclosing.
Note that in a few modern characters, is written
like ( 1 4 t h radical); vg. (L. 167 C), (L. 69 G),
etc. The following compounds form important groups.

Pao1. Actual meaning: to wrap up, to contain, in

general. Primitive meaning: gestation, the foetus
inwrapped in the womb;
L. 30 B. — Phonetic series 145.

T'ao2. A furnace for

burning (L. 130C)
earthen ware;
— Phonetic series 396.
Etymological Lessons. 54. 145
Chu2. A bandful, to grasp. Primitive meaning: the
q u a n t i t y of grains that can he grasped by a
hand; Now
— Phonetic series 346.

Yun2. To divide a whole , into parts supposed

t o be equal; uniform repartition; regularity, equality;
— Phonetic series
98. It is contracted in the two following

Hsun 2 . A period of ten days; —

Phonetic series 209.

Hung 1 . The noise of a crowd;

— Phonetic series 453.

It seems rather that these two characters are derived

directly from , a n d not
from contracted. — Hsun2: a whole , a period of ten days. — Hung1: a whole
, a u n i o n of voices.
See L. 38 D; L. 10 G; L. 54 G; !. 17 G, etc.

Second series:
C h i u 1 . A p r i m i t i v e , i n t e n d e d to represent the tangle
of creeping plants; By
extension, c u r v e d, crooked, entangled. — Phonetic
series 5. In the modern writing, is sometimes re-
placed by e.g. for ; it is a licence. From ,
a n d not f r o m , comes

Kou1. Curved, crooked, hook;

The form is a modern abbreviation;
is also read
Chu4. A sentence; because, in the Chinese composi-
tions, the end of each sentence, the pause, is indicated,
when it is so, by a hook, which is the equivalent
of the. European punctuation ;

Phonetic series 131, in which are found the two

sounds kou and chu. (L. 32 F) has nothing in
common with
146 Etymological Lessons. 54.
Note: The following, chi 4 , conies from , a n d not from . It must be
carefully distinguished from kou3 ( under the 140th radical ).

Chi 4 . To restrain one's self, self-possession,

deferential reserve. Etymologically, to restrain
one's mouth, and to stand quiet (L. 103 C);

It forms
Ching . Deferential behaviour,
reverence, reserve, modesty
in t h e presence of the
a u t h o r i t y ( t h e h a n d h o l d i n g the rod, L. 43 D). —
P h o ne t ic series 192.
Pei 4 . Pi4. To prepare, to make
r e a d y a l l t h e t h in g s necessary,
with mode sty. This is m e a n t
for women, on w h o m devolve the
preparations, the care of the
h o u s e h o l d . The is contracted,
g i v i n g room to . Now . The engravers
strangely altered t h i s character. Some specimens
of t h e i r sk ilf u ln e s s m a y be seen her e:

Shao2 A p r i m i t i v e r ep re se nt in g a k i n d of spoon,
t h a t was used to d r a w u p ; — (L. 1, 4 ° ) represents
the contents; — Phonetic
series 27. It f o r m s

Yu 3 . T h e f u l l spoon., with an — i n d e x meaning t h a t

it is b e i n g e m p t i e d ( c o m p a r e L. 1, 5°). To give ( t h e
c o n t e n t s) ; This character became
in course of time. T h e two h a n d s of the receiver
were first a d ded (L. 4 7 ) . Then, on t h e top, t h e two
hands of t h e g i v e r (L. 50). U n d e r this last form,
makes the phonetic series 768, the radical being
added at the bottom. See L. 50 J.
Etymological Lessons. 54. 55. 147
Shu . A primitive, that has nothing in common,
either with , or w i t h . It represents a silk-worm
mo ving on. On t h e top , t h e h ead. The c u r v e d l i n e
represents the body that b end s a n d stretches. At the
bottom (L . 110), radical, was added later o n ;

Phonetic series 756. It forms

Shu2. The. tail (L. 100 B), t h a t wriggle; at the

extremity of the body. By extension, appendix,
to stick to (as the tail to t h e hody), to d ep en d from. —
Phonetic series 856.


About three primitives ch'ing1, han 3 , pa1.

First series: ch'ing 1 .

Ch'ing 1 . In a n c i e n t t i m e s the E m p e r o e , when

investing the feudatories or officials, h a n d e d o v e r to
t h e m o n e h a l f ot a piece of wood or of j a d e d i v e r s e l y
c u t o u t ; t h e o t h e r h a l f was u sed to m a k e t h e proof, as
the m odern c o u n t e r f o i l The t w o pieces gathered are
the ch'ing 1 . We s h a l l see f u r t h e r (L 55 B, I)
and , the. two ha lves, l e f t and right... When they
a p p e a r e d before t h e E m p e r o r , or when t h e y h e l d t h e
f u n c t i o n s of t h e i r office, t h e feudatories or officials
had this k i n d of sc e p tr e in t h e i r h a n d s It was u s e d
also as a seal. — It forms

Ch'ing 2 . This character first meant the feasts

(L. 26 M) of the. court, the high personages at tending,
ranged in. two opposite rows. By exten sion , minis-
ters, high offici als

Note: The modern form is not s y m m etr ic al, because t h e w r i t i n g - b r u s h

cannot trace, the left h a l f against the grain. Note also that many symmetrical
representations, absolutely different in the old writing, nowadays ressemble
ch'ing1. K'ang-hsi classified them u n d e r .These are nang2, L. 26 G;
mao3, L. 129 L); luan3, L. 108 D; yu3, L. 129 E.
148 Etymological Lessons. 55.

Chieh2. The right h a l f par t of , t h e one commit-

ted to the f u n c t i o n a r y , t h a t was used by h i m as a
badge a n d as a seal; , By extension,
d i g n i t y , a ut h o rity, rul e, j u st measure, p r i n t ; part of
a whole, segment, f r a g m e n t . — See L. 26 M; L. 64 D;
L. 47 V, W; L. 49 I. It is t h e 26tb ra d i c a l .
Note t h e three different w r i t i n g s of the modern
form. The first must be d i s t i n g u i s h e d f r o m , a con-
tracted form of t h e 16 3 t h a n d 170th radicals — The seco nd f o r m is h a r d l y recogni-
sable from th e cursive form of han3 (L. 55 K); as w e l l as f r o m chi s (L. 84),
i 3 ( L . 85 B), ssu 4 (L. 85 A ) . K'ang-hsi did n ot succeed in di st inguishing
t h e m ; he c o u n t e d sometimes two strokes, a n d at o t h e r s t h r e e strokes. —
The t h i r d form is to be d i s t i n g u i s h e d f r o m pa1 (L 55 L ) . — In a l l t h i s series,
it is q u i t e impossible, w i t h o u t re c urri n g to t h e old forms, to k n o w exactly whi ch
e l e m e n t is used.

Fu2. The h a n d holding a sceptre; to impose

one's authority; It forms
f u 2 , to steer a boat (L. 66 C ) ; a n d pao4, to
repress bandits (L. 102 G). But nan is not derived
f r o m ; see L. 43 ,J.

C h i h 1 . A vessel t h a t was u ed, in t h e feasts, for

pouring wine with measure;
The t o p t h a t res sembles L. 30 A. is intended to
r e p r e s e n t the vessel, a k i n d of sip h o n.

FEI. Fleshy , m u s c u l a r , j u s t as m u c h as it is
proper, for t h e sacrifices, for t h e tab le. The just
measure of flesh ;

She4. The b l u s h of the h u m a n face, a m a r k

of t h e passions. By extens ion, colour, passion, lust.
See t h e e x p l a n a t i o n s g i v e n L. 28 D. — It is the 139th
rad ical. The following' is not d e ri v e d from

Chueh2. To cut (L. 52) a thr e ad (L. 92), in

To cut, to cease, to leave, to renounce, etc. See the
ancient form L. 90 E Has nothing in common with
the last
Etymological Lessons. 55. 149
Two , with which the scribes made two
(L. 87), are f o u n d in

Hsuan4-. To elect, to choose.

Two seals of officials, placed
upon a table. (L. 70), to be
c o m m i t t e d to those who were
elected, c h osen. Later on, t h e
two hands were added to
mean the awarding, the investiture. In the modern character, and joined
together, gave , which h a s n o t h i n g in common w i t h k u n g 4 (L 47 Q);
This character is seldom Seen well w ri t t e n — Pho-
netic series 535.
T he l e f t h a l f of (L. 55 A ) ; It is
f o u n d in i4, t h a t m e a n s , p r i n t i n g of t h e seal.
See the explanation given L. 49 I.

Second series: han3.

Ha n 3 . To b u d, to p u t f o r t h b u d s , to bloorn. A
p r i m i ti v e , representing t h e effort of t h e blooming, of
the springing up .
Note the m oder n form, identical with the second f orm
of (L. 55 B ) ; hence c o n f u s i o n s . — Phonetic series
6. Note the following compounds, in which there
remains something of t h e p r i m i t i v e idea of ,
external manifestation of an i nterior force, expansion,

Fan4. To rush l i k e a dog. To invade, to offend.

Compare L. 37 B. In the symbolism of characters,
the dog p lays a con siderable, though not creditable

Han2. To withdraw the lolled tongue, and

hold it in the mouth. Compare L. 102 C. By
extension, to endure in silence. Note
the awful modern abbreviation, which became usual.—
Phonetic series 356.
150 Etymological Lessons. 55.56.

Yung3. Blooming , opening of flowers; yung4

(L. 109 B) is p h o n e t i c ; — Phonetic
series 320. It forms yung 3 , bravery, cxercice of
the manly vigour.

Yu2. To shoot branches, boughs.

Not to be confounded with p'in2
(L. 58 C).

Third series: pa.

Pa1. A k i n d of boa, large and short, f o u n d in the
Southern Provincos, in Ssu-ch'uan an d elsewhe-
re. Its flesh is eat en ( ), a n d its s kin is used to
cover the guitars. The character represenls t h e boa ra ised on its t a i l ;
Compare L 108 A. Not to he con fo un d ed with th e third form of (L. 55
B). — Phonetic series 76. Note the c o m p o u n d pa1, a guit ar made from a boa-
skin ( L . 83 B).


About the primitive

Pu5, po3. To d i v i n e by l o o k i n g at the cracks in a
tortoise-shell as the heat d evelops them. The charac-
ter represents two cracks, one be ing longitudinal,
and the othor transversal;
— It is t h e 25th radical. P h o n e t i c
series 9. It frorns

Chan 1 . To ask about some enterprise, by singeing

a tortoise s h e l l ; d i v i n a t i o n ;
r N o t to be c o n f o u n d e d
with chi 1 , m a d e w i t h the same e l e m e n t s ; and
s y n o n y m . — P h o n e t i c series 104

Cheng 1 . The salary of a fortune-teller; a sum of

cowries given to I he mm who singes the shell;

The answer
received was considered as most certain, most firm, a n d most immutable, hence
the derived meanings : i mmu tability, constancy, perseverauce in purpose generally,
and specially in the. purpose of keeping continence ;
— Phonetic series 423.
Etymological Lessons. 56. 57. 151

Chao4. N u m e r o u s c r a c k s on a tortoise-shell ;
In the middle, in its ancient form ; on
each side, two other crac ks; the first left crack is
c o n f o u n d e d with the vertical stroke of . By exten-
sion, an o m en, a num ber. now a m i l l i o n - — Phonetic
series 178.

Kua4 T h e diagrams of the I Ching, the Book

of M utatio ns. It seems that, in the beginning, the
shell was first used to find th e hexagram which
might resolve the pen ding difficulty. Later on, people
had recourse, for that purpose, to the m i l f o i l stalks
The is n o t kui 1 L. 81 B, b u t represents an hexagram.
— Phonetic series 369.

Wai4. Composed of the e ve ni n g, a n d to

divine; When
t h e she ll was consulted a b o u t the m e a ni n g of a dr eam
one. hart d u r i n g the n i g h t , t h e d i v i n a t i o n o u g h t to t a k e
place in the mo rning, or
d u r i n g the day, in any case before the e v e ni n g. A f t e r sunset, the d i v i n a t i o n
was no longer ad rem, b ei n g o u t s i d e t h e ritual limits. Hence the chuan-chu m e a n i n g
of this i m p o r t a n t character, outside, out of.

Note: Like a l l the characters s i m p l e and easy to write, is used by the scribes
as an a rb i t r a r y a b b r e vi at i o n for the most different ele m ents. It represents a bi rd
in ( a n c i e n t f o r m ) L. 41 D; t h e a n t e n n a e of an insect L. 23 G; the p e d u n c l e
ot a f r u i t L. 41 E; a rod L. 43 I). - Note also that has n o t h i n g in common
w i t h ; it is a m o d e r n c o n t r a c t i o n of L 47 H. — K'ang-hsi w r o n g l y place d
severa l among those a b b r e v i a t i o n s u n d e r the 25th radical.


About two primitives. and

First part:
T i n g 4 . A nail (head and tack). It is now written
Tin g 4 , to n a i l ;
Is used, on account of its simplicity, as
a numeral sign, for u n i t y , and f o r other different chia-
c hieh. - Phonetic series
11. — It forms the important compounds t'ing 2 , L. 75 B; a n d ch'eng 2 , L.
71 M. But ning2(L. 36 C) comes from (L. 58 A ) , a n d n o t f r o m . Item,
(L. 63 B) has nothing in common with
152 Etymological Lessons. 57. 58.
Second part:
Chu4. Storehouse, to warehouse. It is now written
. The old character

shows the storehouse, we ll dosed on all sides. The

m o d e r n c h a r a c t e r is a nonsense. Compare t h e
primitive (L.43 R) — P h o n e t i c series 116,


About the partial primitive , a n d its derivatives.

First series:
C h'iao 3 D i f f i c u l t y on effort of the respiration,
so bbing, h i c c u p , t h e b r e a t h fighting against an —
o bstacle. See L. 1, 3°.
P h o n e t i c series 3. It forms

Hao4 To l a m e n t , to h o w l ; t he mouth uttering

shrieks; - Phonetic
series 122. It forms
Hao4. To call, to cry.
The s trong voiced tiger enters into different
compounds that mean, cries, roars. It forms t'ao1,

Pin 2 . To make out one's motives with cries

a n d noise; to quarrel, to reproof;
See L. 151. Not to be confounded
with yu2, L. 55 K. — Phonetic series 300.

Hsi1. A sigh, a sound used to indicate a pause in

the music, in th e verses, in the sentences; a k i n d of
phonetic punctuation;
It forms

Hu 1 . A sigh that passe the caesura, the pause. A par-

ticle of varied uses, interrogative, expletive, euphonic,

It forms
Hui The roaring of the
tiger. To cry, to call for. —
Phonetic series 615.
Etymological Lessons. 58. 153

Second series:
Yu2. The breath having overcome the — obstacle,
spreads — in liberty. A particle of transition, a
preposition; t alk, show;
series 38, u n d e r its two forms. It makes

P'ing2. Compare w i t h L. 58 D; the top is

different. is composed of a n d of (L. 18)
placed between the two t op lines, an d reinforcing
the idea of free expans ion on both sides, on all
sides. The modern meaning, plane, even, is derived
from the last idea; there is no more obstacle;
Phonetic series 151.

K'ua1. Vanity , boasting; a ma n who makes a

show of himse lf. — Phonetic series 221.

Yu2. Invocations to obtain rain. — Phonetic

series 662.

Third series: (L. 58 A) inverted

Ho1. A synonym of
It is now obsolete. It forms the important

K'o3. To s end forth a breathing of approbation.

To express one's satisfaction. To be willing, to permit,
to consent, to a d mire ;
— Phonetic series 130. It form the following
Ch'i . Extraordinary, surpri sing, strange; that which
impels men to utte r exclamations of surprise
and admir ation; — Phonetic series
Ko1. It is repeated twice; To
sing Expression of satisfaction. The primitive
singing consisted probably of a succession of cadenced
exclamations of joy. This c haracter became (chia-
chieb) the appellative of an elder brother;
See p. 11.
154 Etymological Lessons. 58. 59.
Note: Other compounds of and L. 30 D; L. 36 C; L. 13 F;
L. 123 F; L. 135 F. — But L. 102 D, has n o t h i n g in common wi t h . Item
L. 1 D, does not come from


About the p r i m i t i v e a n d its derivatives,

First series:
Han4. A c l i f f which projects, a stiff slope;
On the top, the s u m mi t ; on the l e f t side, the slope.
in composition, the accessories
which should be
represented on the clilf, are placed at the bottom, to make the compound smaller.
This character represents two notions. I. If the top is considered, it suggests t h e
Idea of an elevated place near an abyss, dangerous, exposed to the view. 2. If the
side is considered, it suggests the idea of a slide, of a fal l. — It is the 27th radical.

Y'eh 2 . Sleep of a mountain, covered

e a r t h ; rising g r o u n d . — P h o n e t i c series 413.

Yuan2. A sprint; t h a t gushes out f r o m ahill

It is n o w w r i t t e n sp r ing , w h i l e is used in t h e
extended m e a n i n g of principle, origin, For
, see, L. 125 F. In th e p r i m i t i v e character, there
were th r e e . — P h o n e t i c series 588

Shih 2 . A piece of rock f a l l e n down or t a k e n

down from a c l i l f , rough-stone, shingle, p e b b le , stone;
Note t h e alteration of in t h e modern
writing. — It is t h e 112th radical of characters rela-
ti n g to stones. — Phonetic series 156.

Chai3- A m a n who, w h i l e c l i m b i n g up a
slope, bends forward. By extension, inclined, slanting,
sloping; It forms chai4: the sun,
leaning towards the horizon.— Inverted, becomes

Wan2. A man who t u mb l e s down on a stiff slope,

rolling down. By extension, round, pellet, pill;
— Phonetic series 34.

Yao4. Visible f r o m afar, as a tree (L. 78) over a

rock, standing out in relief against the sky;
Etymological Lessons. 59 155
Nan . Stiff slope of a high mo untain (L. 80).
It forms t'an , charcoal, which is made in the
mountains, so cragged that wood cannot he taken
away from them.

Wei3. A man (L 28), watchi ng upon a rock,

looking afar; It

Wei2. A m a n , upon a rock, w h o restrains

(L. 55 B) his motions, who takes care not to f a l l ; a
perilous situation, danger, fear;
— Phonetic series 247.

Chan1. Verbose, t a t t li n g ; to scatter i m p r u d e n t l y

one's words (L. 73 C) w h i c h is dangerous;
— Phonetic series 722.

Hou2. In this character, has q u i t e another

meaning. It represents a target a n d a m a n . An
arrow (L. 131) is fixed in the target. The sh o o t i n g
at a target was used in a n t i q u i t y , for the election of
feudatories and officials. The. precision in shooting
was supposed to represent the uprightness of the
heart, and vice-versa. Hence the derived meaning, aristocracy. Note the alteration
of the character in the modern writing. The on the top became ; beca-
me or ; was u n i m p a i r e d . — Phonetic series 444. In t h e c o m p o u n d ,
the of was contracted into a small vertical stroke.

Note: L 129 A, is u n c o n n e c t e d w i t h ; a n d so is , L. 61 [•'.

Second series:
Yen 3 . Comp a re the h ut , L. 36 A. is h a l f of a
hut, a shed, a shop. — it is t h e 53th radical. See
L. 24 M, etc. It forms

K'u4. A shed for the chariots (L. 167); out-house,


Note: keng1, k'ang1, fang2, yung1, are not

d erived from
L. 102 B. — Item lu4, L. 136.
156 Etymological Lessons, 60.


About the primitive and its derivatives. ln the ancient writing, has two
forms, for which we reserve two distinct series.
First series: the Drst form.
Ta4 A primitive. A grown up man standing (body,
legs and arms); By extension, chuan-chu,
the stature of an a d u l t (by opposition to the child's
stature), great, tall; But in composition,
means a man, and not great. — It is the 37th radical
of miscellaneous characters. It forms

Yin1. To confine a man

Compare , L. 25 B. It is n o w obsolete in that
sense, b u t is much used in the chnan-chu meanings,
cause, reason, argument; that with which one confines,
one catches one's opponent. — Phonetic series 249.

T'ien1. The heavens, the — firmament which is over

L. 1 C. It forms the phonetic complexes

Tien3. To outrage;
(L. 107). —Phonetic
series 389
T'un1. To gulp down.
(L. 72).

1s. The men armed with bows

; the prim i tive
inhabitants, barbarians, borderers of the Eastern Sea,
inhabitants of the South-West countries;
— Phonetic series 212.
Compare shan» L. 13 B; chia1 L. 27 F;
L. 88 B; L. 39 0; , L 10 I.
Sui 1 . Bird spreading its wings to fly, as the man
stretches o u t his arms in the character
It is DOW obsolete, but
forms the important compounds.
Etymological Lessons. 60. 157
To2. Chuan-chu, the modern m e a n i n g is: to take by
violence, to seize, to carry off. Primitive meaning: to
apprehend with the hand, a bird that flies,
that is free. The for is a modern substitution.
See L. 43 A.

Fen4. Chuan-chu, the mo dern meaning is: to excite,

to arouse, to exert one's strength. The primitive
meaning is: a bird flying upwards o v e r t h e

T'ao'. To advance, to move forward, to prosper

rapidly, as the man who has past his tenth
year. Speedy growing. By extension, to enter, to go
in gladly; See tsou4, L. 47 SI. It
Kao1. Growing ; light, f u l l day; clearness
Note the
m o d e r n a l t e r e d forms

Second series: the second f o r m .

Ta4. Primitive sense: a man standing (head, a r m s
an d legs; compare L. 60 A ) ;
It forms the important following compounds

Li 4 . A man st an di n g on t h e — ground (L. 1, 2°).

To stand;
- It is the 117 h radical of characters
relating to position a n d posture. Phonetic series 134.
See t h e t h i r d series, below L. It forms
Wei4. The place upon which
a man stands straight;
position, dignity, person;

Yu1. Sun risen. Light, day

158 Etymological Lessons. 60.

I 4 . In its ancient form, thi s character belongs to the

first series. Its modern form i nduced to place it in the
second. The primitiv e meaning is, the sides. A
standing man, whose sides are indicated by two
lines or dots; By extension, a contact,
conjunction, and, also, etc. — Phonetic series 214.
It forms
Yeh4. What is done by men,
when the night comes; to lie
down on the right side, in order
to sleep Now, by extension,
the night. The modern
f o r m of t he c h a r a c t e r is a q u a i n t i n v e n t i o n of the
scribes. — P h o n e t i c series 415.

Fu1. A g r o w n up m a n , wit h a p i n in his h a ir ,

to s h o w t h a t he is of a g e : the v i r i l e c a p is n o t r e pr e -
sented ;
— P h o n e t i c series 59.

Yang1. A m a n in t h e m i d d l e of t h e space
(L. 34 A). M i d d l e , centre. There a r e d i f f e r e n t chia-
chieh — Phonetic
series 168

Third series: M u l t i p l e s of a n d of . Note t h e modern contractions a n d

Ping*. Two or several men (L. 60 H) standing
si de by side; together, successio n, etc.;
Note the modem deformation.
It forms

P'u3. Succession of the

days, course of times, indefinite
duration; then, by extension,
generality, universality , ubiquity. — Phonetic series
T'i*. Succession in
prefixed order, after a list (L. 159);
then, by extension, substitution,
permutation, in the place of, instead of. The sil ly scribes
changed the two into two , and into
Etymological Lessons. 60. 159

Pan4. Two men keeping together;

It is f o u n d in

Nien3. Imperial car, drawn

by men. It forms the phonetic
complex nien3, to drive
away, to cast out.

Fourth series: In some modern characters, on the lop of the compound

is written ; v.g.

Ch'ih4 Composed of and (L. 126), both being

contracted in the modern form;
The human lire, bl ushing through anger. By
extension, red colour. — It is the 155th radical. See
nan3 (L. 43 J), to blush through shame.

T'a4. A man , who feeds flocks; It


Taz To lead forward (L.

112 E) flocks. By extension, a
large space in which one moves
at ease, as the sleppes,
; open way,
to attain, to prosper, etc. — Phonetic series 76t.

P Note; Do not mistake for a c ertain cover, similar to the first ancient
form of , which is also written in the modern writing, e.g. in , etc. See
L. 38 F, G.
160 Etymological Lessons. 61.

About t h e different m o d i f i c a t i o ns of (L. 6O): w i t h an

appendix on t h e p r i m i t i v e
First series: chai3.
Chai3. A ma n who bows the head behind. It is
f o u n d in
Wu2. A man who bows t h e
head behind, to cry louder;
to vociferate;
It became an important proper name. — Phonetic
series 315. Note the strange alteration of the r nordern
chara ct er.

Second series: yao1.

Yao1 A m a n who b e n d s t h e h ead f o r w a r d , in o r d e r
to r u n , to j u m p , to m a r c h . By e x te n s io n , to le an, to
to i n c l i n e , to h a n g , to rock, to sh ake. — Phonetic,
ser ies 92. On t h e to p of t h e co mpound s, so m eti me s
becomes in t h e modern w r i t i n g (as , L. 60,
f o u r t h s erie s), e.g. in hsing L. 102, a n d tsou3
2 4
L. 112, ch'iao L. 75 B. — Note hsiao , to l a u g h .
Etymologically, bamboos rocked by th e w i n d ;

The sp a sm o d i c m o t i o n of t h e b e l l y , when a t a t Chinese

is la ughin g.

Third series: wang 1 .

Wang1 A man who puts his weight on his
ri ght l eg , to m a k e an effort, a spring;
It is often written
, or (a p h o n e t i c bei ng added). — It is the 43th
radical. It m u s t be distinguished from yu
(L. I34 C). It forms
Wu2. A man who exerts h i m s e l f against an
obstacle, without surmounting it, unsuccessful ly,
in v a i n By exte nsion, negation, not, no. — It is th e
7 1th radical, a fictitious one, for the whole series
belongs to chi4, L. 99 E.
Etymological Lessons. 61. 161

Fourth series: chiao1.

Chiao 1 A man who crosses his legs, who
entwin es between his legs; To
join, to u n i t e , to have intercourse, etc. — Phonetic
series 183.

Fifth series: k'ang4.

K'ang 4 . A man who puts his weight on both legs,
stretched apart, to make an effort;
Compare L. 61 C. The upper part of the body is
shortened, to represent that it is the lower part that
acts. Derived meani ngs: exaggerate firmness,
destination, rebellio n. — I'honetic series 67.

Appendix. wen2 has nothing in com mon w i t h

Wen2 A primitive. Lines that intercross, veins,
wr inkles, ripples; sketch, literary, genteel, elegant;
— It is the 67th radical of a few characters
rel ating to ornamentation. Phonetic series 88. It forms

Lin4. The wrinkles of an emaciated man, who

does not eat enough; parsimony, stinginess.

Ch'ien 2 The w rink les caused by terror, in the

pre sence of a tiger; reverential awe. It is
oft en
wrongly written

Wen2. A whole of intricate, lines. To the thick li nes

, are added finer lines (L. 62). It forms

Yen4. A collection of lines still more intricate; ,

and that has nothing in common with hart4
L. 59 A. The wrinkles of the old men's face. By
ex tension, a venerable, person or a ppearance. —
Phonetic series 497. It forms

Ch'an3. The wri n kles formed on the body

consequent upon child-birth . Fecundity, to bear,
to produce. — Phonetic series 592.
162 Etymological Lessons. 62.

About the primitive , and its derivatives.

First series:

Shan1. Hair, feathers, lines, etc.

— It is the 59th radical of characters alluding to
stripes. Phonetic series 26. It forms

Hsu1. Beard. The

a ir on the chin, beneath
the head (L. 160 C );
Now Men, in China, only allow the ir
beards to grow, when the time has come f o r t h e m to govern their f a m i l y , to be a
master over it. Hence the extended m ea ni ngs: necessary, requisite, appointed
time, etc.

The two following compoun ds, often confounded in the modern writing, are to
be carefully distinguished :
Chen3. Hair of a man, says the Glose;
— Phonetic series 106.

Shan 1 . A w i n g (L 22 A) provided with feathers;

F l a p p i n g , v i b r a t i o n . It f o r m s
Shen1. Ts'an1. The three
starsin the m id dle of Orio n . They
are represented by three , of
which is the modern abbre-
viation. The lower part represents
the rays emitted.
L. 79 F. — Phonetic series 652,
under its modern form

Second series. Multipl es of a n d of . The Chinese

philologists consider,
as derivatives from , the two following, D and E. It seems rather as if there were
two other ways of representing a pair of wings, analogous to
Jao4. Slender, fragile, weak. The wings of a young
bird, with their first feathers; The
skeleton of the wings resembles two bows, L. 87.
The two wings are represented as torn out; the crook
on the top represents the
extremity by which they were united to the body; in the modern writing, the
crook at the bottom replaces one of the strokes of . — Phonetic series 540.
Etymological Lessons. 62 63. 163

Yu3. Another representation ot a pair of wings with

fe athers; — I! is the 124th radical of
the characters relating to plumes and feathers.
Ph onetic series 251. It forms m a n y important com-
p o u n d s We saw L 18 C; L 34 J ; note also

Liao4. To flutter, to rise while flying;

— Phonetic series 629.

Ti2. A pheasant,
— Phonetic series 791. See t'iao4 and
ti2, L 78 E.

H si 4 . To gather the wings ; union, ha r mony ;

— Phonetic series

Shan4 The two sections of a folding- door

(L . 129);
— Phonetic series 559.


About the primitive

Ch'ih4. To take a step forward w i t h t h e l e f t foo t;
. By exlension, in composition: to walk. — It
is t h e 60th radical of characters relatin g to w a l k i n g .
See the d e r i v a t i v e i4, L 22 D.

Inverted, gives
Ch'u . To fi ni sh the step, by br i n gi n g forward the
right foot; It has
nothing in common with ting4, L. 57 A.

Both together, they form

H s i n g 2 . To m ar ch , composed of one step w ith
the left foot, joined to one step w i t h the right; to
slep; — It
is t he 144th radical of characters relating to motion.
The phonetic is inserted in the middle; e.g.
164 Etymological Lessons. 63. 64.
Yin3. It is lengthened, to represent long strides ;
— It is t h e 54th
radical. To be d i s t i n g u i s h e d from t h e 162th radical ,
composed of and (See L. 112 E ) .


About the three primitives, hsi4, yueh4, feng 4 , p'eng2.

First series: hsi4.

Hsi 4 . The evening, the be g i n n i n g o f n i g h t ; represented
by t h e moon e m e r g i n g on t h e horizon, t h e lower p a r t
of the moon being s t i l l invisible. Compare t h e a n c ie n t
form of , w i t h t h a t of (L. 64 G ) ; t h e latter
has one stroke m o r e ;
— It is t h e 36th r a dica l a n d forms

M in g 3 . The na me, t h e personal a p p e l l a t i v e of a

man, from month a n d e v e ni n g ,
because, at
dusk, it is necessary to g i v e one's n a m e to be k n o w n ;

— Phonetic series 230.

Sun1. An evening meal, supper;

Yuan1. Decency, (L. 55 B) modesty d u r i n g

night. It is not decent to lie like a
corpse, says Confucius. Good behaviour, good hearing,
Compare L. 60
1. — Phonetic series 174. It forms
Wan3. Jn the house,
good b e h a v io u r. To c o m p l y with
t h e demands of others; hence
the derived meaning, to bend.
— Phonetic series 407,

To1. Two . meaning symbolically, reduplication,

multiplication, multitude, many. The old character
(two nights) was used chia-chieh in this sense, on
account of its simplicity; Compare 72 L, and
147 F note. - Phonetic series 239. It forms
Etymological Lessons. 64. 165

I 2 . Idea of the good ordering of all the objects

c ontained in ;\ house, between the roof and the
ground. The unique is supposed to
contracted. By extension, tit, right, harmonions,
— A more simple explanation is at
h a n d : in the house, to spread out, in good or-
der, the mats and bed cover for night. Regular
s tir at night. We are indebted to the scribes for ,
the modern form. Compare pei4, L. 54 G.
Other derivatives from : see wai4, L . 5 6 F ;
yeh 4 ,L. 60I; hsu4, L. 11 G, meng4, L. 158 F; etc.

Second series: yueh4.

Yueh4. The moon's crescent, completely visible

(c ompare hsi4, L. 64 A ) ;
— It is the 74th radica l of characters relating to
the. moon. It forms

Hsien3. From door and moon; the moon-

light streaming in through the crackles of the door
Interstice, idle, empty, leisure, and other chuan-chu;
The modern scribes
often write incorrectly . Phonetic series 684.

Other derivatives fro m : see yu3, L 46 H;

ming2, L. 42 C; sho4,
L. 102 D; wang 1 , L. 81 G; etc. B u t chao1 does not come from ; see
L. 117 D.

Third series . Has n o thing in common with yueh4.

The ancient character, a primitive, represents the f a i l

of the fabulous and felicitous bird Feng 4 , the
phoenix; by extension, the phoenix complete. Was the
phoenix called P'eng in certain Provinces, or was the p'eng2 another auspicious

bird? We do not know. Anyhow, two new characters were made: feng4, the
phoenix; and p'eng a monstrous bird, like the rakh or roc of Arabian story
166 Etymological Lessons. 64 65.

(according to European definitions).— From that time, is no more read feng4,

and docs not mean p h o e n i x It is read p'eng , a n d means, friend, friendship; for,
says the Glose, when the phoenix flies, it draws all other birds a f t e r it, by sym-
palhy; hence the idea of affection, friendship, association;
— Phonetic se-
ries 387. B u t does not come from ; see L. 156 H.


A b o u t the p ar tial p r i m i t i v e . See , L. 17, G, H, I, J . Note also that, in its

contracted form is e a sily c o n f o u n d e d w i t h yueh4 ( t h e m o o n , L. 64
and with for chou1 (boat, L. 66 A ) .

J u 4 . J o u 4 . Pieces of d r y m e a t gat here d in

bundle; ; meal smoke-dried in the old
f a s h i o n ; n o w , m e a t in g e n e r a l . See L. 17 G. — it is
the 130th radical of a large group of characters relating
to m e a t a n d f o o d . See L. 39 J, L, 18 J, L.
94 E. L. 46 D, L. 13 I, L l 2 2 C, etc. Note
chin1, the sinews; the parts of the flesh , elastic
l i k e bamboo . t h a t give strength;

Chou4. Compare t h e com position of t h i s c h a r a c t e r

w i t h t h a t of , L. 18 J. Flesh c o m i n g from its
principle; posterity, offspring. Do not c o n f o u n d this
character w i t h hel met, L. 34 J. The mo der n forms
are identical; t h e ancient ones differ.

K'en3. The flesh , by opp o sitio n to the skeleton,

( L. 118 A) The top of was a l r e a d y missing in the
hsiao-chuan w r i t i n g . The m o d e r n scribes replaced it
by a , which is a nonsense, k'en3 havin g nothing
in common w i t h (L 112 A ) ;
The flesh
being soft and flexible relatively to the hones that are
tough an d rigid, hence the derived meanings, to model
one's self, to yield, to follow, to be easy tempered, to
be inclined, prone to. — Phonetic series 367, under
its modern form.
Etymological Lessons. 65. 167
I . The antique dance. The panlomimists dancing
on two ranks, hack-to-back (contracted into )o
Now It
forms hsieh4, which the scribes changed into
Resting of dancers after the dance; they re
ceived then small gifts. Hence the extended meaning,
of small value, of little importance, insignificant.

Yuan 4 . Larvae fleshy without skeleton, that can

double themselves up, like mosquito and ephemera
larvae, that swarm in summer, even in the wells;

— Phonetic series 321.

Chien 1 . Shoulder; In
ancient characters, represents the whole of the
p ectoral and the scapulary muscles, the line that
springs from them representing the arm. In the
m odern character, the shoulder-blade is outlined. The
s cribes strangely contracted it into . It is uncon-
nected with L. 129 See L. 75 K.

J a n 2 . Meat of dog (L. 134);

It forms

Yen4. To be satiat ed; To be glutted

(c hanged by the scribes int o ), with meat of
dog. This satiely seems to have been the ideal one. It
w ent, in an ancient form, till belching took place
(L . 85 C). By extension, disgust, aversion. It is now
replaced in this sense, by the compound yen4,
re presenting the retreat from eating. Phonetic series

Jan3. To roast flesh of dog By extension,

to roast, to burn, to l ight. It is now also used, chia-
chieh, as a conjunction, an adverbial particle, etc. -
Phonetic series 691.
168 Etymological Lessons. 65. 66

Chi 4 . Oblation, sacrifice;

Offering of meat , t h a t bring s down
th e influences from heaven (L. 3 D) — Phonetic
series 595. — There is an analogous composition in teng1 (a vase in which
4 4
meat is offered). B u t wang is derived from yueh , moon, and not
from jou4. See L. 81 A.

About the primitive chou . Us contracted form is to he distinguished from
yueh4, L. 64; a n d from. jou 4 , L 65.
C h o u 1 . C an o e , vessel, b o at of a n y sort. The first
canoes, says the Glose, were trunks of trees hollowed
It represents a k i n d of
canoe, st r a i g h t e n e d , to t a k e less room. Turned up
how, deck p r o p p e d up by a pivot t h a t represents the
i n t e r n a l wood-work; an o ar on front, a h e l m behind
t h e boat, w h i c h is opened, to mean t h a t t h e h e l m
goes b e y o n d . — It is t h e 137th radical of characters
r e l a t i n g to vessels. It forms

P a n 1 . To m a k e a boat move a l o n g , by repeated

s t r o k e s of t h e o a r (L. 22 B ) ;
The action of t h e oars
must he equal a n d regular; hence, the derived
meanings, regular way, manner, equally. Do not
c o n f o u n d t hi s character w i t h ch'uan2, boat, L. 18
E. — Phonetic series 555.

Fu2 To govern (L. 55 C) a boat, that obeys;

to obey, to yield to; m o u r n i n g clothes as coarse as the
clothes of sailors, clothes in general, etc. K'ang-hsi
incorrectly classified , as well as (L. 47 J),
u n d e r t h e 74 th radical , the moon.

Ch'ien2. To advance, forward, before, formerly, etc.

A boat advancing towards the harbour, where it
will stop. The modern character, is a strange
i n v e n t i o n of a scribe;
— Phonetic series 431.
Other chara cters d e r i v e d f r o m L. 47 J ; , L. 2 E; , L. 14 F;
L. 49 E; , L. 117 D.
Etymological Lessons. 67. 169


About the primitive nu3.

First series: and its multiples.

Nu3. A girl, , The character hsiao-chuan
is already a cursive modification of the ancient
character, t h a t was uneasy to write, on account of
the. perfectly symmetrical lines. The right part was
altered. —The ancient character represented the ritual
bearing of the Chinese women, the arms hanging
down, a n d crossed over the body. The head was not
represented. The shoulders, arms, chest and legs were
o utlined. Compare L. 67 0. — tt is the 38th radical of
characters relating to women. When meaning thou,
you, and are mere chia-chieh, adaptation of a

Hao3. Hao4. What is good, what one loves:

wife and children. By extension, good, to love;

Nu2. Female slave. Women under the hand

of a master; a guilty woman, condemned to pound
the rice (see L. 47 N).

— Phonetic series 141.

Ju . To speak like a woman, with a womanly
skill, in conformity with the circumstances, and the
dispositions of the man one desires to wheedle.
Extended meaning, as, like, according to.
— Phonetic series 216.
Ch'ieh4. Daughter of a culprit, reduced to servitude,
according to the old way; by extension, a concubine;
(L. 102 E), —
Phonetic series 331.
T'o3. Security, tranquillity. When the hand ia
firmly placed upon women;
— Phonetic series 306. It forms sui1,
a thread that attaches, that makes sure.
Nan1. Good order, peace. When the women are
well enclosed in the house;
— Phonetic series 176.
170 Etymological Lessons. 67

Yen4. Visit during the day, to the gyne-

cium; siesta, mid-day nap;
It forms yen4, recreation, feast, banquet; and the
phonetic c o m p o u n d
Yen3. To hide;
(L. 10 B), — Phoneti
eries 495. Other derivatives from ; see
ch'i1, L. 44 G; yao1, L. 50 N; etc.
Chien1. Quarrelling, mutual slandering. For, says
the Glose, not without melan choly, two women cannot
be on good terms;

Chien1. Amours a n d i ntrigues among and with

women; traitorous, for, says the Glose, a man who
debauches women, is a t r ait or to his fellow-men;

Second series: wu2. A series is reserved to t h i s derivative from

because it forms a group. Note the m alf or m a t ion of the modern character.
Wu2. A woman pl a c e d u n d e r luck and key — (L. I,
3 ) f o r m i s b e h a v i o u r . Prison of t h e guilty women.
Each palace had a p l a c e reserved for that purpose.
The persons t h u s confined were utterly unemployed,
and saw nobody. Hence t h e derived meanings, to
avoid, to abstain, inutility, nothingness;

— It is t he 80th radical.
Ai3. A man (24 C)
who behaves badly;
contined, or
w o r t h to be so: a d e b a uc h e e ;

Tu2. The poisonous vegetabl es t ha t grow here

a n d there, a n d t h a t must be avoided; poison,
venom ;

Lou2. Woman confined, enclosed in the

prison of the gy n eciu m ; for ever idle; useless, etc;

Phonetic series 631. It forms
Shu3. Shu4. Formerly, it
meant to govern the con-
f i n e d women. Now, it means, to
count, a n u m b e r ; — Pbonetic series 812.
Etymological Lessons. 67. 68, 171
Third series: mu3. It is another derivative from , forming a group.

Mu3. A woman who has become a mother. This is

represented by the addi tion of two breasts to the
character . She suckles a child, says the Glose;
Idea of
fecundity, of multiplication . — Phonetic series 139. It
Mei3. Grass (L. 78), prolific;
The actual meaning of this character,
every, each, is cbia-chieh. — Phonetic series 294. It
Fan2. Luxuriant vegetation, the plants twis-
ting into a tangle; Now ,
on account of a mistake made by the scribes, says the
Yu1. See L. 94 F.


About the primitive chi4. An a p pe n di x is reserved for a few analogous forms.

In the modern writing, has different forms and is easily mistaken for the
hand (L. 44).

First series; chui4 and hu4.

Chi 4 . A primitive. It is intended to represent a boar's
Or a hog s snout; The representation,
wich is lifted up, is very rough. The top stroke
represents the nose flattened. The bottom stroke re-
presents the neck. The left stroke is a boar's tusk, the
point being forward. — The hoar and the hog played
a very important part in the Chinese hunting and
cattle-breeding, therefore they gave birth to many
characters. — It is the 58th radical of characters,
mostly relating to swine. It is unconnected with the

Hu 4 . A primitive. Represents the twisting of two or

several strands, to make a rope;
By extension, reciprocity, relation, connection,
172 Etymological Lessons. 68.

Second series: Derivatives from chi4.

Chih4. Boar , wounded by an (131 A) arrow,

under the neck, between the two (27 I, note 1)
fore-legs; killed at the hunting.
12. Offerings to the manes of ancestors;

A boar's
head, grain, silk, the whole being offered with
the hands,

I4. Boar, a bristle-

covered animal. The head, the
bristles, the hind-legs and tail.
L. 23 C; It forms

Wei4. Hui4. This character, utterly altered in the

modern writing, first meant, the hedgehog, the snout
of which resembles the hog's;
The animal is specified by (ancient form, L. 122 C) the stomach,
on account of its extraordinary voracity. In t h e modern character, on the top
; then the two long bristles of the third ancient form; then for the
ancient form of ; lastly for the hind-legs and tail of . To mean hedgehog,
the character is now written ; while hui4 is used chuan-chu to mean
collection. The idea is taken from the collection of sharp points t h a t cover the
back of a hedgenog.

Appendix. According to their modern writing, t h e f o u r following compounds

seemingly come from ; but the two first ones are certainly not derived from it.
Lu4. To behead, to trim and to bark a tree (the stump
being upright). On t h e top, an axe of a special form,
the haft of which bends to the right; its action;
t h e tree — beheaded; four small strokes represent
the branches and the bark cut. Now . — Phonetic
series 461. — The ancient character simply represented
the cutting off the trunk, the branches falling on
both sides, and the shreds of the bark torn out.
Compare L. 45 J.
Etymological Lessons. 68 69. 173

Mei4. A modification of the preceding The axe's

handle is not represented. Ancient form: a head of
(L. 40 C) upon a trunk cut down. Now Spirit
of a
dead free; supposed, to be malignant;

The two following characters, of identical composition,

head, and body of a hog, have probably been
fabricated in two different centres (see page 7).
They differ only by one stroke, the head being
separated in the first, a n d joined with the rest in the
Sh ih 3. Pig. The, scribes write it, as the following,
in its derivative li3, bristle-covered larvae that eat
away the tissues a n d the books.

T'uan3. Usual meaning, pig's bristles. Derived

m eaning, commentaries, accessories to the text as the
bristles are accessory to the pig. — Phonetic series 577.


About the primitive shin3. An appendix will treat abont hai4 and hsiang4.

Shih 3 . Boar, hog. The head is replaced by a line;

on the left side, the belly a n d the paws; on the right
side, the hack and the tail ;
It has many compounds, e. g.
chu2, to drive or push out pigs, to expel in
general. — It is the 152th radical of characters mostly
referring to swine.
Hun4. Inclosure of pigs, a sty, a privy: the
pigs in Chirm eating fecal matters; — Phonetic
series 538.

Chia1. Human dwelling, says the Glose. By

extension, family.
The pigs live around the houses of the
Chinese countrymen, and even enter in them, as well
as the dogs. The street-cleaning and privy-emptying
are left to these two animals. — Phonetic series 516.
174 Etymological Lessons. 69
Chu4. To fight with rage, as a boar that defends
it self against a tiger;
— Phonetic, series 731.

T un 2 . A s u c k i n g pig. It was offered in some sacri-

lices, henre the ancient form, a pig, the
flesh of w h i c h is ottered. Compare chi4,
L. 65 H.

Sui 2 . To partake (18) the pigs, in bands, in

flocks: It forms

Sui 2 . A band of pigs marching,

following th eir lender; hence, to
f ol l ow in general; —
Phonetic series 758.
Tui4. Troops; garrison that
guards th e walls. It forms the
phonetic compound chui4, to

Cho2. A pig h a v i n g two feet tr a mm ell ed ;

— Phonetic series 340
It forms

Chung3. Tumulus, knoll, tomb, chia-chieh of an

ancient character used in hunting;
Compare L 34 I. the com position of
w hich is
similar — Phoneti c series 527.

1*. Boar that attacks (L. 102 E);

Bravery, heroism. In this
sense, the compound i4 is now used.

Shih3 and T uan3. See L. 68 H, I.

Etymological Lessons. 69. 70. 175
Pin . A flock of pigs; two being taken for a
multitude. It forms
Pin1. A district in the mountains of
Shensi, where boars formerly abounded.
Hsien3. To b u r n brush-wood, in order to drive out
the boars.

Appendix: hai4 and hsiang4.

Hai4. The hog (L. 69 A), with one stroke added
to the tail; It is used, in the
horary cycle, to designate the time 9 to 11 p. m.. This
time, says the Glose, is the most propitious for the
conception. Hence numer ous different figures, that
represent two persons, sometimes a man and a woman
(L 670), under heaven (L. 2 G ) , that is to say,
cooperating with the producti ve action of heaven, by
begetting chidren. — Phonetic series 197.

Hsiang4. Elephant. A primi tive, representing the

characteristic parts of this a n i m al - On the top, the
t r u n k ; then a bow representing the tusks. The legs
and tail look l i k e those of th e pig.
— Phonetic
series 683.


About two primitives, chi2 and chi 1 . The latter is to be distinguished from
wu (L. 29 K ) ; as well as f r o m or at the bottom (LL. 18 a n d 47).

Chi2. Sieve, riddle. It represents t he object;

Chi 2 . Prop, stool;

Both being combined form

Ch'i2. Sieve placed upon its support;

The old utensil being no longer used,
the character has become chia-chieh a demonstrative
pronoun; — Phonetic series 327.
Chi» is found in L. 156C; L. 41 G; L. 40 C; L. 55 H.
176 Etymological Lessons. 71.


About the primitive i4. Special series are reserved for the important derivative
ko , and its numerous family.

First series: i4.

I4. Primitive Some see, in th is figure, a hook driven
in t h e w a l l , to suspend objects; others see an arrow
w i t h a t h r e a d ; others, see in it a fish or pin that
was used to count, to mark, to order, to decide. —Note
for the understanding of this Lesson, that the ancient
weapons were varied. Each one had its own repre-
sentation. Later on, m a n y of them disappeared, and
the ir characters were used for other purposes. It is the
56th radical, and forms

Tai4. Order of succession, substitution, of men,

and by extension, of things ; instead of, in place of;

Phonetic series 161, N o t to be confounded with fa1,

L. 71 G.

Shi h 4 . Work done after indications, after a

patter n ; a m o d e l, to i mitate; — Phonetic
series 236.

Erh4. Two pins, two. There is an old analogous

form for one. It forms
Erh4. Profit; a second sum
(L. 161) added to the first, to
the capital;
It is now use.d for
security in accounts,
instead of t h at may he easily changed into or
. — Phonetic series 674.

Pi. A t h i n g certain, de c id ed. An arrow or a fish

that divides , that solves a doubt, a dilemma;
See L. 18 G.
K'ang-hsi erron eously classified this character under
the heart. — Phonetic series 148.
Note t h a t does n o t come from . See below K.
Etymological Lessons. 71. 177

Second series: kuo1.

K u o 1 . A k i n d of halherd, formerly much used. A
hook or crescent on t he top, then a cross-bar, and a
halter hanging; — It is the
62th radical of words relating to spears and arms. It
Fa1 To destroy, to cut down. A man who receives
from behind a stroke with a halberd;
— Phonetic series 195, To be dist inguished
from tai4, L. 71 B.

Ts'ai2. At t he bottom, . On the top, the p h o n e t i c

ts'ai2 (L. 96), co ntr acte d int o in the modern
writing. To w o un d w i t h weapons;
. — Phonetic series 2it.

Ch'ien 1 . See L. 27 B.

Chih 4 . The a n c i e n t chiefs or officials. They held a

weapon, when they made known their (L. 73
E, contracted) will to t h e i r people
Note the combination of the
bottom stroke of , w i t h the horizontal stroke of ,
which gives one stroke less to the phonetic series 671.

Yu4. A p r i m i t i v e ap p an ag e, a post, a centre; t h e —

land that a landlord defended with the weapons
of his m e n ; represents his residence, castle or
Town ; the li mi ts are not i ndicated, because there were

Huo4. Extended meaning of the preceding, an

indeterminate person, whose name is not given,
known o n ly to be from such a principality; a vague
determination. — Phonetic series 364. It forms
Kuo3. An estate, well defined
a n d surrounded w i t h marks, as
they were la ter on. Extended
meaning , a state, a country;

Phonetic series 625.
Po4. Anarchy, revolution. When the fiefs are upset ;
one being straight up, the other upside down;
178 Etymological Lessons. 71.

Wu3. The army, soldiers. The lances that

stop the hostile incursions, thus allowing the people
to prosper, says the Glose;
Note that, in the modern character, by a singular
exception, the of was placed on the top of the
compound.— Phonetic series 410.

Third series. Characters derived f r o m a n d easily confounded.

Yueh4. A halberd with a hook;

Phonetic series 175.
Wu4. H a l b e r d with a crescent;
See below P, th e series derive d from
it. It forms the phonetic complex

Mao4. Flourishing, blooming;

On its side, contracted forms

Ch'eng . To grow, to prosper, to a t t a i n , to e n d ;
(L. 57 ) is phonetic;
— P h o n e t i c series 179. is a b b r e v i a t e d in t h e
modern writing
Shu 4 . The men armed with lances, who
defend the frontiers;
See the derivative , 90 D.

J u n g 2 Arms in general, war. From arms for the

offensive, and (L. 152) armour for the defensive;
the latter character is reduced to two strokes in the
modern writing; —
Phonetic series 217.
Hsu1. To attack, to wound, to kill. A halberd
and a wound;
It forms

Mieh4. To extinguish; to destroy the fire;

This character is now written

Wei1. Fear; the awe felt by women menaced

with death; By
extension, a stern composure, an exterior that inspires
awe; dignity, majesty.
Etymological Lessons. 71 179
Hsien2. To bite; to wound with the mouth;
The modern meaning,
all, together, is
chia-chieh for or .—
Phonetic series 446. It forms
Kan3. Heart bitten by a
passion, an emotion. — Phonetic
series 740.
Sui4. Jupiter, the planet that
indicated whether an attack was to be made, or
not. See L 71 P, L 112 G The is broken up, a
h a lf being on the top, a half at the bottom. — The ancients had also, for the com-
pulation of time, a cycle of twelve years based u p o n the revolution of Jupiter.
Hence, later on, the extended an d adapted meaning, a period of twelve months,
a solar year;
Note that is a modern a n d wrong form.— Phonetic
series 760.

Fourth series: doubled, in opposite directions; o8.

O2. Ngo2. Two weapons in conflict, two rights
that oppose one another, my r ight, a n d , by extension,
my Ego, my own person; personal pronoun, 1, me.
This character being uneasy to write, was soon
changed into .— Phonetic series 297. It forms
I4. Harmony, good und erstanding (L. 103), peace
restored after a conflict; convention concluded
after a disagreement, restoring concord and giving
satisfaction to the interested parties. Hence all the derived
meanings of this
important character,; the bottom of an affair, trut h , right; conventional, just,
equitable, proper, etc. Compare L 73 D, a n d L 54 G. — Phonetic series
737. It forms
Hsi 1 . The imprecations
(L. 53 D) that accompanied the
conclusion of a treaty. They
were made u p o n immolated
animals. Hence the ex-
tended meaning, victi m ; now . Phonetic series 830.

Filth series: doubled, in the same direction; chien1.

Ghien1. To exterminate, to destroy. The common
work of two (many) halberds; —
Phonetic series 333.
180 Etymological Lessons. 72.


About the primitive k'ou3, and its multiples

First series: simple.

K'ou3. It represents the mo u t h . M o u t h , entrance.
— His the 30th radical. Pho-
netic series 23. — This primitive is found in many
co m p ou nd s. Let us recall L. 24 F; L. 60 C;
L. 18 E; L 64 B; L. 2 D; etc It is to be
distinguished from wei2 L. 74, and f ro m other
p r i m i t i v e a nalogou s cha racters; L. 59 D; L.
90 F; L. 109 A; etc. Note th e derivatives

C h i h 3 . B u t , however. The Glose e x p l a i n s this particle

as follows: When a sentence is o v e r , t h e b r e a t h issnes
f r o m the m o u t h , in two puffs, t h a t co n ne c t what
follows w i t h w h a t precedes. B u t w h a t follows is w r i tt e n below, in the vertical
Ch i n e se lines, therefore t h e two strokes are t u r n e d d o w n w a r d s .. . A l l t h e particles
are i n t o n a t i o n s or finals, r a t h e r m u s i c a l t h a n significative, an i n t e r p u a c t u a t i o n
t h a t is read; — Phonetic, series 11 1 ,

Fei4. Fr o m dog a n d mouth The hark of the

dog; to howl;
(L. 134).

Ch'ui 4 . From mouth and to puff; to blo w,

to grumble.
(L. 99).

Second series: doubled,

Hsuan1. C l a m o u r s Two m o uth s expressing t h e
i n t e n s i t y of the actio n of the mouth ;
K'u1. To lam e n t. To wail, as w i t h m a n y mouths,
a f t e r the dogs m a n n e r ;
It forms
Sang F u n e r a l s. To w a i l , as dogs , over a
dead b o d y ; See L. 10 H. —
These two characters v i v i d l y depict the Chinese t h i n g
that they mean.
Etymological Lessons. 72. 181

Chu1. Repeated cries to call the hens; is


Ghia 3 . Large cup, with a cover; a hanap pas-

sing round, a l l m o u t h s d r i n k i n g out of t h e same.

Tan1. To assault somebody, w i th cries a n d a

pitchfork (L. l04). Compare L 72 F. — The pri-
mitive meaning of this c h a r a c t e r Is obsolete. It now
means, single, thin , a check, a bill, only, etc These
are mere chia-chieh. — Phonetic series 705 It has
n ot h in g ia common with

T'o2. A crocodile, whose s k i n was used for making

droms; It represents the mons-
ter. The top part resembles L. 23 1. For the bot-
tom, see L. 108 C. It is unconnected with tan1

( ) 4 To accuse somebody w i t h great cries. Two

m o u t h s , and (L. 102 D) to attack;
t h e m o d e r n form i m a g i n e d by the scribes. — Double
p h o n e t i c series 470, u n d e r its t w o forms.

Y e n 2 , Cries that i n sp ir e awe. See L. 141 H.

Severe, st e r n , majestic. — Phonetic series 858.

Nang2. Cries , and agilatioh, that accompany

the execution of a common work ; cooperation,
working in common. Here again, the Chinese at work
are well described. By extension, big disorder;

See LL 39 B, 39 G,
82 A. In the. modern form, was changed into ,
by a fancy of some, scribe. It forms

Ilsian g 1 . Composed of the last and of clothes,

L. 16 A. To disrobe, in order to plough, or to work, or
to h e l p others. To work, to cooperate, to help. Note
the modern contraction. — Phonetic series 831.
182 Etymological Lessons. 72.

Nang2 A satchel, a recip ient (L 74 A), in which

are, or m a y be enclosed p ell-mell any objects
whatever; a bag, a sack. — Phonetic series 854.

Ch'ien 1 . Meeting, together. Men gathered

who chat. See L. 14 A and E — Phonetic series 726.

Kuan4. The heron Bird with a crest (L. 103

C), a n d clamorous. — Phonetic series 841.

Note: chou4 L. 29 D, a n d shou4 L 23 I, are not

derived f r o m

Third series: repeated th ree times in the same line,

Ling 2 . Noise of voices; The two
following characters are no t derived from , though
they have a f igur e of the same kind

Yao4. A P an dean flute. The three represent the

holes of the pipes uni t e d together in a straight
row. See L 14 H — It is the 244th radical. Phonetic
series 835.

Ling2. Falling of rain in big drops;

Formerly, it made a p honetic series, in which
is now written the compound

Ling2 To offer to hea ven jade (L. 83 A ) , or

certain dances (L. 27 E), in order to get rain
Compare L. 58 H. It was t he first t hi ng asked from
the magicians a n d sorcerers, by a people whose life
depended upon rain. By ex tension, spiritual, myste-
rious, s upe r na t ura l power or effect, transcendent,
marvellou s. — Phonetic series 853.

Sub-series: repealed three times in a pyrarnidical form,

P'in3. Disposition by order a nd degrees, graphically
represented by the dispo sition of three elements,
taken for a multitude. is used as a sign and has no
Etymological Lessons. 72 183
Yen2. Rock s scattered upon a mountain. The
three are used as signs and have no meaning.

Ch'u1. To dispose, to stow away things in a

box ; By extension, lodging,
place, site; — Phonetic series 607.

But, in the two f o ll ow in g characters, the three mean

N ieh 1 . Three mouths j oined by lines. To be
yen2, above. To cabal, to plot;
d i s t i n g u i s h ed from
Now nieh 1 , a mouth
t h a t pour s its words into three ears.

Tsao 4 . S i n g i n g of the birds on trees;

— Phonetic series

Fourth series: repeated lour times,

Ch'i1. Many mouths, clamours; —
F o u r m o u t h s may be seen in d i f f e r e n t characters, e.g.

Ch'i 4 . The vessels for t h e mouths, used for

eating. In the mi d d l e , a dog t h a t cleans them. It
was not very refined, therefore (work, utensil)
was substituted for ; b u t this form was not admitted
by the critics. A very old form shows a h a n d a n d
three pots. The p rimitiv e m eaning was probably,
earthenware, clay vessels, made by the potter. By
extension, any utensil.

Hsiao4. A m a n w i t h four mouths. To vociferate,

to clamour;
Yin2 An officer with four mouths. To speak loud;

Chiao4. Union of several mouths. Cries, appeals

( L . 54 F).
O4 A modern form of . See L. 72 F. — Phonetic
series 470.
184 Etymological Lessons. 73


About three derivatives of yueh1, kan1, yen2, that form important


First series: yueh1.

Yueh1. To speak, to tell. The mouth that exhales

a breath, a word ;
Sometimes, by deriv ation; exhalation, emana-
tion. — It is the 73th rad ic a l. In the compounds,
is to be accurate l y distinguished, from jih4 L.
143, a n d from mao4 L. 34 J, which is written
by the modern scribes. — Note a more ancient and
more evolved form of : t h e b reath f o r m i n g like a
v ol ut e of v a p o u r before the mo uth, as when condensed
in winter. See L. 76 K

Ho 2. A stranger , a beggar, who speaks, in

o r d e r to ask his way or to b eg By extension, to ask,
w h e i e ? w h y ? how? See L 10 G. — Phonetic series 443.

Ch'ang 1 E m a n a t i o n , sw arming, u n d e r th e
sun's heat ( L 143); by extensi on, prosperity, splen-
d o u r , glory. — The ol d forms f i g u r e sun and
moon, light a n d l i f e . — Phonetic series 322.

Ta2. Flow of words (L 125). — Phonetic

series 395.

Ts'ao2. Judges P r i m i t i v e ly two worthies who sat

and pronounced judgment in the East halls.
See L. 120 K. Note the u g l y modern contraction. —
Phonetic series 653.

See LL. 26 D; 40 D.
Etymological Lessons. 73. 185
Second series: kan .
Kan 1 . Sweetness of so m e thing held in the
m o u t h ( L . 1, 4°); good, sweet; by extension, satis-
faction, affection;
— It is the 99(h radical of few characters
r e l a t i n g to sweetness. Phon etic series 129 It forms
M u 3 . The t hi n g sweet to the taste, the f r u i t s
that grow on trees;
It is used now, by a mere con ventional chia-chieh,
to mean, a certain person whose name is unknown,
or respect or c a u ti on forbids to use, mu-jen;
Phonetic series 467.
Shen4 In the more ancient form, what was
agreeable to the taste. In the more modern form,
affection for the being th at makes the pair
(s exual) See L. 42 A. This affection being very great,
says the Glose, hence the extended m eaning, superla-
tive, very, extremely, excessive.

— Phonetic series 475.

H s i a n g 1 Savour or odour agreeable, of the
( c o nt r act ed , L. 121 I) fermented grain, of t h e arack;
extension, fragrant, odoriferous. — It is the 186th

Chih 3 . Formerly, the tongue (L, 102 C), in

contact w i t h a sweet thing — (L. 1 4 0 ). Now
sweet; is t he pho netic (L. 26 K). By extension,
edict of t h e Emperor lhat is supposed to be couched in
sweet words — Phonetic series 185.

Tien 1 . Sweet to the tongue; it is f r o m this

phonetic contracted, that are derived, in the phonetic
series 227 , the compounds in ien. See L. 102 C.

Yen4. Satiated. Glutted with the meat of a

dog. See L. 65 G. In the modern character,
became , as in and above. It forms yen4,
L. 65 G.
186 Etymological Lessons. 73.

Third series: yen2.

Yen2. To speak, to tell; speech, word. Words issuing
(L. 102 E) from the mouth. The sounds of the
heart , says the Glose; — It is the 149th
radical of characters re lating to speech. It forms

Chi 4 . To compute, to c a lc ulate. To know how to

enunciate the numbers till ten, i.e. all the num-
bers. See L. 24 B.

T'ao3. To rule by one's words; to chide;

See L. 45 B.

Hsin 4 . Sinceri t y; the q u a l i t y that the words of

every man should have. Faith, truthfulness, the
effect produc e d upon a man by the words of
another. See L. 25 H

Hsuan4. To go here a n d there , wh ile offering

a n d praising one's goods, as t h e pedlars
do. To
praise up one's self

Luan4 See L. 92 D.

Shang 1 . See L. 15 D.

Fourth series: doubled

Ching 4 . Primitively, words against words,
dispute, Then t he two men
(L 29 A) were added;
Lastly, the scribes contracted this character into ,
and K'ang-hsi wrongly classified it under the 117th
radical . Not to be confounded with L. 97 I.

Shan 4 . Harm ony, good u nderstanding (L. 103),

peace made again after an altercation By extension,
a menity, pleasantness, sweetness, good, well;
Compare L. 71 Q.
This character being uneasy to trace, the scribes
altered It in a strange way. — Phonetic series 702.
Etymological Lessons. 73. 187

Fifth series: yin1. A series is reserved to this derivative of , on account

of its important compounds.

Y i n 1 . Utterance of a — sound. A sound, tone,

phonation, modulation;
Compare the composition of kan1 and chih3, L. 73 B —
It is the 180th radical. Phonetic series 498. It forms

Chang 1 . A strain in music , or an essay in

literature, perfect (ten representing the finishing,
the perfection); -- Phonetic
series 593. It forms

Kan* Music . t h a t ruled t h e

evolutions of the dan cers in
ancient times (see and L.
31 E). It forms, by adding the

Kan 4 . Kung 4 . The gra-

tification (L. 1 6 1 ) given to the
musicians. Com pare L. 65 D.
The scribes changed into , therefore this cha-
racter is now written — Phonetic series 850.

Ching 4 . Limits, boundaries; where the languages

or dialects of men change By extension, end;
K'ang-hsi who took for his
1 8 0 t h radical, arbitrarily classified under .—
Phonetic series 603.

I4. The intention of the man who speaks, manifested

by the sounds he utters; By extension, the
meaning, the signification that the intelligence of
the hearer perceives in the words of the speaker;

Phonetic series 739. It became, by contraction, in

the compound

Chih4. Officer. See L 71 I. —

Phonetic series 671.
188 Etymological Lessons. 73. 74.

Note: In the phonetic series 739, are enclosed some derivatives of another
compound, which the scribes confounded w i t h

I4. Pleasure, cheerfulness, caused by a word, that

hit the point (L. 109);
is divided, a h a l f being on the top, a half at
the bottom; is in the middle. With at the bottom,
we have a compound
which is also written It meant, pleasure. This sense became obsolete, and the
character now means 100.000. It is written Compare L. 47 X. — Conclusion: in
modern characters, the series is u n i f o r m ; written in ancient characters, it is de-
composed into two distinct series.


About t h e p r i m i t i v e wei2. See L. 76,

Wei2. A r o u n d , a c i r c u m f e r e n c e , an inclosure, to
co n t ain; — It is t he 31th radical of
characters relating to enclosure s. To be distinguished
from the 30th radical , m o u t h Different compounds
of wei2 were already explained. Let us recall

Yuan4. Larvae without skeleton, th»t can bend in

round . See L. 65 E.

Yuan2. Cowries of a round form. See L,

161 B.

She4. Dwelling made with walls. See L. 14 C.

Ts'ang1. A granary to keep the provisions.

See L 26 M.

Ch'iu 2 . A m a n i m p ri s o n e d See L 25 B.

Yi n 1 . A man enclosed, k n o w i n g not what to say.

See L. 60 B

Hun4. A sty for pigs. See L. 69 B

Etymological Lessons. 74. 189
Lo . Penning, cattle-breeding, fattening. To catch
and inclose an a n i m a l in a pen, in order, later
on, to get its flesh; See LL. 10 E,
ti E, 65 A. The scribes changed into . —
Phonetic series 747, the radical being inserted at the
bottom, betveen and

Lei2. A sheep that needs to be

Lean, feeble, meagre.

Ying 2 . To feed one's purse ( cowries). To gain at

a game, or in doing commerce. Is phonetic contracted
in the compounds in ing of the phonetic series 747.

I4. Seat of the government's

(L. 55 B). Capital of a district, of a lief. Walled city;
— It is the 163th
radical of characters denoting towns. Let us recall
the compounds

Y u n g 1 . The moat ar ound a city L 12 G.

Y u n g 1 The wagtail, the bird that likes the

moats. L 12 G.

Note: straight or turned, when abbreviated, becomes on the right,

on the left. Hence t he following

Y u n g 1 . The wa g ta il , as ab ove; is for , is for

. — Phonetic series 769.

Hsiang 1 . The country, the s pace between the cities

and , where the grains are growing See
L. 26 M — Phonetic series 682.

Lastly, in the next, is reduced to (L. 55 B).

Hsiang 4 . Composed of (L 47 Q) and of two ,

later on reduced to one, and th en to . What is of
a common use in the cities , i.e. the streets,
the paths;
190 Etymological Lessons. 75.

About several series derived from wei2, viz. etc , that are
important and difficult.

First series: shu4.

Shu4. To bind, to tie, to inclose a tree, taken
here as meaning any object;
— Phonetic series 303. It forms
Su4, Sou4. To clear the throat,
to cough; (L. 99)
— Phonetic series 647.

Chien 3 . To select; to choose

in a bundle
previously opened;
Not to be c o n f o u n d e d with the compounds of ,
L. 40 D. — Phonetic series 429,

This is a s i n g u l a r compound, that forms an interesting

series. It is composed of , with a second
greater, inserted h a l f w a y up the tree The r adical, or
sometimes the phonetic, is introduced in this frame.
The general idea of t h i s now obsolete character was,
a recipient, a case, a bag, placed hi gh, out of reach. The
scribes altered it in many ways. The large is ge-
n e r a l l y reduced to , a n d the foot of t h e tree to
. Some compounds are given here :

Kao1. Quiver, a case for arrows; is phonetic.

T'o2. A bag; , stone, represents the contents See

the ancient character above. It forms

Tu4. Worms in cases, books or clothes, moths,


Nang2. A sack. Explained L 72 H. — Phonetic series

The philologists attribute also to this compound, taken in the sense of euclosure,
the Intricate forms of K'un3. See below, the different writings of this character. It
means the path in the shape of a , which cuts the square yards of the
Etymological Lessons. 75 191
Chinese palaces, giving in the angles four spaces, planted with flowers;
The first ancient form graphically represented this idea, which was
darkened by successive additions. The contractions were made by the scribes. Not
to be confounded with hu2, L. 38 G. It has nothing in common with ya4,
L. 82 H.

Second series: kao1.

Kao1. A kind of pavilion , raised upon a
substructure; represents the hall in this
building; An elevated place;
high, lofty, eminent. — It forms the 189th radical.
Phonetic series 544. When it is variously contracted,
or overturned, or when its strokes are mingled, it
forms the singular following series.

T'ing 2 . The phonetic ting1 (L. 57 A) replaced the

at the bottom. In the modern writing, became
. Pavilion, terrace; —
Phonetic scries 479.

Po4. An old city, (L. 33 B) root of the Shang

dynasty, built upon a height.

Hao2. An a n g r y boar (L. 69) bristling u p ;

contracted is phonetic. Extended meanings, bravery;
compare L. 69 D. I L.. or bristles, a ha ir, a n y t h i n g
v e r y m i n u t e . Hence the modern form , w h ic h is
not classical ( mao2, hair, L. 100) — Recently t h e
character has been adapted to the porcupine, com-
mon in the West of China. It is supposed to be very
brave, and to shoot out its quills, like arrows. — Pho-
netic series 777.

Ch'iao2. In this character, it was the top of

that disappeared, to make room for yao1, L 61 B;
high, a tree for instance, the top of which bends
down, overhangs. — Phonetic series 670 K'ang-hsi
wrongly classified this character under the mouth.
192 Etymological Lessons 75
T'ai . A high place, a lofty lerroce, a look-out. Here
is reduced to and . The of t h e bottom
was replaced by , L 133 which means t h a t the
birds alight there. The on the top, is replaced by
L 79, which indicates the summit, as in L. 59
By extension, any elevated place, staging, tower,
ob servato ry. — Phonetic series 790.

Third series: ching1, derived from

C h i n g . It is , t h e bottom p a rt of which is
replaced by a pivot (L. 6 A ) ; idea of loftiness, of
central ity. The capital or metropolis, centre of th e
Empire. The
scribes altered the bottom in the modern character.
It is u n c o n n e c t e d w i t h — P h on e ti c series 336. It

Chiu Admiration (L 134 C), before something
e x a l t e d . By e x t e n s i o n , to go towards, to follo w,
Ching . The sun very high; brightness; a vista,
a prospect. Forms ying , shade caused by an
object, intercepting light. — Another e x p l a n a t i o n :
the sun at the, capital Prognostics given by it
about t h e affairs of the Empire, state of things,
ci rcums tance s — Phonetic series 672.

Liang . The men of the capital,
enlightened than those of the provinces, advisors to
the Government, etc. By extension, clear, illumined.
The actual form is relatively modern.

Fourth series: hsiang3; modern form derived from

D Before studying 1hts series, th at was specially distorted by the scribes, let us
n o t e — 1.That is an arbitrary abbreviation of , which has nothing in common
with L. 94 — 2. That the scribes used the same as an abbreviation of two
2 1
compounds of ch'un and kuo (below E and H), that form series, if therefore
Etymological Lessons. 75. 193

the group is gathered, one gets a m i x t u r e of yang, un, wu, uo, etc. This
phonetic confusion betrays a p r i m i t i v e d iver sity of characters which cannot be
distinguished in the modern writing, b ut is manifest in the ancient forms.

Hsiang 3 . To offer a g i f t to a superior (

contracted); represents the object offered; it is a
modern primitive, distinct from yueh1 L. 73, and
from jih L. 143. —
The a n c i e n t f o r m was composed of t w o abbreviated,
o n e b e i n g str a ig h t, the o t h e r i n v e r t e d ; one offering,
the o t h e r r e c e i v i n g ; Hence
two meanings; to treat with favour ( n o w heng1),
or to enjoy t h e favour received ( n o w hsiang3).
C o m p a re L 75 G. — P h o n e t i c series 274 a n d 359; the
latter is almost completely attributed to the com-
p o u n d s Ch'un 2 a n d huo 1 , below E, H.

Fu2. A b u n d a n c e . According to some interpreters, this

character is composed of gifts received, a n d of
t h a t d i v i d e s in f o u r parts , this division im plying
t h a t a l l t h e corners are f i l l e d ;
— A more a nc ie n t e xpla na tion,
t h o u g h less c o m m o n l y a d m i t t e d , seems to be t h e t r u e
one. A c c or di n g to this, t h e character means
( c o n t r a c t e d ) , t h e h e a p i n g up of t h e productions of t h e
f i e l d s , goods of t h e e a r t h A b u n d a n c e , prosperity,
Then the c h a r a c t e r is derived directly from , and
not f r o m . — Note the modern d ef or m at i o n, a n d the
compounds fu4, bouses filled, wealth;
fu 2 , a
transcendent influence that brings luck;
— Phonetic series 441.

Ch'un2. A l a m b grown up, big and. nice enough

to be offered as a present:
— Is altered into , as it was explained above D —
Phonetic series 359. It forms
194 Etymological Lessons. 75.
Shu2. To take (L. 11 E) a

acceptable, to be
roasted; Note the
compound shu2, shon2, the lamb roasted ( L.
126); by extension, well cooked, ripe. — Phonetic
series 644. Now is used chia-chieh, as an interro-
gative pronoun.
Tun1. Meek-minded, honest,
simple as a lamb, that is
beaten a n d does not cry; to
bear, to beat, etc. — Phonetic series

Liang2 The evolution of t his character parallelled

the evolution of Chinese moral philosophy. Primitively
the gift (as in L. 75 D), the capital gift, the
nature heavenly received. In t he second aucient cha-
racter, t h e coming down from heaven of the gift, is
shown graphically (school of Meng-tzu, good nature).
In the third ancient character, good and evil
(school of Tung chung-shu). Fi nally, the gift has been
lost (school of Li-ssu a nd Hsun-tzu, bad nature). —
Anyhow, the primitive m e a ni n g has been preserved:
, original qualities, nature, natural, inborn, good.
The actual character is an arbitrary contraction. See
L. 26 0. — Phonetic series 289. It forms

Lang2. Name of an old city. Chia-chieh, a title. —

Phonetic series 460.

Liang2. Measure, weight, to measure, to weigh.

Composed of (L. 120 K) weight, natural; the
weight of things according with their nature. Note the
contractions. It has nothin g in common either with
L. 149 D, or with L. 143 B. It forms liang2,
rations, food, provisions; the quantity of grains
required for food.
Etymological Lessons. 75 195

inverted, and contracted, forms

Hou 4 . Liberality, generosity. The reverse of ,

L 75 D. The inferior receives a gift ;
It is now w ritt en
H o u 4 . Liberality, generosity. The represents the
coming down of the gift, f r o m upwards. By extension,
thick, large ( q u a l i t i e s of a generous gift). The modern
character is an a r b i t r a r y abbreviation.

T'an2. A b u n d a n c e of s a l t ( L . 41 D); salting,

pickling; by extension, different macerations; various
chia-chieh. After many contractions, t h e bottom of the
c h a r a c t e r became . — Phonetic series 706.

Fifth series: kuo, derived from

Kuo1 Walls, fortifications The fence (L 74)
simple, or d o u b l e d ( L . 76) of the ancient cities,
w i t h two ( f o u r ) doors opposite, each surmounted with
a look-out. The is contracted. For th e
mod ern a b b r e v i a t i o n , see the note, L 75 D. —
Phonetic series 349. It forms
Kuo 1 . Walls ( c i t y ) ; it is
now used f o r t he last character.
— Phonetic series 549.

Fu4 This character is derived from kuo1 (above,

the second anci en t form, wit h a simple ), taken in
the sense of city, place. The t u r n e d up was
replaced by the radical (L. 31 B), to march, to go.
To go in a city, to market. By extension, to go where
one already o f t e n went, to return for a second time,
reiteration, repetitiou, etc.
Note the absurd modern contraction. —
Phonetic series 442. It forms
Fu4. A sy n o n y m of the last; it
is now used for the simple form;
below J.
196 Etymological Lessons. 75.

Note. We incidently treat here about an important compound, li3, shoes,

to walk; it is seemingly derived from , but in reality, it has no connection
whatever with that character. Its story is thus given: primitively it was

Li3. The boats (L. 66), that men put their

feet in (L. 112). In fact, the ancient shoes of Chinese
much resembled a small boat;
Then (L. 63), to walk, was substituted for feet;
and a man (L. 32) for . Later on, the character
was increased with , to march (L. 3} C); this was
a mere redundancy. Lastly the scribes contracted
and int o , t he bottom of the character thus
becoming identical to fu4 (L. 75 I).

this c o m p o u n d became like a radical of shoes,

Chi4, clog. Chu4, shoe Hsueh1, boot Chiao1, shoe.

being replaced by different phonetics. For in st a n ce :

Sixth series: k'o1, derived from

K'o1- To overcome, to prevail over, to repress, to

subdue, etc. The top part is contracted, that
means, pressure from upwards, a weight that hangs
heavily. Some say, the bottom is (L 65 F) shoulder, contracted. A load that
weighs heavy upon the shoulders;
The lo w er part seems rather to be a primitive, repre sen t ing
th e idea of b e n d i n g u n d e r a load Note that, a m o n g t h e three compounds
k'o1, to be a bl e of s u p p o r t i n g, of mastering, t h e first is the right o ne,
though it is now used the least; To have the strength
of supp o rting, of subduing.

does not come from . See L. 97 I.

Etymological Lesions 76. 197

The first series of this Lesson is about , which is wei2 L.74, doubled. The
secoud series is about the primitive hui , that is often written by the mo-
dern scribes. To be distinguished from the series chiung3, L. 34 B.

First series:
Wei2. Hui2. Double fence (see kuo1, L. 75 H); a
vase hermetically closed. It forms very important
radical compounds, but no phonetic compounds. Those
lhat are sometimes attributed to it, belong to ,
below G.

Lin3. A depot, to put in (L. 15) the grains;

It is now written
and forms

Lin3. A depot for grains, a storehouse;

distribution of grain to the poor; gift, favour. —
Phonetic series 746. Note t h a t
Ping 3 , is a modern character, that is not
found in the ancient dictionaries; to let
know to the authorities the poor that must
be (contracted) helped; to warn, to

T'an2. G r a n a r y that may be examined at the

(L. 143 B) day's light; all the grain that must be
there, is really there; sincerity, honesty. — Phonetic
series 762.

She4. Grains enclosed in a grange. When

one has grains, he does not spoil them; thrift,
parsimony. See L 13 C. In the modern character, the
bottom of , and the top of , are mingled together.
— Phonetic series 755.

Pei3. Pi3. To have a small heap of grains , an

overplus t h a t cannot be received in the granary.
S uperabundant, a n d hence, not precious. It forms
Pi3. Vulgar, low (extended meaning of the
simple character). Primitively, the small
garrisons on th e barbarian borders;
198 Etymological Lessons. 76.77.

T'u2. The plans to be made to order one's granary,

when there are too many grains to be received
therein. By extension, to plan, to scheme, to calculate,
l ong for, etc.
There are four in this character.

Second series:
Hui 2. Image of an object (clouds, volutes of the
smoke) t h a t turns, that rolls, that revolves;
Abstract notion of revolviug, of return. The scribes
often write (L. 76 A). — Phonetic series 211.
It forms

Hsuan 1 . To make a complete revolution, either

on ones self, or through a nd through, or from one
end to the other. See L. 2 D E F. To revolve, to
go through, completely. — Phonetic series 207. The
modern scribes changed into .
It forms
Hsuan1. A palace;
— Phonetic
series 449.

Mu2. To dive, while t u r n i n g on one's self, in

order to get something u n d e r water,
the head
being below;
By extension, to disappear, to be no more. —
Phonetic series 72. The modern scribes changed

The p r i m i t i v e is found also, more or less modified, in the old f o r m of yun2

cloud (L. 93 A); in an old form of yueh1 (L. 73 A ) ; in the old form of lei2
(L. 93 D), thunder rolling above the fields.


About the primitive ko*.

Ko4. A twig of bamboo, with a knot, and the whorl
of pending branches inserted in the knot;
It is now written , or . B y extension, an
article. Specificative of unities. Let us recall the
Etymological Lessons. 77. 78. 199

Chih1. The hand, breaking a bamboo sprig

between two knots; or, in the more modern form,
the hand holding a bamboo sprig. A branch, a twig,
to hold. — It is the 65th radical. Phonetic series 45.

Chu2. Bamboo, the twigs of which are not raised

up, but drooping; It is now
written . Contracted form . — It is the 118th
radical of characters mostly referring to the many
kinds or articles of bamboo. It is phonetic in some
characters, e.g.

Chu4. A multitude of bamboos. The common name

of India in Buddhist books.
Chu2. A kind of rude harp, composed of thirteen
strings that were struck with hammers. It forms

Tu3. To advance. Firm, resolute.


About the primitive and its multiples. The complete series of the compounds
derived from this important element will be treated in the L. 73.
First series: simple.
Ch'e4. A plant that sprouts from its grain; the
minimum of a plant; at the bottom, the root; on the
top, the culm; on each side, one leaf;
it is often used as a symbol, either to
represent any object
(L. 44 H), or to mark a point (L. 59 F). — It is the 45th radical of characters
mostiy referring to springing plants. In the modern writing, the scribes disfigured
this element in the most fanciful ways. See, for instance,
L. 44 H, etc.
T'ao1. To hold. A hand holding an object;
Forms t'ao , a bow-case, a
scabbard, etc.
Ch'en3 An insect that crawls (L. 110), the
head being raised ( beak and feelers). There are
unimportant compounds. Not to be confounded with
ch'ih1, L. 79 B.
200 Etymological Lessons 78.

Second series: repeated horizontally.

Ts'ao 3 . Plants with herbaceous stems. The

repetition means their multiplicity;
— it is the 140th radical of c haracters
relating to plants. Modern contracted form . The
scribes c o n t r a c t e d in the, same way a few very different
elements, e.g. in L 23 H; in L. 54 G; etc.

Third series: repeated vertically, not united.

Che3, she 2 To c u t , to break; An a x e ,

and the two stumps of a branch cut. It is now
written . See L. 48 D. — Phonetic series 252.
Ch'u2 Grass bound in .sheaves (L. 54);
By extension,
vulgar, of s ma ll va lue , as the grass. Compare L. 44 I. --
Phonetic series 524.

Fourth s eri e s: repeated v e r t i c a l l y , united.

Ch'u 4 . Springing of p l a n t s ; the small p l a n t . (L.

78 A) formed a. second pair of leaves, and thrusts it-
self out; To issue,
to go out, to spring from, to manifest, and other
chuan-chu. It is often disfigured by the scribes, so
t h a t it beco mes , etc.. — Phonetic series 147. It forms

Ch'u1 is tail c o n t r a c te d (L. 100 B). To go

away , the tail lowering;
By e x t e n s i o n , depression, grievance, bent down.
Compare li4, L. 1 29 A. — Phonetic series 348.

Nao2. To go out in order to saunter ( L. 117

A): Now By
extension, excessive relaxation, pride, insolence. —
Phonetic series 638 The scribes contracted into
Etymological Lessons. 78. 201
Mai . To sell. This part of business (L 161 D)
which consists in exporting goods; to sell them;
The scribes
contracted into . Note that mai4 does not
form phonetic compounds; t h e phonetic series in
has a n o t h e r origin. See L. 79 J.

Pao4. To spread the grain, in order to d r y it,

when the sun is rising. Sec L. 47 S. The modern
contraction is a strange one, — Phonetic series 809.

Sui 4 . Unpropitious transcendent emanation.

Bad omen, noxious influence; Not to be
confounded with ch'ung2, to revere.
T'iao4. To sell grain ; a n d its correlative
Ti2. To buy grain ; (L. 62 G) is phonetic...
to go out; to enter.

Fifth series: repeated three times, a n d contracted

Hui3. Vegetables, plants in general; the three
representing the multitude;
, The modern form is to be dist inguished
from thirty, derived from , L. 24 N. It forms

Pen4. A man (L.

60) who w a l k s in the grass.
To stride, In the ancient
character, there
is for (L. 61 B). —
Phonetic series 472.

Fen4. Ornaments, Shells

and plants. These were the first motives of
decoration, being easier to be traced than others. See
L. 35 G. — Phonetic series 732.

Sixth series: quadrupled

Mang3. High plants, luxuriant vegelation;
Note the modern abbreviation.
In the compounds, the added part is inserted between
the on the top. and the at the bottom, the
latter being often changed by the scribes into
202 Etymological Lessons 78. 79.

Mang3. A hound frisking about in the

thickets. A kind of greyhound;
Phonetic series 698.

Mo*. The sun fading away at the horizon, in the

plants. Sunset; now . By extension, to disappear,
to be no more, negation. — Phonetic series 637, in
which the radical is often placed at the bottom,
between the two down strokes of the lower ,
changed int o ;eg. , , etc.

Tsang*. The ancient bur i al; to tie — a corpse in

a bundle of grass. See L. 28 H. The tie — has disap-
peared from the modern character.

Han 2 . Cold. A man who tries To protect himself

against cold . in a shelter, by burying h i m s e l f in
straw. See L 47 U. — Phonetic series 530.


This Lesson, one of the most intricate, is reserved for the important series that are
derived from (L. 73), viz.: etc.

First series: t'un2.

T'un2. The underground germ ination. The two coty-
ledons part from each other; the curved line represents
the struggles of the young plant in order to take
root; the plumula rises above the — earth, and is
brought to light;

extension, the difficult beginning of an establishment, a foundation, a village, a
camp. — Phonetic series 85. It forms

Ch'un1. Spring. Germination and pullulation of

plants, by the effects of the sun. — Phonetic
series 436. The modern character is another strange
alteration made by the scribes.
Etymological Lessons. 79 203

Second series: chih.

Chih 1 . A small p l a n t ascending from the —
ground; to grow; idea of development, of progress, of
continuity; It is now
used (chia-chieh) as the sign of the genitive, as an
expletive, etc. Not to he confounded
with fa , L. 112 K. In the modern compounds,
either has its ancient form, or is contracted into ,
or otherwise. Note the derivatives

Ch'ih1. A scarab, large black beetle, boring

through — the hard soil, coming to light. Chuan-chu,
clumsy, stupid. Compare ch'en3, L. 78 A. — Phonetic
series 520.

Shih2. The time, succession of the annual

sprouting periods of plants, under the action of the
sun; compare L. 24 D, L. 79 A. Constancy, Later on,
the character was erroneously connected with —
Phonetic series 562.

Ssu4. Court, temple. The place where the law or the

rule are applied, in a constant manner;
— Phonetic series 238.

Chih4. The will; a purpose that is fixed, that

develops itself; The heart
is, according to the Chinese, the seat of the intellect
and of the will. — Phonetic series 260.
Hsien1 To advance; to progress with one's
feet (L 29); —
Phonetic series 202. Repeated in
Shen1. To advance, to present one's
self, in order to give one'sadvice. It forms

Tsan4. To pay a visit in

order to give an advice;
presents offered, or, more pro-
bably, received;

— Phonetic series
204 Etymological Lessons. 79.

Shih4. A market. The grass grown place

(L . 34 A ) , where one gets what one is in need of
(L. 19 E)... instead of , the down
being mingled with the horizontal stroke of Compare L 14 C. The
modern form is not to be confounded, either with fa4 (L 35 B), or with
fei4 (L. 79 G). It forms shih4, the kaki (phonetic complex); and nao4
(logical aggregate), to wrangle as on the ma rket, to quarrel, to scold, etc.

inverted forms
Tsa1. To go r o u n d ; to perform a circuit or entire
revolution; as which turned on its axis;
In the modern times, this cha-
racter was changed by the scribes into ;

is found in shin1, L. 86 B; an d in wei4, to escort,

a different writing of
, in which replacing the of the phonetic , means perhaps the return,
while means the going.

Sub-series and combined wi t h t'u8 (L 8 l ) forms

Wang3. Luxuriant vegetation, that sprouts from
the earth, here a n d there; rambling, wandering;

In its modern contracted forms, wang3 might be
confounded w i t h chu3, master, L. 83 D; a n d with
wang , king, L 83 C. In the first case, the sound
prevents a n y mistake. In the second case, the dis-
tinction is not easy, the two phonetics being
homophonous. See phonetic series 87 and 115. Note
the derivatives

Wang3 To stray, to go away;

K'uang2. A mad dog that roves;

— P h o n e t i c series 285

K u a n g 1 A regular assemblage. It is supposed to

rome from (L 51 A ) , and already contracted in
the writing hsiao-chuan. It seems rather that is a
primitive, representirig a regular ordering. Compare
hsuan4, L. 47 F. — Phonetic series 223.
Etymological Lessons. 79. 205
Sub-series , another combination of with t'u3, (L. 81).

Feng1. Fields and meadows , under the

authority of a feudatory; an appanage, a domain,
a tenure;
This explanation seems to be erroneous.
The ancient character first represented a tree upon
a tumulus; , the authority, was added later on.
It is composed like , in which was also added
later on. A knoll surmounted with a tree, represented
the Imperial possession of the land. A similar knoll,
but smaller, was erected in the fief granted by the
Emperor to a feudatory. Symbol of the jurisdiction ;
fictitious principle of propitions influences; etc. By
extension, to raise a tumulus, to invest a noble, to
appoint to office, to seal, to close, etc. The modern
forms are contracted. Nothing in common with
(L. 81 D). — Phonetic series 440,

Third series: sheng, often contracted into

Sheng1. A plant that grows more and more. A

whorl WHS added to L. 79 B;
By extension, to bear, to spring, to live, to grow. — It
is the 100th radical. Phonetic series 154. Note the

Ch'ing 1 . Green. The hue of growing plants,

the light green of sprouting plants;
But (L. 115 D) means red! Was the inventor
of a Daltonian? — It is the 174th radical. Phonetic
series 337.

Hsing1 The stars; the quintessence of sublimated

mailer, that ascended and crystallised into stars;
The three top elements
of the anci ent character are a primitive, representing
the stars. The modern character is a contraction of
the same. — Phonetic series 447.
206 Etymological Lessons. 79.

Ch'an3. The signs of parturition. See L. 61

F. — Phonetic series 592.
Luny2. Prosperity, abundance. What descends
(contracted) from heaven; what is produced on
earth; all goods. See L. 31 F.
Tu2 The noxious weeds that grow everywhere,
and that must be avoided. Poison, venom. See
L. 67 M.
Su4. This character does not mean to rise from the
dead, but to change (L. 41 A) one's existence,
in the Taoist or Buddhist sense.
Hsing4. The natural disposition, temper, spirit, the
qualities and propensities; the heart of a man, at
his birth.
Hsing4. The place where the dan-chiefs of old,
were born from a woman
impregnated by
heaven. They were surnamed after that plac e; hence
the extended meaning, family surname.

Sheng 1 . A multitude, a great number of beings.

combined with (L 18) forms the two series 4 and 5.

Fourth series. fei4.

Fei4. The branching plants, that do not stand,
but creep, .and whose bough's-multiply indef i nitely;
by extension, multiplication, fibres;
— Phonetic series 57 The
modern f o r m is to be distingu ished from shih4,
L. 34 D. and from fu4, L. 35 B... Fei4 is, sometimes,
used also under the contracted forms and . Note
the derivatives

Po4. The multiplication, the human procreation (

child, L. 94). — Phonetic series 30t.

So3. Fibres (L. 92) of the plants; to tie up; a

cord. — Phonetic series 565.
Etymological Lessons. 79. 207

Nan2. The South. Regions in which the luxuriant

(L. 102 F) vegetation expands everywhere. The
country of lianas. — Phonetic series 468.

Tzu3. A stop — (L. t. 3°), in the development

of vegetation. To stop. The modern form was invented
by the scribes;
— Phonetic series 86.

Fifth series: p'an4.

P'an4. To strip he m p and divide the fibres from
the stalk;
The modern form is to be distinguished from mu4,
2 4
tree, L 119; a n d from shu , L. 45 J. P'an ( a n d
not mu ) is the radical in hsi3, hemp. It forms

P'ai4. Textile fibres Not to be confounded with

lin2, that comes from mu1, L. 119 L. It forms

Ma2- Prepared hempen tow, k e pt u n d e r a shelter

(L. 59 I). — It is the 200th radical. Phonetic series
634 It forms
Mei 2 . Bad tow, (L. 170),
had; negation.

San4. Striking of the fibres, to dissociate them;

to separate; It forms
San*. To strike meat and
to reduce it into filaments, in the
Chinese way; The
modern form contracted Is now
used for the last; to scatter, to
separate, to disperse, to break
up, etc. — Phonetic series 701.

Sixth series. In4. From and (L. 60).

Lu . Mushroom. A plant that stands as a
man; The is con-
tracted. It forms
208 Etymological Lessons. 79. 80.

Ch'iu 4 . The tadpoles that swarm like mushrooms.

Hence the p h o n e t i c c o m p o u n d

Tsao4 A stove for cooking; — In these

intricate characters, is often contracted into ,
to give room. See L. 108 C.

Mu4. A benevolent look; is phonetic. Friend-

liness. Now , lu4 (below) being the phonetic.
It forms
Yu4. To chaffer; to haggle about
the price in friendly
terms. is
contracted into ,
so th at the modern form of this character is identical
to mai4, to sell, L. 78 E. — Phonetic series 817.

Lu4. Earth, soil, a mound;

— Phonetic series 379. It forms

I4 To cultivate the ground;

L. 11 E. — Phonetic series 619.

The following is considered as a derivative from


Ling 2 To stumble, to knock against an

obslacle; a tum ulus, a hillock. — Phoneiic series 378.

For these two forms, see L. 165 B

About the primitive shan .
Shan1. Mountain. On the top, three rocks;
— It is the 46th radical of charac-
ters relating to hills. Phoneiic series 25. — This
character is to be distinguished from certain modern
contractions, e.g. L. 164 B, L. 165 B, etc. See
L. 25 I, hsien1, the genii, the men who dwell
on the mountains. Sometimes a symmetrical pho-
netic is introduced in the radical , e .g. L 90 D,
L. 69 J.
Etymological Lessons. 80. 81. 209

Note the development of the image in the following

Yao4. The highest peaks of mountains (4, then 5),
where the Emperors worshipped when visiting their
empire (Textes Historiques, p. 32). The ancient
character represents the rows superposed; the modern
character is a fanciful deformation made by the
It is used also chia-chieh, as a
term of respect.


About the primitive t'u3, and its multiples. A special series is reserved for

First series: t'u3.

T'u3. E arth, soil, ground. The earth t h a t produces
a l l things. The top line re presents the surface, the
soil; the down line represents the subsoil, the rock;

It is the 32th. radical of characters r e l a t i ng to earth.

Phonetic series 32.
— See L. 38 C; L27 D; L. 79 E, F; etc.
Note the f o l l o w i n g

K u a i 4 . To clear l a n d , changing
t hus his
appearance; new, strange;
Forms kuai*, moral
singularity; singularity in general;

N i e h 1 . Clay exposed to the sun. Hence

clay watered, t h e n h a r d en i n g when exposed to t h e
sun. To mould earthenware, bricks, etc. — Pho-
neti c series 296.

Nieh1. ( m i s t a k e n for the prec ed ent)

H ui 3 . The primitive mortar to pound rice, a hole
dug in the hard soil, or perhaps a hollow brick.
210 Etymological Lessons. 81.
Hui 3 . To pound (L. 22 D) in the mortar, to
grind to dust. Cbuan-chu, to destroy utterly. —
is a vicious form. — Phonetic series 735.

Note: t'u3 is to be distinguished from (L. 60) or

(L. 61) on the top
of etc; and from or (L. 79) on the top of etc.
In composition, t'u3 is ord ina ri ly at the bottom, or on th e left side of the

Second series: Multiples of

K u i 1 . Lands; Appanages of the

ancient feuda tories. By extension, the different
sceptres given to nobles by the Emperor, when they
were invested with their fief. — Phonetic series 224.
For that is not derived from , see. L. 79 E.

Yao2 Earth heaped u p ;

It forms

Yao2. Knoll, mound. From earth heaped up on a

high base;
Name of the celebrated Emperor Yao2 (22 Centuries
B. C.). — Phonetic series 719.

Third series: t'ing2, composed of and

T'ing2. A man standing on the ground;

Compare L. 60 H.
To be distinguished from jen2 (L. 82 C). It forms

Yin2. Idea of encroachment, of usurpation, of outrage,

of violence;
Lit, while standing on one's
rights, to encroach on another's rights. The compound
yin2, that is DOW
used to mean lewdness in general, is in that meaning chia-chieh for rape.
Etymological Lessons. 81. 211
T'ing . To go to the court, to stand at one's
place, for an imperial audience:

The Emperor sat on his throne before the inner door, the
ministers were standing in two lines, on the left and the right side, in the court-
yard. Each of them held in his hands the sceptre, sign of his dignity. See LL. 55
A, B; 85 F; 81 G. — Phonetic series 305.

Ch'en2. A minister who, when standing at his

place, bows down profoundly. See ( L . 82 F).
Forms, by adding moon (L. 6* G), the quaint
Wang4. A solemn imperial audience The ministers
reflecting the splendour of the Emperor, as the moon
reflects the light of the sun;

by substituting to :
Wang4. This character has two different meanings. —
1. The f u l l of the moon, after which the moon
decreases. — 2. To look at, or forward, or towards, to
desire; in this sense, it is cbia-chieh for the last.

Ch'eng2. To speak . w h i l e standing at one's

place; to notify, to lay before a superior. — Phonetic
series 255. It forms

Sheng4. Those who listened to and understood

the advices giv en, a n d therefore became wise;
wise, perfect;

Tieh4. Notification made with menaces (L. 71

F). It became by the redundant addition of
contracted into
Tieh4. Hence the phonetic complex t'ieh, iron,

Other derivatives of explained elsewhere: L. 12

H; L. i) 0; L. 120 K.
212 Etymological Lessons 82.


About the primitive kung1, and its important derivatives, jen2, chu4,
2 4
ch'en , ya . Two other primitives, i2, and t'ou3, will be incidentally

First series: and its multiples.

Kung 1 . It represents the ancient square. By exten-
sion, work, skill, labour, any ornament requiring
skill. For, says the Glose, the square gives the shape
to all things; it forms the right angle that forms the
squares, that form the circles, etc. In an ancient form,
represents the parallel lines traced with the
— It is the 48th radical.
Phonetic series 24.

Different compounds of were explained elsewhere. See L 27 E; L. 49 G;

L. 46 B; L. 71 G; L 11 F. But is not derived from it. Note the
K u n g 1 . A work that requires (L. 53 A)
strength, and therefore meritorious; work done,
achievements, merit ;

Hsia ng 4 The nape, The part behind

the head, on which the loads are carried (L. 160),

Kung4. Cowries paid for a work done; salary,

contributions, taxes; (L. 161).

K'ung 1 . Artificial excavation (L. 37);acavern,

a bale, an opening, empty: — Phonetic
Scries 372.

Cha n 3 Symmetrical and intricate ordering or

drawing, for which the square was much used;
It forms
Chan3 Gowns (L. 16) embroidered with orna-
ments, worn by the ladies at the court. Contracted in
Etymological Lessons. 82. 213
Chan . The skirt of t h a t gown, the train which
unrolls itself from the lower part of the body;
By extension, to open out, to unroll, to
expand, to exhibit Now The modern contraction
was made by the scribes. — Phonetic series 508.

Sai1. To fill or s tu f f a hole, to stop u p , to obstruct.

Two hands pile up bricks or other materials, in

Now — Phonetic series 350.

Second series: jen2.

Jen2. Not to be confounded witd t'ing2, L. 81 D.
A man (as in I . 50 C) who carries a load;
the Chinese carrying bamboo pole with a load hanging
at each end. The figure is couched, to take less place;
see page 18-8 A loan, a burden; to bear, to e nd ure,
etc. This character was used to mean the n int h of the
ten stems in the cycle, and the compound was
made to replace it

— Phonetic-series 66.
Jen . A b u r d e n , a charge, to bear, etc. It is used
for . The tone was changed: —
Phonetic series 215.

Third series. chu.

Chu4. A greater square ( L 82 A ) , for longer
measures, either agrari an or others. It had a handle
or a tie, to be handled. Now . By extension, big. —
Phonetic series 118.

Ch'u2. A d r a i n . a canal, a place for water to run

into; It comes from , a kind of
square or level, used to make the aqueducts. There
are different chia-chieh.
214 Etymological Lessons. 82.
Fourth series: ch'en2.

Ch'en2. Minister, attendant on a prince. The

character, straightened in modern wr iting (see page
18-8), represents the minister prostrate before his
master; — It is the
131th radical It forms

Huan4. Minister at the palace; an official,

an eunuch. Compare kuan , L. 86 C.

Tsang1. Compliance, the virtue of the ministers.

Phonetic (LL. 127 B, 71 F). There are different
chia-chieh — Phonetic series 792.

Chien1. To have hold of one's men ; firm,

solid; Now . — Phonetic series

Wo4. To resalute kindly the saluting minister;

It forms

Lin9. To treat k i n d l y the different classes of

officials (L. 75). By extension, to be condescending,

Chien1. To bend over a f u l l vase (L. 157), to

see its contents. To examine carefully, to watch over;
places u n d e r watch, as an office, a bureau, a prison,
etc. — Note how, in the modern
character, the contracted received between its two
strokes, the of dislocated. In the compounds,
when a radical is added at the bottom, placed on
the top, on the right side, becomes ; see the fol-
lowing lan3. — Phonetic series 772. Compare L. 41 D.
Lan3. To examine carefully, to
— Phonetic series
Etymological Lessons. 82. 83. 215
The derivatives of are to be distinguished from those of the primitive
I2. This character, a straightened figure (page 18-8),
rudely represents the. face and projecting chin;
Compare L. 41 B. — Phonetic series 279. See
L. 85 A.

Fifth series: ya4.

Ya4. A work deformed; ugly, as a hunchback.
The vertical line is doubled, to show a deformation
in different directions. The meaning second, derived
from , is chia-chieh. — Phonetic
series 411. It forms
O4 Wu4. The moral evil, defor-
mation of the heart (o4),
and the repulsion which it causes
(wu 4 ); to detest, to hate.
Note: in the modern writing, several characters contain a that has no
relation whatever with the ya4 of this Lesson; e.g. L 38 G, L. 75 A. Item,
the next primitive has nothing in common with

T'ou3 A wine vessel, prob ably wooden made;

Is f o u n d in

Cho2 To cut, to scoop out: The

scribes wr ite . which is a wrong form.
Tou4. To quar rel (L. 11 I ).


About the primitive yu4, jade; and incidently, about the analogous characters
2 3
wang and chu .
First series: yu4, often written
Yu4. The half-translucid minerals, milky or coloured,
as jade and others, of which the Chinese are so fond;
They ascribe to it different effects, and
make with it articles worn at the girdle. The character
represents three pieces of
jade threaded;
The addition of a dot is modern, and made in order
to distinguish yu4 from wang2. — It is the 95th radical of characters relating to
gems It is found in many compounds, e.g. lung4, neng1, to handle an
object made with jade , L. 4 7 F.
216 Etymological Lessons. 83.

doubled, forms thy next two:

Pan . Veined (L. 61 F), like certain nice
Pan . Division of charges, of offices. The middle is
(L. 52) in the sense of (L. 1 8 ) to divide.
The two are two jade sceptres, signs of dignities.
L. 55 H.
Ch'in . Harpsichord of soniferous stones, hanging
from a string. See Textes Historiques, p. 82 (one
stone). The ancient character represents two stones,
and the suspension string (a prim itive ). Compare L. 17 F —
The following cha-
racters are said to he derived from ch'in (radical contracted; the phonetic is at
4 4 2 1
the bottom): ch'in , she , p'i , pa , etc., different kinds of citharas
or harpsichords.

Second series: wang2.

Wang . A king; the man who connects
heaven, earth and man. See L 3 B, where this
c h a ra c t e r was fully explained. - Phonetic scries 87.
It forms
Huang . Originally, it meant the three most
renowned rulers of antiquity, Fu-hsi,
Shen-nung, Huang-ti; those who were
kings, in the beginning (a contraction of L.
It was used to designate the modern
Emperors, from the year 221 B.C See Textes Histori-
qttef, p. 209. The gives this definition: «light
of the Empire».
Compare with the definition of , below D.
— Phonetic series 452.
4 4
Yun . Lun . Intercalary moon, supplementary.
Two explanations of this character are given. — 1.
Formerly, in the plenary andience at the Court, when
the moon was intercalary, the Emperor sat at the door
, not iu his ordinary
place; — 2. Once , every three years, a
moon must be intercalated; is phonetic;
In that case, is not derived from , but directly
from L. 3, ar-
Etymological Lessons. 83 84. 91?

Third series: chu3.

Chu3. A lamp-stand w i t h the flame rising. By
extension, a man who spreads light, a lord, a master.
See L. 4 B, where this character was f u l l y explained.
— Phonetic series 115.
Note. Do n o t confound w i t h the derivatives of a n d of , those of L. 79
D; , , etc This is more easily said t h a n done.


About the primitive chi3, to be distinguished from i2, a n d from ssu4,

L. 85.
Chi3. The a n c i e n t character represented the threads
of the weft, on the weaving-loom. On the top, two
threads transversal, one thread longitudinal; at the
bottom, the thread in the shuttle. The character was
simplified later on.
was chosen, on ac-
count of its simplicity, to become a cyclical character (the sixth of the ten stems),
it was replaced by . It means also, chia-chieh, a person, one's self, 1, myself;
— It is the 49th radical. Phonetic series 14 Note the compounds:
Chi4 Used for the last; to sort threads. By
extension, arrangement, disposition,
set, succession.
Chi4. To tell the succession of facts, either by
speaking, or by writing.

Ch'i3. To rise; te put one's self in motion

Fei1. Women secured for one's own seif;

The secondary wives or
concubines of an emperor. Its original meaning, to
match, to suit, was given to the next.
P'ei4 The wine drunk at the wedding-feast
(contracted). See L. 47 V. To pair, to mate, marriage.
Chi4. The series of events or times that are kept
in memory ; death of great men, of parents;
, anniversary day of the death. By extension,
because on such days, music, spirits, meat, etc. were
avoided, the character meant, to shun, to abstain
from. — Phonetic series 256.
218 Etymological Lessons. 84. 85.

Note. The derivatives of chi3 are often scarcely distinguishable from those
of ssu4 a n d i 3 (L. 85), when these are wrongly shaped; as well as from
those of (for L 55), as in . K'ang-hsi wrongly classified this character
under chi3. On their side, the scribes commonly maltreated those series, as may he
seen by the characters given above.


About two primitives, ssu1 and i3, to be distinguished from chi3, L. 84.
K'ang-hsi gathered under the 49th radical , all those heterogeneous elements.

First series: ssu4.

Ssu4. The figure of an embryo, a foetus See pao1,
L. 54 B. — In the maternal womb, the child is or
; at birth, or L. 94 E, F; when swaddled,
L. 94 A; when it begins to walk, 29 B. — Ssu4
is used as a cyclical character. — Phonetic series 28.
Note the derivatives

Ssu4. Sacrifice
See L. 3 D

P. The ch i n; (L. 82 G), It forms

Hsi1. Bright, splendid, glorious.

Second series: i3.

I3. This very ancient character is supposed to
represent the exhalation of the breath, the virtue that
emanates from any object, its action, its use. By
extension, use till exhaustion, to terminate, to decline,
to have done with, to be no more, passed;
Compare L. 73 A, and L. 76 G.

Note: is uniform in the ancient writing. IN the

modern writing, it is written by the scribes In four
different ways, and that we shall
explain successively
Etymological Lessons. 85. 219

C 1. written , e.g.

I2. To extract from a thing all t h a t can be

extracted from it, then, to stop, to finish.

Kai3. To treat a person or a Ihing ( w i t h hand

and rod), so that amendment is produced; to
change, to alter, to reform, to correct.

D 2. written , e.g.
Ssu4. Plough-beam a n d h a n d l e ; the wood that
fertilizes the fields. It is unconnected with L.
86 B.

E 3. written in the following series. (Note that is

used as an abbre-
viation for three other primitives, L.L. 38 E, 38 H, 89 A; hence an easy confusion).

I2. The mouth exhaling a breath. By extension,

to speak in or der to make one's s elf k n o w n ; I, one's
self; It is used as an arbitrary
abbre viation of
t'ai2 (L. 75 B). — Phonetic series 127.

Yun3. To manifest one's consent, one's approbation.

A man who says yes. See L. 29 E. — Phonetic
series 99. Forms the phonetic complex
Tsun1. To walk dignity — Phonetic series with

Mou3. To low, to bellow. An ox that exhales its

See L. 132. — Phonetic series 231.

I3. A final particle denoting that one has finished

to speak; The dart (L. 131)
means that the action is ended, fixed, as when the
arrow has hit the mark. Compare L. 71 E. — Phonetic
series 880.
220 Etymological Lessons. 85. 86.
Neng2. Here represents the roaring of the angry
bear, that st ands up ready for a fight ( the fleshy
body, two claws). See L 27 J.— Phonetic series 554.

F 4. writteu. By, with, to use, by means of;

K'ang-hsi counts
five strokes for this character, that really has four only. — Phonetic series 65.
It forms

Ssu4. A man who has the same virtue as

another. By extension, equivalent,
like, similar, to resemble in general


About two primitives, t h a t really form o n l y one, because they differ o n l y by plus
or m i n u s strokes of the same k i n d ; fu4, and tui1.

First series: fu4, now

Fu4. Compare L. 59 A. Declivity with successive

rows superposed. The steps are placed u n d e r , so
that the compounds may not be too large. In the first
ancient form, the three small rounds represents forest
on the top. The scribes invented the modern a rbit rary
abbreviations By extension, big earthworks, embank-
ments, dams. — It Is the 170th radical and dis-
tinguished from the I63th radical (also contracted
into ), by the fact that is on t he left side in
the Series 170, while it is on the right side in the
Series 163 Note the two d eri vatives, yin1, the
shady side of a hill ( Nor th); and yang , the sunny
side of a h i l l (South). It is now used to mean the
dual powers, day and night, life and death, male and
frmale, etc.
Etymological Lessons. 86. 221
Second series: tui1.
Tui 1 . A lighter declivity; two steps only. By exten-
sion, ramparts, city, troops that keep it, a legion. The
lost its in some modern compounds; it is then
to be distinguished from i3 (L. 85 D). — Phonetic
series 245. Note the derivatives

Shuai4 To lead a legion; a general;

The (L. 35 A) is the guidon of the
commander. Compare the following

Shih1. It is — the first banner, that staid at

the capilal; the guards, whose commander was com-
rnander-in-chief, the one above the others. Hence, by
extension, capital, army, multitude, master, etc. —
The old forms are made of a primitive that means
waving, and tsa1 (L. 79 C) that means rol ling. A
waving and r ollin g mass; the people or the army. —
Phonetic series 561.

Chui1 Legion in march ; to pursue.

— Phonetic series 526

Nieh 4 . A plant that grows on a declivity.

Compare L. 59 F Notion of visibility, of notoriety.
It forms

Nieh4. Evil deed, sin; scandal; (L. 102 H),

This character not being easy to write, the scribes
replaced it by the derivative contracted ( properly
hsieh1, hsueh1). in the phonetic compound , son
of sin, child born in adultery. The
admitted the change.

Kui 1 The arrival of the bride in her husband's

family, to which she will belong as a wife
(contracted). See L. 44 K. The is a modern
phonetic redundancy.
222 Etymological Lessons. 86. 87.
Kuan1. Primitive meaning, the residence of a
mandarin who presides over a city, the hall of the
city, ( is the modern abbreviation) By
extension, the mandarin, the government. — Phonetic
series 370.


About the primitive kung1, and incidentally about the primitives fu4 and
ti . that resemble it in the modern writing.

First series: kung1.

Kung 1 . It represents a Chinese bow, with its handle
in the middle; The ancient
forms represent t h e bow be nt or vibrating. — It is
the 57th radical. We ha ve seen it already, in
L. 28 H, L. 60 D, etc. For , see L 90 L, L.
110 B. Note the following
Yin 3 . To d r aw thestrin g of the bow;
Chuan-chu, to attract, to
lead, to induce, to seduce. — Phonetic series 93.

Ch'iang2. Muscular strength. To have the strength

to bend a kind of bow, the resistance of which is
equal to the resistance of two ordinary bows. In the
military competitions, such exercises took place.

Note 1. The bows were kept by pairs, fixed upon a s t i f f piece of wood, in a
sheath. Hence it comes that, sometimes, in composition, two mean a pair, or
that which makes the pair, a second ; as in

Pi4. Auxiliary, minister. See L. 41 B.

Note 2. In the following, the scribes f a n c if u l l y wrote for

another thing.
Jao4. Feeble, fragile, slender. Wings of a young
bird. See L. 62 D.
Li1. A caldron (L. 155) steaming (the two side-
lines undulating represent the steam).
Chou1. Rice water or gruel; grain that boils in a
caldron. This last character is now contracted into

Etymological Lessons. 87.88. 223
C The bow is kept horizontally, in the following, as it is natural, to shoot
a bird that flies above th« bowman.

Tsun4. To shoot a bird on the wing;

— Phonetic series 714.

is a wrong form of tsun4.

is a wrong abbreviation of hsi1, L. 15 C.

Second series. fu4. Primitive.

Fu4. To act against an obstacle. Two divergent rods
which one seeks to tie together;
Opposition, prohibition, negation. —
Phonetic series 121

Third series. ti4. Primitive.

Ti4. A thread that is wound on a spool, having
a catch on the top, and a winch at the bottom.
Primitive instrument, reel and bobbin. Compare
L. 102 B. — Chuan-chu, succession of brothers, elder,
younger; succession; younger brothers;
— Phonetic series 304.

Note. tzu3 that Is like ti4, has nothing in common with it, nor with
See L. 79 G.


About the partial primitive , and incidentally about ,

First series. pai2.

Pai2. The sun (L. 143) that just appears. This
meaning is represented by a small point (primitive)
on the top of the sun. The dawn, when the Eastern
sky becomes white . Clear, white, bright, etc.
— It is the 106th radical.
Phonetic series 143.
224 Etymological Lessons. 88. 89.

We saw already in the compounds L. 29 C;

L. 18 L; L. 60 F, etc. Note the following:

Pai2. From cloth, and while. See mien2,

L 92 B. — Phonetic series 386.

Pai3. One hundred; ,

One hundred is the — unity of hundreds;
is phonetic. Other commentators, judging from an
ancie nt writing, consider as a contracted (L.
159); hut m ea ning the beginning, the interpretation
is the same. It is to be noted that all the great unities
of the Chinese numeration, hundred, thousand,
myriad, are designated by borrowed characters. See
24 D, 17 X. — Phonetic series 233. It is repeated in
shih4, abundance, wealth A man with
hundred u n d e r each a r m ;

Second series, yao4, lao4, a special p a rti a l p r i m i t i v e .

Yao4 It represents a wooden support on which
a drum and bells are hung. Therefore is
not pai2, a n d is not yao1
(L. 90). — The orches-
trion of old Yao4, music in general. When read lao4, it means the effect produced
by music, pleasure, joy. Phonetic series 815


About the primitive ssu1. See the Note, below B. Compare LL. 90, 91, 92.
Ssu1. A cocoon. It represents a silkworm that coils
Itself up, and shuts itself in its cocoon. By extension,
selfish, to care o n l y for one's self, separation, private,
particular; —
It is the conventional 28th radical. The following
compound replaced in the modern writing
Ssu1. Etymological meaning, my share of
grains. By extension, private, personal, partial, selfish;
— Note also
Etymological Lessons. 89. 90. 225
Ch'uan . To calculate (L. 47 G) one's own
advantage (at the others' expense). To embezzle, to
assume, to usurp.
B Note. The scribes used as an abbreviation for three
other primitives
(LL. 38 E, 38 H, and 85 E), which makes four in a ll; hence an easy confusion
between them. Further, the scribes still use arbitra rily for other intricate
characters, in which case is an abbreviation, and not a primitive. Note the

Lei3. To build a wall. L. 149 E.

Shen1. Orion. L. 62 G.

Gh'i2. A regular assemblage. L. 174.


About doubled , and its multiples; incidentally about

First series. yao1.

Yao1. The lightest thread, as it is obtained by the
simultaneous winding of two cocoons. By extension,
thread, slender, tender, — It is the 52th
radical. Note the compounds

Ma1, mo1. Vegetable fibre (L. 79 H). It is

now used, by convention, as an interrogative particle.

Yu4. Young, slender, who has very slender

tendons. Not to be confounded with huan4, false,
L. 95 B. — Phonetic series 171.

Hou4. To march (63 A), while stretching a

thread behind. The is a radical redundancy added
later on. By extension, to follow, behind, posterior,
226 Etymological Lessons. 90.

Luan4. An embroiled thread, that is disentangled

by two hands (L. 34 A) means separation;
Confusion, disorder. Note the
alteration of the modern character. It forms
Luan4. A synonym of the last; representing the
thread that is drawn , is a radical redundancy.
Ts'u2. To clear one's self from a sin (L. 102 H);
to excuse one's self;
Yin4. A line of posterity, heirs, generation Trans-
mission of the ( L. 65) ancestors' substance, that
is divided into branches. The continuous succes-
sion, in a family, of one generation after another;

Second series. doubled.

Yu1. It is the m e a n i n g of reinforced. Very
slender, almost invisible;
It forms
Yu 1 . The most shady recesses in the hills
(L. 80);

Chi1. A guard of soldiers on the frontiers (shu4,

L 25 D), who are attentive to the least movement,
to the smallest event. Hence the derived meanings,
to examine into, subtle, hidden, small, a few;
— Phonetic series 667.

are derived from contracted. See L. 92 F, G.

Third series. quadrupled. In

Chueh2. To cut short a thread, to interrupt, to
sunder, to break off, to cease. Four threads cut
short, divided by the two ;
This ancient character was
replaced, when the writing-brush was invented, by
chueh2, that is synonym; to cut a thread
in pieces. See L. 55 G. It forms
Etymological Lessons. 90. 227

Tuan4. To cut, to break off, to interrupt;

From an axe, and to cut, The ancient
character could not be traced with the writing-
brush; it was therefore written chi4 in the modern
writing, hence instead of which is graphically
wrong. Note the modern junction of the two

Chi 4 . It means the contrary of chueh2, because it

is chueh2 inverted. Later on, the was added, which
was quite useless. To connect as wi th threads; a l i n e
of succession;

Appendix. lu3, almost similar to in its ancient form.

Lu . The spinal vertebrae. A primitive character
that represents the body of two vertebrae, and the
disk that joins them; or rather, two spinal apophysises,
with the ligament between them.
By extension, tones in music, on account of their
succession. — Phonetic series 291. It forms

Kung1. To bend, to bow one's body , so that

the spinal apophysises stand out along the rachis.
Later on, replaced , the meaning remaining
the same; to bend one's body . By extension,
body, person. — It forms ch'iung2, to be at bay,
exhausted, driven into a corner ( cavern); misery;
limits, end.

Note. The in the following characters are probably primitives unconnected


Yung1. An old form of . Moats of a city

(two walls or buildings). L. 12 G.

Ying1. Encampment, a primitive settlement. In the

more ancient form, there are two (several) tents or
huts, In the modern form, there are huts with a fence,
and two fires, for the kitchen, or to frighten away
the wild beasts. By extension, to measure, to scheme,
to regulate. Compare 34 B, 126 F.
228 Etymological Lessons. 90. 91.

Kung1. A big building. Several rooms under the

same roof. This character is used to designate the
Imperial private residence, from the Ch'in2 Dynasty.
Now, in and , it is written and not


About two compounds of (L. 90), and' , that form important series.
First series. hsuan .
Hsuan2. To put (L. 15) the thread in the
dye; dyed thread; green colour (later on, the black
one, on account of certain Taoist theories). Under the
Ch'ing Dynasty, the of was suppressed,
because this was the personal name of the Emperor
K'ang-hsi. An ancient form was composed of
thread (L. 92), and of two points that mean the
dyeing; — It is the 96th radical.
serins 124. — In composition, means, either green,
or a siring (probably because the thread was dyed
by big hanks). Note the derivatives

Hsien2. The, string of a bow . Stringed instru-

ments in general. is altered, as stated above.

Ch'u4. Hsu4. The fields (L. 149) green,

covered with grass; meadows, pastur e-land s where the
cattle graze. Hence two meanings, a n d two sounds:
ch'u4 cattle; hsu4 to feed.
— Phonetic
series 525.

Ch'ien 1 . To h a ul along an ox by a rope ;

represents the traction or the resistance;
— Phonetic series 600.

Shuai 4 . It represents a net with a frame, such as

birds are snared with, and a rope by meaas of
which the trap is made to fall. By extension, to draw,
to lead, to follow; together (the birds taken); suddenly
(the falling of the net). — Phonetic series 646.
Etymological Lessons. 91. 229
Second series. ch'uan1.

Ch'uan1. Some commentators say that this character

is a contraction of and ; it seems unlikely, "lt
is an ox led by a ring passed through the nose», says
the Glose; why then is this ring marked at the
tail? More seemingly, the transversal piece fixed behind
the horns represents the yoke or the collar of the ox,
and the one trace passing under the animal is the
primitive harness; extremity curved to diminish the
length. By extension, to attach, to draw, traction,
resistance, to master. — It forms

Chuan1. A writing tablet that was worn attached

to the wrist; — Phonetic
series 605, that must be distinguished from the series
fu1 528.

Hui4. It has two meanings: to let one's self be

willingly attracted; kind, compliant: what wins
the hearts; benevolence. — Phonetic series 689.

Yuan2. A long robe with a trail, that hinders

and slakens the walk; length, hesitation. Here
lost its middle-part a n d is gone through by the cover
of . — Phonetic series 587. It forms
Huan2. Eyes (L. 158)
anxious, and gait hesitating;
fear, trouble, strait. The modern
form is contracted. — Phonetic
series 734. See L. 16 L.

T'i4. Traction interrupted by a resistance;

Compare L. 91
C. The modern character is a contraction. K'ang-hsi
wrongly classified it under . — It forms
T'i4. Sneezing. A victory won against the obstruction
of the nose (or of the mouth, a different
230 Etymological Lessons. 92.

About the partial primitive , and its derivatives. See again the whole series,
after ssu1, LL. 89, 90, 91, 92. The textile matters, chiefly the silk, interested
the Chinese from the remotest a n t i q u i ty ; hence the importance given to these
elements in their writing.
First series. mi4.
Mi4. A strong t h r e a d ; The bottom of
this character (a p ri mit i v e) represents the twisting of
several small threads i nt o a big one (L. 90 A). — It is
the 120th radical of characters relating to textile
matters or tissues.
We saw t h a t e l e m e n t in L. 40 A ; L. 55 G;
L. 17 E; L. 13 H; L. 79 G; L. 67 P; L.
39 0; L. 35 M; etc.
Hsi 1 . Drawing out of the thread. Primitively, a
hand drawing out threads . Later on, the action
of drawing out a t hread. By extension, thread, line,
succession, rel atio n, to tie again, to fasten;
compound is used instead now. N o t e the derived
f o l l o w i n g radicals
Mien2. Fibres raw (L. 88 A), raw floss. It is
contracted phouetic in mien2, cotton; and in
mien , the cotton plant. These are modern characters.
See phonetic series 386.
Sun1. A grandson, posterity. The connecting line
of the offspring;
— Phonetic series 569. It is phonetic
contracted in kun3, big fish.
Yu2. Succession, seq uel, causality, relation;
Winding of the effects
from a cause; moral threads.
Hsien4. Hsuan2. The chief-town of a district, hsien4,
where the executions take place, and where are hung,
upside down, the (L. 12 N) heads of the men
beheaded because they committed crimes. By
extension, hsuan2, to bi nd, to suspend, to be suspen-
ded. Now, the compound , to be in suspense
morally, is also used for the simple ia the sense, to
hang, to be suspended,
Etymological Lessons. 92. 231

Hsi1. Primitively, the guilty women condemned to

spinning and weaving in the official prisons,
It is explained thus: persons (L. 60), working
(L. 49) the thread (contracted). It seems rather that
is a corruption of the
bottom of , and that the primitive composition was , a spinster. This
punishment having ceased, this character's meaning was altered, and it became
an interrogative particle, what? how? why? — Phonetic series 533.

Second series. ssu1.

Ssu1. The silk-threads, that the silk-worms are
supposed to spit out;
By extension, according to the compound, thread,
link, intricacy, etc. Note the following derivatives
often contracted:
P'ei4. The two reins of a bridle passed in the
mouth of the animal that draws a car;

Luan4. Primitively, a hand busy in disentangling

three threads, the common main stem of which
is contracted into Intri-
cacy. This action of disentangling any intricate
matter, when d one in common, leads to impatience
and quarrelli ng, hence the character became later on
, increased with ; general meaning, disorder,
quarrelling, trouble, discord;
— Phonetic series 846.
Hsien3. Two silk threads exposed to the sunlight
, where they become visible;
By extension, to be visible, to appear, remar-
kable, evident, bright. Note the modern contraction
at the bottom of the character. — Phonetic series
778. It forms

Hsien3. A tuft that makes the head

conspicuous. It is
now used for , to appear. The latter is contracted in
Sbih1. A marsh, marshy, wet, humid;
water in which the earth appears; is
for ; the were suppressed, to give room
232 Etymological Lessons. 92. 93-

Tzu1. The velvety appearance made by the

herbs and grass on the surface of the earth; the
vegetation; Contrac-
tion of into Compare L. 91 B. This character
became obsolete in t hat sense, and is now used as a
demonstrative particle. — Phonetic series 579.

Kuan1. To weave. The two (contracted into )

represent the threads of the warp. The down strokes
(a primitive) represent the action of the shuttle, that
goes through and through, making the woof. Compare
L. 84 A. By extension, to join, to fix, transversal, etc.
It forms

Kuan1. The cross-bar of a gate, to shut u p ;

Lien2. To connect, to join, to link together.

About the primitive
Yun 2 . Clouds. The a n c i e n t form, t hat represents
vapours c url i ng a nd rising, is a primitive. The more
recent f o r m is composed of ( , L. 2 G ) the skies,
a n d of t h e same pr i m i t i v e . — P ho netic series 99.
Now the m e a n i n g clouds is give n to the following,
while means chia-chieh, to speak, to enumerate,

Yun2. Clouds;
the humid and warm vapours have reached the colder
regions, they are condensed there. Not a bad expla-
nation of the production of clouds.

Yin1. Cloudy weather;

Actually , there are clouds. See L.
14 P .

Clouds rolling over the fields; an ancient form of

storm, L. 149 F. Compare the old form of L.
73 A, L. 76 G, L. 85 B, etc.
Etymological Lessons. 94. 233

About the important primitive straight, inverted.

First scries. tzu straight.
Tzu3. A new-born child, swathed u p ; it is the reason
why the legs are not visible, says the Glose;
In an ancient form, the
child has hair; By extension,
disciple; then, a sage, a teacher, because the ancient
Emperors, in order to honour them, call them
sons. — It is the 39th
radical of characters mostly relating to children.
Phonetic series 33. We saw already in L. 92 B;
L. 30 E; L. 39 H; L. 39 I; L. 79 G; etc.
Add the follo wing:
Tzu4. To bear and nurse; to have children in
one's house ; By extension, the compound
characters (by opposition to the simple figures),
begotten by the process of composition and
(see p. 10). The made by t h e ir authors gave
birth to the says the Glose.
K'ung3. The swallow (L. 9 B) which in China
rears its broods in the fissures a n d holes of the
Chinese mud houses; By exten-
sion, a hole, an orifice, an opening. Compare
L. 94 B.
Fu2. A man who swims . There is , a n d not
or , because the legs of the swimmer are
concealed by the water, as those of the child are
concealed by its long clothes. It is now written ,
which is a nonsensical compound;
Forms yu2, to float, 117 B.
Note its dissociation into and , on the both sides
of .
Li3. A prune, a plum-tree; the tree, the
children are fond of;
Chi4. Infant; The
most (contracted) delicate among the children ,
the youngest, the last. By extension, the last month
of each quarter of the year, that ends the season;
hence the derived meaning, season.
234 Etymological Lessons. 94.

Pao3. A bird which spreads its wings to cover its

nest ; to hatch, to protect It is now written ,
that is to be distinguished from tai1, a modern
invention of the scribes. It forms
Pao3. To protect, to feed, to
keep safe, a man; —
Phonetic series 471.

Fu2. A hen-bird covering with her legs her

little ones; to hatch. — Phonetic
series 270. It forms
Ju3. The swallow (L. 9 B)
sitting on its nest. See L.
94 A. Now, in general, what is
required to rear the offspring of men, or the little
ones of animals: to feed, to suckle, etc.

This is another character, containing the elements of

fu2 and of pao3. The hen-bird covers her nest ,
with her legs, a n d her wings. It forms the
next two:

Pao3. Another way of writing

Pao1. A phonetic compound. Long robes such as

the Emperors give; favour, distinction. The scribes
altered this character in many fanciful ways,
, etc.

Luan2. To bear twins. Formerly, there were two

; then the scribes wrote but one; (L. 92 D)
represents the encumbering, the difficulty in the
bearing and rearing of twins.

Ch'uan1. Many sons. It forms

Ch'uan1. A numerous family filling the house;

By extension,
poverty, misery. See L. 32 G.
Etymological Lessons. 94. 235

Second series. t'u2, which is inverted.

T'u . Birth of a child , the head forward, in the
most favourable conditions; hence the extended
meaning , a thing that goes on
natural, regular, easy, fluent. The hairy form (compare
, above A), makes a special group (below F). Note
the derivatives
Ch'ung1. To feed, to rear a child, from its birth
till when it stands, and becomes a man.
extension, to fu lfil, to satiate, to carry out, perfect,
etc. See L 29 F. — Phonetic series 189.
Yu4. To satisfy, to feed a child (or an animal), so
that it becomes fleshy (L. 65), strong, fat. The
physical breeding. It forms
Che4 Education, both phy-
sical and moral. We know
that the rod is the instrument
used for the latter. Compare
L. 39 H. — Phonetic series 665.

T'u2. A synonym of , with the hair added;

— Phonetic series 312. Note the following
radical compounds:
Liu2. The flowing (natural and easy) of water.
There were primitively two , one on each side; the
scribes left out one of- them ;
Shu1. Birth of a child , the feet (L. 112 C)
coming forwards. See (L. 94 E). By extension,
unnatural, uneasy; anomaly, difference, distance, etc.
Yu4. Rise and growing of plants ( L. 67 P);

Hsi1. Sour, vinegar. Wine in a vase, in which

appear animalculse , the sign that the wine
turns into vinegar.
Ch'i4. To push aside, to cast away, to abandon. An.
ancient form represents two hands repulsing a new-
born. A more recent form represents two hands, armed
with a fork or a shovel, that throw away a new-born.
An allusion to the Chinese infanticide. This character
was used to name
Hou-chi, who was cast away
by his mother Chiang-yuan. See the Shih-Ching, Legge's edition, p. 465.
236 Etymological Lessons. 94. 95.
Third series. altered.
Chieh2. One-armed person;
Here it is the right arm that is taken off. The
symmetrical character in which the left arm was
taken away, existed formerly; it is now obsolete.
Liao3. A child without arms, mutilated;
This character, being very easy to write,
and of no use, had its
primitive meaning changed
into different arbitrary ones. It is now used specially to write the suffix liao3, so
frequent in the spoken language. Note the philological definition of the part it
plays in that case; ; emission of a sound, in order to
knot, to end a sentence.


About two primitives and , joined here together on account of their

resemblance in the modern writing.
First series. yu3.
Yu2. To pass from h a n d to hand, to hand down, t.o
give, communication, connexion;
The character represents the pa l m of two hands, one
of them giving, and the other re ceiving. The modern
form is not a credit to t he scribes. Compare
L, 54 H. Chia-chieh, I, we, myself. Phonetic series
96. It forms

Chu1. The shuttle of the weaver; the wood that

passes from one hand to the other. The second
form is to be distinguished from jou3, below C.
Shu1. To give out one's goods to the others
(L. 14 C). By extension, to unroll, to expand, at ease.

Yu1. An elephant that passes backwards

and forwards, that frolics. Derived meanings, indeci-
sion, uncertainty; to frolic; in advance, to prepare.
Hsu4. The East and West halls of the Chinese
houses, in which traditional instruction was given,
and where the transactions took place. These halls
were connected with the principal buildings; hence
the derived meaning, a series, order, preface to a book
in which the subjects are stated in order, etc.
Etymological Lessons. 95. 237
Yeh3. In the primitive fiefs established in wild
regions, yeh3 was the intermediate zone between the
cleared centre, and the forest all around; the
zone where cultivation of the soil began. It was in
that zone, that the communications took place
with the barbarians. Later on, when the clearing of
forests was finished, the character became settle-
ments (L. 149 D), where the exchanges are made.
Actual meaning, the country, rustic, wild. Compare
L. 47 Z.

Huan4. Fraud, deceiving, false. It is inverted.

To give things differing from those expected, or to give
an empty hand, to deceive, to frustrate. The
frustration of the beggar's hopes is graphically
represented by inverted.
The modern abbreviation is absurd. Not to be
confounded with yu4, L. 90 A.

Second series. mao2.

Mao2. A kind of halberd, with a very long staff,
such as were used on chariots, to hook fighting men.
Compare L. 71 F. Chuan-chu, arms, wea-
pons sharp or cutting, a long and slender pole. — It is
the 110th radical. It forms

Ching 1 . The handle of a spear;

By extension, to pity, to spare. It represents
probably the warrior who surrenders, by offering the
handle of his spear.

Yu4. To pierce with a sharp instrument

(L. 15 C). — Phonetic series 720.

Jou2. A slender stem, flexible, elastic, pliant;

— Phonetic series 455.

Mao4. Trees shooting forth branches, many

shoots, luxuriant, to strive. Forms mao4, moral
effort, to exert one's self, merit, glory.
238 Etymological Lessons. 95. 96.
Wu . To display one's skill in wielding arms.
Now , a radical redundancy, to exert ones
strength, one's talents, to strife after. — Phonetic
series 491.


About the primitive ts'ai2.

Ts'ai2. This character represents the stem of a
p l a n t forcing its way above t h e ground. (Compare ,
L. 79 A, B, F, etc). represents the stem;
on the lop, represents its branches; at the bottom,
— represents the g r o u n d ;

By extension, strength of e x p a n s i o n ,
natural activity, mental capacity, power, talents,
endowments or gifts; the substance of a thing.-—
Phonetic series 30. It forms
Ts'ai2. Materials of which things are made
From wood and talent, the wood being the
first material worked by m en.
Ts'ai2. Property, precious things, wealth; the
cowries acquired by a man.

Ch'ai2. The wolf, au a n i m a l ( or ) very clever

, say the Chinese.
Ts'ai2. Skilfulness in wielding weapons (L.
71 F); to wound with weapons, to injure; ts'ai2 is also
a phonetic. — Phonetic series 241.
Pi4. To shut a door;
Here represents a system of bars to shut the
door. Compare L. 1 H.
Tsai . To exert one's activity on the earth;
presence in a place, manifested by one's activity.
By extension, to be in or at, to be present, to live, to
act; — The following is derived
from , the being substituted for
Ts'un2. To continue to be , present by one's
offspring. By extension, to maintain, to preserve, to
Etymological Lessons. 97. 239
About the primitives feng1 and chieh4. Not to be confounded with
(L. 48), nor with (L. 100).
First series. feng1.
Feng1. Some philologists say that this character is
(L. 79 F), that strikes down its tap root;
The study of the compounds makes
this opinion improbable. is a primitive, represen-
ting a leafy bough. By extension, bush, brushwood,
hedge. It forms
Feng4 At the bottom a band, offering a
branch (a symbol for a ny object), while two hands
salute respectfully. Now the top part is strangely
alte red. To offer, to receive. See L. 47 L. — Phonetic
series 354.
Feng1. To walk in the brushwoods. By
extension, to meet oppositio n; to meet;
— Phonetic series 269. Now

Feng1. A s y n o n y m of the. last;

is a radical redundancy. To
meet with one, to come across,
etc. — Phonetic series 608.

Pang1. A fief, a country; the central city;

represents probably the bushy outskirts. — The scribes
often write this character

Sub-series. doubled. The ancient form has different

Feng1. Boughs, shoots, vitality,
abundance. It forms

Hui4. A broom. A band that holds a

bundle of
branches. See the explanation, and the derivative
L. 44 J. — Phonetic series 617.
Li . A vessel used in sacrificing;
(vessel, L. 165),
The top has nothing In common with (L. 5i B); it
is a cup (L. 38 E), in which is pricked a bunch of
green branches for decoration; symbol of plenty. —
Phonetic series 744.
240 Etymological Lessons. 97.

Feng1. Prosperity, plenty. It seems that the ancient

character represents the Chinese threshing-floor, at
the harvest-time, as it still appears in our days. On
the ground — levelled, grains are heaped together,
and all around the corn-sheaves are ranged... In
the modern character, at the bottom, (L. 165)
represents a cup; on the top, represents boughs,
a symbol of plenty. The cup became . Idea of
greatness, of multitude; mou nta ins of grain, say the
philologists; It seems rather that
is a graphical difference of . — Phonetic series
839. It forms
Yea4. Prosperity, abundance. Radical redundancy,
for is a s y n o n y m of . See L. 38 G.
Yen4. The colour, t he appearance, the looking
of prosperity. Gracious, handsome. See L.28 D.

Second series. chieh4

Chieh 4 . The first m n e m o n i c way invented after the
knotted strings; the first writing, or rather the first
engraving. Notches c u t in a bamboo lath. By
extension, deed, document, record, proof;

It forms
Ch'i . To c u t a notch w i t h a knife, in a lath that
w i l l be used as a record, a d o c u m e n t , or a proof;
— Phonetic
series 181. It forms
Ch'i4. The title deeds of a
A covenant, an agreement, a bond,
a contract, — Phonetic series 426.

Hsieh2. To measure before

making a contract; land-
Hai4 To injure, to hurt, to damage; to speak,
to write, under a shelter, by stealth, against some-
body ; — Phonetic
series 529.
Etymological Lessons. 97. 98 241

Hsien4. To apply, in one's study, one's heart

and one's ten eyes, to the study of documents.
By extension, to draw up laws, a constitution, rules,

Lei3. A harrow. A piece of wood with dents,

says the Glose; The modern
form has one dent less. — It is the 127th radical of
characters pertaining to tillage.

Hai4. To be entangled in litigations. Compare

leng1, above A.

Ching1. It has nothing in common, either with

( L . 75 K), or with (L. 73 D). Two brothers
(L. 29 D) holding each one their sharing contract ;
mutual respect of rights; deference, good understan-
ding; The modern form is


About two primitives, and , that are not connected together.

First series. ch'i4

Ch'i4. Curling vapours rising from the ground and
forming clouds above; Compare
the ancient form of clouds. (L. 93 A). The scribes
often contract this character into , that is now
used (chia-chieh for ) in order to mean, to beg. —
It is the 84th radical. Phonetic series 15. It forms

Ch'i4. Vapour ascending from boiling rice.

This character was practically substituted to the last.
It plays an important part in Chinese philosophy. —
Phonetic series 515.
242 Etymological Lessons. 98. 99.
Second series: tou .
Tou3. A measure of ten ladles or pints; a
peck; The ancient
forms represent a ladle and ten. The modern
forms are mutilated. — The scribes sometimes write
for , e.g. for ; it is a licence. — It forms
the 68th radical. Phonetic series 84. It forms
Liao4. To measure grain with a peck ;
Chuan-chu, grain, substance, to calculate.
K'o1. To measure corn with a peck;
By extension, a class, a rank; gradation, exa mination;
Each degree received a fixed quantity of grain.
Chia3. A h a n a p of the size of a peck, in order to
drink together.

Sheng1. A measure ot ton handfuls, a pint.

The modern forms are arbitrary contractions. Chia-
chieh and mean, to rise in office.
above. — Phonetic, series 81.


About the partial primitive , both straight and inverted.

First series. straight, ch'ien4.

Ch'ien4. To breathe. A man (L. 29) who breathes
. This latter element, a synonym of (L. 98 A),
says the Glose, somewhat differs graphically from it,
therefore is a special partial primitive;
By extension, to get
out of breath, to be exhausted, to owe money, defi-
ciency. — It is the 76th radical. Phonetic series 44.
It forms
Ch'ui1. To blow, to puff, to scold;

Ts'u4. Idea of succession represented by

two successive breathes, inspiration a n d expira-
tion; — Phonetic series 244.
Etymological Lessons. 99. 243
Hsieu . The saliva that flows in the mouth,
when something good to eat is smelt. ;
To desire, to covet.
It forms

Hsien4. To covet; an overplus, an excess;

The is supposed to be contracted.
Tao4 A robber, to plunder; Those who
covet the goods of their neighbour;

K'uan3. Primitively, to blow against a malignant

influence , as the pagans still do, in order to
preserve from it either on'es self or others. By
extension, affection, care, etc. The scribes found out
many ways of writing this character. The third of
them is now classic, the last is unauthorised. Not to
be confounded with i2, L. 131 G.

Second series. inverted, chi4.

Chi4. To breathe into, to swallow. It is the reverse

of , composed also of and of , but inverted;
The second ancient form is a mere
abbreviation, not to be confounded with tsan1 (L. 26
D). — It is the 71th radical. See chi4 (L. 26 M) It

Ai 4 . To swallow down in one's heart, to love,

to be fond of, kindness, favour. Now this character,
joined with , made , that has chia-chieh the same
meaning as the radical had before. Primitively it
meant, gracious gait; — Phonetic series 721.
244 Etymological Lessons. 100.
About the primitive mao2, both straight and inverted. Not to be. confounded
with (L 48)

First series. straight.

Mao2. Hair, fur, plumage; By
extension, feathers. It is the 82th radical of characters
relating to hair and feathers. Phonetic series 70. It
Lao3. Old, to grow old, seventy years old. A man
whose hair transforms it.self, changes to
while. See L. 30 E. Note the contraction of the modern
character. — It is the 125th radical of a few characters
mostly relating to age.
Piao3. The o u t e r surface of garments. The first
garments were skins worn with the hair outside.
See L. 16 K. The modern form is contracted- — Phonetic
series 389.
Ts'ui 4 . from thrice repeated, to denote its
fineness. H a i r t h i c k a n d soft, line f u r s ;
— P h o n e t i c series 712.

Second series. inverted , in

I3. Wei3. The t ail of animals. From body and
t he h a i r at the lower part. In the modern recent
form, the, scribes wrote instead of . See L. 32 D.
It is often compressed , or contracted, reduced to
or to , in the compounds. It forms

Sui1. Niao4. Urine. From tail and water. See L.

32 E. The modern form is contracted.
Ch'u1. Oppression, vexation, curved. Composed of
and , L. 78 E. The modern form is contracted.
— P honetic series 348.
Hsi1. The Thibetan yak. os with a long hairy
tail. The tail of t h e y a k was nsed in old China to
make military standards. — Phonetic series 679.
Tai4. To hold by the tail (contracted into
, and altered in the modern form). See L. 44 E. —
It is the 171th radical. It forms (contracted into )
Etymological Lessons. 100. 101. 245
Tai4. To wink, to catch with the eyes, says
the Glose. This explanation seems im probable. The
character is composed of eye and of eyelashes.
The covering of the eye-ball by the eyelashes, could
not be represented in the elementary design. It forms

Huai2. To hide in one.'s

clothes, to carry in one's bosom.
L. 16 J. — Phonetic series 820.

Ch'iu2. It is explained like tai4, to hold by

the tail (contracted); to ask, to implore. See L. 45
K. It was a ltered in the modern writing, and wrongly
classified by K'ang-hsi under {L 125). — Phonetic
series 263. Compare lu4, L. 68 F.

About two primitives and
First series. wu4.
Wu4. Three pennons attached to a stick; a flag;
By extension, 1. Jerky motions, as that of
pennons agitated by the wind (L. 52 F); 1. A decree,
a prohibitio n, a defence, an order made to soldiers
with a flag; 3. Objects laciniated or foliated; sudden
rays. K'ang-hsi wrongly classified this primitive under
. — Phonetic series 90. It forms

Hu3. Jerking of the heart , emotion, surprise;

Wen3, To cut the throat; a knife, and the

blood that gushes out from the severed arteries of
the neck.
Wen3. The lips: strips (of flesh) that close the
H'u1. A small book made from strips of bamboo.
Wu4. A thing, a being, an article. An ox ; is a
mere phonetic. The oxen were the most valued things
in ancient times.
246 Etymological Lessons. 101. 102
Yang2. The sun above the horizon, shooting
its rays; light, solar action, etc. — Phonetic series
492. Note the following phonetic complexes that
form series.

T'ang1. Water, infusion, hot decoction;

— Phonetic series 707.

Shang1. To wound with an arrow;

(L. 131), In the compounds, is
to placed on the top of ; the radical is placed
on the, left side, instead of , e g etc. —
Phonetic series 643.

Second series. i4.

I4. It represents a lizard, probably the chameleon.
A primitive. On the top, the head; at the bottom, the
light feet of the reptile; By extension, alert,
easy, to change, to transform. — P honetic series 365.


About the primitive kan1, a n d I he i m p o r t a nt series derived from it. An

appendix will treat about the p r i m i t i v e tsao2.
First series. kan1,
Kan 1 . It represents a pestle. Compare L. 130. By
extension, to grind, to destroy; morally, to oppose,
to offend against; blunt arms, offence, injury, etc. —
It is th e 51th radical of a few unassorted characters.
Phonetic series 22. It forms

Ch'a2. The pestle in the mortar (L. 139).

To pound, to pierce, to drive into or stick in. —
Phonetic series 421.

Han4. The torrid and destroying effect of the

sun ; drought, dryness.
Etymological Lessons. 102. 247
Keng . To bark the rice by pounding it in a mortar.
This was the main daily domestic work among the
ancients. Compare L. 47 N.
K'ang1. To decorticate rice. Chuan-chu: 1.
The chaff detached from the pounded grain, now :
2. The repose that follows this hard work. — Phonetic
series 6S3. It has nothing in common with L.
44 E.
Jung1. Ordinary, common, as
the decortication of rice,
for every-day use. — Phonetic
series 621.
T'ang2. The words that
accompany the pounding of
rice; idle gossip, noisy wrangle. —
Phonetic series 572.

She2. The tongue stretched out of the mouth

Here represents the tongue, and is a partial special
prim itiv e, that is not derived from kan1, L. 102 A.
Compare, L. 55 K, han2, the tongue drawn back into
the mouth. Compare the ancient forms given here t.
The, tongue held out of the mouth she; 2, The tongue
retir ing i n t o the mouth; 3. The tongue enclosed in
the month han2. — It is the 135th radical. Note the
compound t'ien2 (L. 73 B); what is sweet to
the tongue; sweet.
Note: she2 does not form a phonetic series.
The one that is sometimes attributed to it (Cf. Gallery,
N° 262), belongs to the character kuo2 (L 114 C),
contracted by the scribes into , and often into
To add to the confusion, t'ien2 forms phonetic
complexes in which it is contracted into These
compounds may be found in the series 227, derived
from kuo2; they may be recognised by their sound
ien. Examples:

Tien2, from contracted. Huo2, from

248 Etymological Lessons. 102.
Second series. I4, ni4.

I4. This character, says the Glose, is doubled

(though incompletely) to mean th at the attack was
repeated, because it met with resistance. Hence the
derived meanings, to attack., to resist, opposition,
obstacle. Now It forms

Ch'ih4. To attack a man in his house; to

expel, to turn out of the house, to scold, to strike or
cuff. Note the modern abbreviation, the only one used
now. — Phonetic series 112.

O4 To resist to somebody, to check him openly

with cries and scoldings. The scribes changed
into (L. 58 E), and this strange alteration was
commonly admitted. See L. 72 F. — Phonetic
series 470.

Shuo4. The new moon; when the moon being

opposite to the sun, refuses to receive its light ;
— Phonetic series 564.

Chueh1. To have hiccup, suffocation, asthma, cough;

an obstacle that impedes breathing (L. 99). It

Ch'ueh2. A steep acclivity (L. 59), the ascension

of which puts out of breath. This character lost
that meaning, and is now used as a demonstrative
pronoun; _ Phonetic series 673.

Hsing4. Fortunate, lucky. A man (L. 61 B,

written ), who gets, over opposition, who
triumphs over resistance;
— Phonetic series 361. Not to be con-
founded with nieh4, below G.
Etymological Lessons. 102. 249
Third series. ch'ien2.

Ch'ien2. To offend (L. 102 A) a superior or

(L. 2 G); offence, fault, crime;
In the modern writing, on the top of different
compounds is reduced to , that must be distin-
guished from li4, L. 60 H. By extension, to attack,
to face, etc. It forms

Ch'ieh4. A guilty woman , or a culprit's

daughter enslaved according to the ancient custom;
See L. 67 E.
Now it means, a concubine, an accessory wife. —
Phonetic series 331.

T'ung2. The counterpart of the last. A boy, a lad

tinder 15 years, who became a slave for a great
crime committed by his parents. — Phonetic series

I4 An angry boar that assumes the offensive ;

bravery. See
L. 69 H. — See also L. 73 C, and L. 15 G.

Fourth series jen3.

Jen3. This character is composed nearly as (L.

102 D). It is (L. 102 A) increased by one stroke.
The idea is that of an offence repeated or aggravated,
Derived meanings, relapse, recidivation,
obduracy. See nan2, L. 79 G. It forms the two
important sub-series nieh4 and hsin1 (below).

Sub-series. nieh4.
Nieh4. A man (L. 60) who committed a
crime; a criminal;
Not to be confounded w ith hsing4 (L. 102 D); both
are now written in the same way. Not to be. confounded
with t'a4 (L. 60 C). Note the derivatives
250 Etymological Lessons. 102.

Chih2. To apprehend (L. 11 E) a criminal;

By extension,
to seize, to maintain, etc. — Phonetic series 601.

Pao4. To repress (L. 55 C) evil-doers;

By extension, to
denounce them, to state, to inform; hence the modern
meanings, a report, an announcement, a gazette.

I4. To keep a watchful eye (L. 158), over the

criminals; vigilance;
— Phonetic series 738.

Yu3. A prison. The inclosure where criminals

are confined;

Chou1. To flog (L. 43 D) a criminal till he is

bleeding (L. 157). The scribes substituted to
, and suppressed the of ; then K'ang-hsi clas-
sified this character under

Chu2. To convict a criminal , in the Chinese way,

by d i n t of rattan strokes (L. 77 B), and of cries
(L. 54 E).

Sub-series hsin1.
Hsin1. Composed of and (ancient form or
L. 2 G); to offend one's superior; and
the consequence of it, chastisement, pain, bitterness;
The ends of the
first horizontal lines are generally turned up, the
scribes deeming is to be more gracious iu that way. —
It is the 160th radical. It forms
Tsai3. A criminal at the tribunal, judged and
By extension, to govern, to judge, to
order the legal tortures, to slaughter. — Phonetic
series 574. — Tsai3 contracted in to is phonetic
in tzu , Roltlera japonica, a hard wood, instru-
ments for torturing were made of.
Etymological Lessons. 102. 251

Pi4. The man who slates authoritatively

about the criminals (L. 55 B ;
law, chastisement, etc. The scribes changed into
— Phonetic series 752.
Chen4. The Chinese hazel, wood for the
criminals, because the rods were made of it. It is
phonetic in
Ch'in1. Those who are seen habitually; one's
self, one's kindred; by e xten sion, to love, to embrace;
It lost one stroke in the
junction. — Phonetic series 818.
Hsin 1 . To cut (L. 126) s mal l branches ( o f the
hazel); shoots of the year; henc e the meaning, recent,
new. Now fuel, wood cut for the fire, brush-wood.
N i e h 4 . Offence, sin For the phonetic, see L. 86 B.
The meaning is probably an offence visible,
evident, public.

Ts'u2. To rid of an accusation, to clear one's

self, to excuse one's self. See L. 90 B.

Hsi1. A contraction of hsi1, yak, L 100 B, now

commonly used, e.g. in chih 4 , etc.

Tsui 4 . To commit a crime ( L. 159);

It appears that some malicious literati substituted
thi s character to the of t h e i r enemy, t h e First
Emperor Ch'in-
shih-huang This Emperor
not over flattered to be called the «first si n n e r ", o rdered by an I m p e r i a l decree
that in future sin should be written , the a n c i e n t character becoming
taboe; This p r i m i t i v e l y meant a net
(L. 39 C); (L 170) being phoneti c.

Pien4. Two criminals impeaching each other;

It forms interes-
ting compounds in which the radical is inserted
between the two etc. — Phonetic
series 786.
252 Etymological Lessons. 102.

Appendix. The primitive tsao2.

Tsao2. This character is unconnected with the
preceding ones, , etc. !t is a primitive representing
t he successive division and sub-division of a tree's
branches, the boughs, the twigs; Hence, arborisa-
tion, emanation, multitude, faggot, collection. It forms

Ych4. A tr ee crowned w i t h its foliage. The

moral foliage, the deeds of a m a n, the affairs upon
which he exerts his activity, a nd what the acquires by
his doings, viz. merits, goods, titles, etc.

P'u2. To g'ather with one's hands twigs , in

order to make with t h e m a faggot. — Phonetic series
700. The compound forms an unimportant

Ts'ung1. To gather bushes . A bushy place,

crowded; a collection, to collect. See L. 146 F.

Tui4 To confront, to compare, and, by extension, to

correspond to; To
apply a measure to the luxuriant vegetation of
the mouths, viz. to the t esti monies of men, to see
whether t hey agree or not. Compare the composition
of (L 73 C). To recall to his officials that one
must no t rely on every mouth's testimony, but
o nl y on the testimony of the sages, which alone
deserves to be examined, the Emperor Wen-
ti of the first Han4 changed by decree. into ,
thus making the modern character, which was contra-
cted by the scribes.

Chih3. Delicate leaves , embroidered upon

linen , is contracted ;
See L, 35 G. — It is the 204th radical.

Tsao2. To chisel, by delicate cuts, with a chisel,

in metal, so that designes of leaves and branches
be reproduced. C his elling in general. Compare (L.
81 A) to pound grain, to grind.
Etymological Lessons. 103. 253

About the primitive yang2.

First series. and its multiples.
Yang2. A sheep seen from behind; the horns, the
head, the feet and the tail of a sheep. The tail is often
curtailed, to make room for a phonetic;
Idea of sweetness, of peace, of har-
mony. — It is the 123th radical. Phonetic series 248.
It forms

Ch'iang1. From men a n d sheep. Nomadic

shepherds living in the Western steppes; the Thibetans.

Mei3. A man resembling to the lamb, sweet,

gentle, good;

Kao1. A lamb that begins to walk. The feet

being already represented in , th ere is a radical
redundancy. By extension, the little ones of different

Chiang 1 . The clan (see L. 79 F) of the

Emperor Shen-nung; is phonetic.

Yang3 To nourish (L. 26 M ) ; is phonetic. —

Phonetic series 814.

Yang4. The unceasing flow of water. See L, 125

D; is phonetic. By extension, uniformity, model,
tediousness. — Phouetic series 659.

Hsien1. Composed of fish and sheep, the

two kinds of flesh that were eaten fresh by the
ancients, while they cured the other meats. By
extension, fresh (neither salted, nor dried, nor
smoked). — Phonetic series 832.
254 Etymological Lessons. 103.

Keng1. A thick broth, soup. Composed of and

, a modern abbreviation invented by the scribes.
Prim itively, a lamb stewed on a caldron; on
both sides, the vapour that rises. See li1, L. 87 B. —
See again L. 60 0; L. 44 B; and L. 71
Q; L. 73 D. — See also L. 16 C, that is
unconnected with

Shan1. Three sheep, a flock of sheep. By exten-

sion, the rank odour of sheep or goats. It forms the

Ch'an3. A sheep-fold;
(L. 32 G) By extension, crowd, press.

Second series. kuai1.

Kuai1. Horns of the ram. It is without the feet;
It figures in different compounds,
as a symbol; see L. 35 M, 54 G. The modern scribes
often change it into

Kuai1. Ramified (twice L. 18, d i v i s i o n ) ram's

horns ; odd, singular;
The modern character is a bsurd. It forms the two
phonetic compounds

Huan1. A big owl, th e Grand-duke, with

feather-horns, egrets;
Forms the three following characters

Chiu4. A sort of owl, (L. 139) is phonetic.

It now means, chia-chieh, old, worn out, formerly.

Huai2. Huo1. To seize ( a n owl) with the

hand. — Phonetic series 782.

Kuan4. The heron, a screeming bird with

an egret . — Phonetic series 841.
Etymological Lessons. 103. 104. 255

Kui2. A demon that wanders through the mountains.

It is said to have horns. This is a false interpreta-
tion resulting from the ill-formed modern character.
See the ancient form: a face of demon, two arms, a
belly, a tail, and two feet (L. 27 I, note 1).

Chi4 and Man2. See L. 35 M, L. 54 G.

Ya1. A fork, crooked. Now, appellative of girls, ya-

t'ou, on account of their two tufts of hair. — Some
interpreters consider as an abbreviation of the
ancient character a tree whose branches are
forked. It is the reason why it is given here.


About the primitive pan1.

Pan1. A sort of fork, or shovel, which it represents;
It was altered in
different ways by the modern scribes. It forms

Tan1. To assault a man with cries and a

fork. See L. 72 E. — Phonetic series 705.

Ch'i4. To repulse, to expulse. Two hands with

a shovel, casting a child away. See L. 94 G.
Note the modern alteration.

Feu4. The modern character is totally distorted. The

top is not , but (L. 123) Ordure, filth. Two
hands removing with a shovel the dung of
256 Etymological Lessons. 104. 105.
Pi2. This character represents two ancient instru-
ments: 1. A shovel u p o n which was ottered the meat
at the e n d of the sacrifice, hence the derived
meaning, to end, which is still used in o u r days; 2. A
racket with a net,
resembling the butterflies net, to catch small animals. This character has those
two meanings in very ancient texts. — Phonetic series 640.
Kou4.Some consider this characteras being composed
of two . one being straight, the other inverted,
while the stroke at the bottom was suppressed for
simplification's sake. This explanation seems to be far
fetched. Kou4 is a primitive,
whose straight and crossed lines represent g r aphi cally the timbers in the frame-
work of a house, as they interlock a n d cross each other; hence the idea of a
net-work, an ordering, a combination. This notion is hinted in the compounds,
, etc. — Phonetic series 546.


About the primitive ko .

Ko2. The raw skin of a flayed sheep, as it is stretched
out. To skin. The fork in the middle is or a
sheep, contracted (L 103); the two horizon tal l ines
mean that the skin is stretched out, two hands or
scrapers working it. The second ancient character
is alrea dy contracted;
By extension, to skin an officer, to degrade
h i m from office wit h a line or a confiscation. — It is
the 177th radical. It forms

Pa4. Leather drenched by the rain, that

stretches out when it is drawn. It forms

Pa4. Lengthening of the moon , in the first

fortnight of the month; growing, prosperity. This
character was used to designate the feudal princes iu
ancient times; doable idea of growing in glory, and of
glory borrowed by them
from the Emperor, as the moon borrows its light from the sun. — Phonetic series
Chi1. Trammels. Leather to t r a m m e l a horse
. In the primitive form, the leather was not
represented; represented the trammel p u t to the
feet of the horse, and the peg to tie it up. The leather
was added later on. Then was suppressed.
Etymological Lessons. 106. 257


About several representations of animals or other beings, primitives either

complete or partial, gathered here on account of their resemblance.

First series. swelling on both sides, in

Ku3. A man (L 29) whose sides are swollen,
because he makes an effort;
Mien 3 . A man (L. 25) whose sides are swol-
len, whose legs are propped; to wake an effort to get
some good or to avoid some evil ;
— Phonetic series 295.
Tou1. A k in d of helmet with appendixes on both
sides to cover the cheeks; a helmet, a cowl; mao4
(L. 29 C) represents a man, head a n d Iegs;
By extension, to cover,
to envelop. — Phonetic series 651.

Second series. t'u4, a hare or rabbit.

T'u1 It represents a hare when it is squatting, with
its t a i l perked up ; It forms

Yuan l . A h a r e u n d e r a covert , w hen ce it is

u n a b l e to r u n . Derived meaning s, to i n j u r e , to ill-use
w i t h o u t cause, griev an ce, oppression, the hare being
an inoffensive a n i m a l ;
See L. 34 H.

Mien3. The female of the hare, By extension,

to bear, by allusion to the fecundity of the doe-hare.

I 4 . A hare that runs away, By extension, to

live like a hare, to lead an idle and licentious life;
the hare being looked upon in China as the type of
profligacy, and very ill-reputed.

Third series. ch'ao4.

Ch'ao4. It represents some animal resembling the
hare; This character,
combined with (L 106 B), forms
Ch'an2. The n u m e r o u s tribe oi the rodents. — Pho-
netic series 828.
258 Etymological Lessons. 106. 107.
Fourth series. huan1.
Huan1. A sort of antelope; On
the lop, the horns (L. 103 C); represents the head;
at the bottom there are paws and a tail, which is often
omitted in the modern character. This was wrongly
classified by K'ang-hsi unde r vegetals. — It forms
K'uan1. Large, spacious, ample in the physical
sense; broad-mindedness, indulgence in the moral
sense. This idea may come from the width of the
paddocks reserved for the breeding of these animals.


About two primitives and , much a l i k e in t h e ancient writing.

First series. hsin .
Hsin 1 . It represents the heart;
On the top, the pericardium opened; in the middle,
the organ ; at the bottom, a summary delineation
of the aorta The extended meanings are very numerous.
There are modern abbreviations as here joined. — It
is the 61th radical of characters relating to the feelings.
Phonetic series 61.
Many derivatives from were already explained, e.g.
4 4 2
o , wu , L. 82 H; ning , L. 36 C; chi2,
4 2
L 19 D. nien , L. 14 N; te , L. 10 O; ssu1,
L. 40 A; etc. Let us recall here that pi (L. 18 G),
has nothing in common with — Note the following

Jui3. The heart of the flowers; It is

now w r itte n

Second series. yeh*.

Yeh3. H represents an ancient utensil, either a
funnel or a rhyton; — Phonetic
series 37.
Note: The scribes introduced the most regrettable
confusion between the
derivatives of , and those of (L. 108). The Shuo-wen ascribes to :
and to etc. The cause of the confusion
was that was and is still sometimes written The was placed where
it was not required, and omitted where it was required; then the dictionaries set
down all those errors of orthography.
Etymological Lessons. 108. 259


About the primitives and

To1. A snake (See L. 110) that stands on its tail,

distends its neck a n d darts its tongue out; It is
often written , and sometimes See L. 107 B,
note. — Phonetic series 165 and 126. — In the ancient
writing, the head of the two following is alike.

Kui 1 . A tortoise, which is described by the Glose as

an animal having its flesh inside and its bones outside;
The character represents the
head, the claws, the shel l and the tail A more ancient
character represented the tortoise-shell ornamented
w i t h stripes, and a summary delineation of the head
and of the tail. — It is the 213th radical, it forms

Chiu 1 . A contest (L. 11 I) settled by divination.

A singed tortoise-shell was formerly
used for
that pur pose. See L. 56.

Min 3 . The soft turtle. The character was then applied

to mean a tadpole; the head, the gills, and a tail
(L. 79 I). It is the 205th radical. Phonetic series

Luan2. A primitive representing the ovaries and the

oviduct of the female, the testicles and cords of the

Kuan1. Another primitive, and not an abbreviation

o f l u a n 3 . l t represents the shuttle, that passes and
repasses, inserting the transversal thread of the woof
between the longitudinal threads of the warp. See
L. 92 G.
260 Etymological Lessons. 109.

About the prmitive ; about and its important series.

First series. chung1.

Chung1. The centre. Chung4. To hit the centre,
to attain. It represents a square target, pierced in its
centre by an arrow. Later on, the target was con-
tracted by the scribes and changed into a form some-
what like (L 72); but the primitive form is still
maintained in the series . To represent, in a design
without perspective, the perforation of the target, the
two extremities of the arrow were marked with a
sign, or the extremity that passed through was curved;
these are mere graphic tricks;
— Phonetic series 52.
Different compounds of were explained elsewhere,
L. 16 E; L. 67
N; L. 73 E; etc. Compare L. 153. See also and L. 43 M. N.

Second series. yung4 a n d its derivatives.

Yung4. This character primitively represented the
bronze ex-voto offered to the Ancestors, placed in the
temple as a memorial for their offspring. Afterwards
it was given the shape of a bronze tripod The vessel
was used for the offerings to the Manes, hence chuan-
chu to use, usage. The offerings brought blessing,
hence chuan-chu aptitude, efficacity, utility, etc. —
It is the 101th radical of a lew incongruous characters.

Chou1. aptitude (the old form L. 19 E)

extending to every thing, general, univ ersal; hence the
derived meanings, propagation, universality; totality;
The scribes arbitrarily changed
into . — Phonetic series 342

Fu3. Aptitude for founding and governing a

family (L 43 G), the manhood. Then a definitive
appellation was taken by men. Hence the extended
meaning, I, myself. — Phonetic series 271. It forms
Etymological Lessons. 109. 110. 261

Fu1. The h a n d (for L. 45 B) of a grown up

man. Derived meanings, action, amplitude. — The
modern scribes imagined to write , and this faulty
wri ting became classical in the character fu 1 , to
spread out, to promulge. — Phouetic series 528. It

P'u3. A wide expanse of water. By extension,

large, general, universal, etc. — Phonetic series 753.

See L. 55 K; L 102 B; L. 54 G; etc.


About the primitive , and its derivatives.

Hui 1 . A l l k i n d of crawling animals, snakes, worms,

Compare L. 108 A. — It is the 142th radical. See
L. 43 1, and L. 21 B. Note further

Ch'iang2. A bow (L. 87 A) that shoots its arrow

above several acres of land (L. 3 C), a strong bow.
By extension, stron g, good. This character being
difficult to write, was replaced by , a name of the
same sound which represents an in sect , Elater
the snapping beetle, that unbends like a bow when
it fell on its back; represents the insect, its
head, which was arbitrarily changed into by the
scribes. — Phouetic series 668.

K'un 1 . Insects that are numerous at certain times of

the year ( t w o to intimate the great number); e.g.
shih1, formerly fly, and now louce; chung1.
locusts; wen2, mosquitoes; li3, book-worms;
ts'an , silk-worms; etc.
262 Etymological Lessons. 110. 111
Ch'ung . An ancient term for all crawling and
swarming animals, insects, etc. It is found in

Ku3. Chronic diseases, t h e etiology of which escapes

the Chinese, as tuberculosis, syphilis, etc. — Some
suppose that. worms corrode the interior of the
— Others expl ain that these diseases are caused by the venom
of animals, swallowed with food and d r i n k Hence the dreadful fear of the Chinese
for the urine of the gecko (a lizard found in all the houses); also for rain-water
that has f i l t e r ed through a roof, because it is supposed to be soiled by the venom
of scorpions that live there; etc. This etymology seems to be the right one,
because it explains belter the word vessel; poison of the worms taken with

Moreover, there are who say that the magicians make a poison slow and sure, by
grinding in a vessel different sorts of venimous worms. This seems to be
rather a legend.


About the primitive , and its compounds.

K'ui4. It represents an ancient recipient, either a

basket or a bag. Note the modern
abbreviation. It forms

K'ui 4 . Not mean, or cheap; a whole basket of

cowries; The ancient form is unexplai-
ned, It appears in the ancient character L.
44 G. It is perhaps an abbreviation of the last —
Phonetic series 693.

Ch'iea3. To carry soil in baskets, in order to

erect a wall, a dike, as it is still done in China (L. 86
B). It is phonetic in

Ch'ien3. To commission, to depute. — Phonetic

series 773.
Etymological Lessons. 112. 263


About the primitive , and its important derivatives

First series, chih3, its compounds and multiples.

Chih 2 A coarse representation of a Toot, or of the

footprint; on the left side, the heels; on the right
side, the toes; on the top, the ankle;
Derived meanings, to march (the feet moving);
to halt, to stop (the feet being still), etc. — It is the
77th radical. Phonetic series 46. We saw the derivatives
L. 44 F; L. 44 K; L. 66 D. Add the following:

Ch'i4. A man rising on his heels;

Ts'u3. To t ur n one one's heels ( L. 26). Now

chia-chieh used as a demonstrative pronoun, this. —
Phonetic series 242.

Ch'en2. A firm gait, by posing well the foot

(L. 63 D); It forms

Yen2. A gait firm an

steady (L. 7 ) ;
Phonetic series
17. Not to be confounded
with the derivatives of below I.

quadrupled, two being straight, a n d two inverted (altered in the modern

writing), forms
Shih4. Rough, rugged. An irregular surface, that
obliges to many steps in different directions. The
modern contractions , now replace the ancient
form difficult to write.
264 Etymological Lessons. 112.

Second series. tsu 4 .and shu2, both being composed of the foot,
increased with a symbol
Tsu4. A foot at rest. By extension, feet in general.
The stillness is represented by the closed . Compare
below C.
It is the 157th radical (two modern
forms). Phonetic series 310.

Shu2. Foot in motion, to turn. The motion is

represented by the open . Compare above B.
reading p'i3, in the sense of rolled up piece, is a
modern chuan-chu. — It is the 103th radical (two
modern forms). — It forms

Shu1. Birth , the feet coming first. Different

extended meanings. See L. 94 F.

Hsuan2. To turn on one's heels; (L, 117) is

phonetic. — Phonetic series 614.

Ch'u 3 . A woody land; is phonetic.

Hsu1. Gravy ; is phonetic. Phonetic series


Tan4. The ball rolle d by the dung-beetle. By

extension, egg.

Third series. tsou3.

Tsou3. To march. A man who bends (L. 61 B)
to walk quickly and with hasty strides; to go, to travel,
to sail; — H is the
156th radical of characters relating to modes of going.
Etymological Lessons. 112. 265
Fourth series. cho .
Cho4. To go step by step. It is composed of and
(L. 63 A), say some philologists. It seems more
probable that are three footprints. Not to be
confounded with (L. 63 D). — It is the 162th
radical of a large group of characters relating to
movements, e.g. chin4, to advance, t'ui4 to
move back, etc.

Note: In some modern characters, the scribes divide

; is placed on the
right side, underneath the phonetic; is placed on
the left side. K'ang-hsi
classified those characters under the 60th radical.

T'u2. To go;

Ts'ung2. To follow;

Hsi3. To move one's abode. —

Phonetic series 611.

Fifth series.
inverted is not used alone, but forms, when
combined with straight, two important series. In
the first, G, th e two forms are superposed, a nd
inverted is now written (not to be confounded with
, nor with , L. 18 H, M). In the second, H, the
two forms placed in juxtaposition are now writte n

Pu4. A step, to take a step, to march; The

character represents the succession in the steps
(compare L. 63 C). By extension, the planets,
stars that move. H forms

She4. To step in water, to ford, to wade

over. Hence

Pin 2 . A man (L. 160) who wades throogh

water; uneasiness. In the ancient character, was
introduced between the two , to gain room, In the
modern character, was suppressed. — Phonetic
series 825.
266 Etymological Lessons: 112.

Chih4. To ascend step by step an acclivity

(L 86); It forms
chih1, merit, to promote.

Sui4 The planet Jupiter, that presided over

the wars. See L. 71 P. — Phonetic series 760.

Po4. Two in contrary directions; idea of two

feet; or of separation, divergence, letting loose. —
It is the 105th radical. Note the derivatives

P'o2. To stamp with the two feet, to trample.

It is now a part of

Fa1. To shoot an arrow, and, by extension, any

expansion, any manifestation of a latent energy. The
m o d e r n form (to trample with a bow) is a non-
sense. In the ancient primitive character, there was
an arrow, instead of ; shooting of the
arrow by the bow. — Phonetic series 675.

Teng1. To ascend upon a pedestal, firstly

with one foot, then with the other. By extension,
to ascend, to go up, in general. — Phonetic series 708.

Kui3. The nicely disposed grass, on which the An-

cients poured the libations offered to the Manes; see
Graphics, page 362. This character, not easily written,
was replaced, in the days of Li-ssu, by plus ,
probably the primitive form of fa1 (above). The mo-
dern form has been arbitrarily mutilated by the
scribes. Now chia-chieh a cyclical character. — Pho-
netic series 458.

Sixth series. cheng4. A special series is reserved for this compound of

, on account of its important derivatives.
Cheng4. To be arrived and to stop at the —
line, at the limit, where one had to reach, without going
astray; By extension, correct,
straight, regular. — Phonetic series 107. It forms
Etymological Lessons. 112. 267
Ting4. Order in the house, and, consequently,
tranquillity, peace;
By extension, fixed, certain, decided. — Phonetic
series 400.

Shih4. What was controlled at sun's light;

The Glose compares this
etymology with the etymology of chih3, L. 10 K.
Extended meanings, truthfulness, reality, existence. —
Phonetic series 476

Wai1. Deflected from the perpendicular, aslant; what

is not correct . This character is a modern one.

Fa2. It is t urned to the left. The inversion means

that one did not reach the line , the point
where one had to reach; a defect, to he in want of,
exhausted. The modern character is a fanciful
abbreviation that has nothing in common with
chih1 (L. 79 B). — Phonetic series 54.

Mien4. This character is considered by some philo-

logists as a derivative of . This is a mistake. It is a
primitive, representing a woman sitting; — is the
girdle; on the left, the seat; on the right, an apron
that hides the fore and lower part of the body. By
extension, to conceal, to hide, retreat, confinement,
screened, out of view. — Phonetic series 71, It forms

Ch'en2. From and . See L. 30 B.

Min1. The retreat in a house, the home, a

dwelling. It forms

Pin1. A present offered to a man received in

one's house By ex tension, a guest.
The scribes arbitrarily altered the primitive character
to the two forms here joined. — Phonetic series .787.
268 Etymological Lessons. 113. 114.

About the primitive

Chang3, to grow. Ch'ang2, long. The primitive

form indicates locks of hair so long that they must be
tied by a hand a nd a brooch (the fork on the
right); Later on, was added,
which made the composition of analogous to the
one of (L. 30 E); manhood, when the hair is long
By ex tension, long in time or distance. The modern
form is an arbitrary contraction. — It is the 163th
radical. Phonetic series 323. It forms

Pao1. Long locks (L. 62);

— It is the 190th radical.

Ssu4, To expand to the utmost , to exhibit,

unrestrained. See L. 169.

T'ao4. A modern character. To suit what is of the

same height and length. Assortment, to unite,


About the two primitives and

Shih4. A floating plant, without roots, that famifles
and grows, like the nymphaeaceae so common in China,
Euryale ferox and others, that spring up from a
grain, float first, then fix themselves and acquire in a
short time a prodigious development. By extension,
development, multiplication; a wandering hord of
the primitive times, a clan, a family — It is the 83th
radical Phonetic series 82. It forms
Ti3. A development of the last. The floating plant
sprouls to the bottom — of water, to be fixed and
rooted there. By extension, bottom, foundation, to
sink down; — Phonetic series 163.
It forms
Etymological Lessons. 114. 115. 269
Hun1. Dusk, twilight; when the sun has plunged
below the horizon. The of was suppressed;
— Phonetic series 364. The
form is a wrong one.

Kuo2. A development of ti (above B), the root

boring in the bottom. It is phonetically contracted
( being suppressed) in

Kuo2. To put or to hold in one's mouth;

Note the modern abbreviations, specially the
last one, that is written in such a way that the
compounds of kuo2 cannot be distinguished from those
of she2. See note L.102 C. — Phonetic series 227.

Min2.The people, the mass, the common multitude.

Some philologists consider this character as a mu3
(mother, L. 67 0), with sprouts that represent the
m u l t i p l i c a t i o n ; people, t h e sons of w o m e n .
It is highly
probable that this interpretation is erroneous . Min2 is
a primitive, a creeping plant with sprouts, that is
proliferous (second ancient character, ) The
third ancient form, and the modern on e, are arbitrary
abbreviations. is therefore a character resembling
, and not a derivative from it. — Phonetic series 137.


About the three primitives

First series ching3.

Ching3. Primitively, it was designed to represent
eight square lots of fields, divided among eight families,
reserving the middle square for public use, and
digging a well in it. The well is represented by a dot;

was the custom in antiquity. See Textes Historiques, p. 25. The system was
abolished, and the character is now used to mean, a well. — Phonetic series 49.
It is phonetic in
270 Etymological Lessons. 115.

Hsing 2 . Legal punish me nt ( a sword, L. 52),

which was arbitrarily written by the scribes . See
below B. — Phonetic series 204.

Second series. ch'ien2.

Ch'ien1. It represents two scales poised ;
Even, level, line, row, agreement.
Note the modern arb itrary contraction which, reducing
to four the six stroke s of this important phonetic, is
the cause, for studen ts of Chinese, of many fruitless
researches in the dic tionaries. — Phonetic series 184.
See above A. It forms.

Ping 1 . Two men who march side by side;

together, harmony, with, etc. ;
The remark made for the last is to he
made here also, the modern contracted form counting
six strokes, instead of eight. — Phonetic series 390.

K'ai1. It has nothing in common with . It is a

representative character. Two hands take away
the — bar t h a t closes a door ; to open. It is the
reverse of shuan1, to shut, that was ex plained
L. 1 H;

Third series. tan1.

Tan1. Cinnabar. It has nothing in common with

The crucible or stove of the alchimists, with
cinnabar in it. See L. 4 C. — Phonetic series 83. It

Ch'ing1. Light green; the colour of the

sprouting plants (L. 79 F);
Note that the cinnabar is red.
It seems rather curious that the two complementary
colours, green and red, are here confounded
Etymological Lessons. 116. 117. 271
(daltonism?). An author explains seriously that the green plants, when burnt,
give a red fire — It is the 174th radical. Phonetic series 337.

is still found in t'ung2, scarlet red; and in chart1, a red banner (L. 117).


About the primitive

Jan3. The hair just growing on the. b o d y ;
It might be considered as inverted and doubled.
See L. 100, second series. The scribes now write
(nothing in common with L. 35 J). — Phonetic
series 128. It is phonetic in

Na4, na3. A ancient city and State in the West,

perhaps Tibet, whose inhabitants wore furs;
The scribes strangely alte-
red . This character lost its primitive meaning and
is now used as a demonstrative pronoun in the modern
spoken language. — Phonetic series 232.

So1. Clothes made of furs or straw, against

rain. It was explained, L. 16 D.


About the two primitives and , that resemble each other in the modern
writing, but that elymologically have nolhing in common.

First series fang1.

Fang1. It is supposed to represent two boats lashed
together, so that they make a ferry-boat, a pontoon,
a square barge; It seems rather difficult to
see this representation in the character. The ancient
forms represent the four regions of the space with
two dimensions, the earthly surface. By extension,
square, regular, correct, a ru le, etc. — It forms the
70th radical. But, with the e xception of two or three
of them, all the characters classified under this ficti-
tious radica l, belong to the p rimitive , below, B,
that is unconnected with . — Phonetic series 56.
272 Etymological Lessons. 117.

P'ang2. The space with three dimensions; the limits

of that space, indicated by on the top, and two
side li nes. The ancient forms, as usually, aie more
expressive than the modern ones. By extension, border,
side, lateral. — Phonetic series 556.

Fang4. To lead , in the open space (steppe,

pasture-land), a drove; to feed. Compare L. 43 D.
By extension, to let go, to loosen, to open out, to lay
down, etc. It forms

Yao1. To shine; emit light;

— Phonetic series

Nao2. From and . See L. 78 E. — Phonetic

series 638.

Yen1, has nothing in common with . See L. 34 K.

Second series yen».

Yen3. First, long overhanging brandies. Later, the

mangrove, shooting, from its branches, roots that go
down and imp lan t themselves in the ground (right
side; lianse, the jungle. Idea of a being, hanging,
waving, covering, with many stalks, etc. This charac-
ter is unconnected with . Note its successive
alterations. — It forms nearly all the characters
attributed to the 70th radical . Note the following

Hsuan2. To revolve, to move in an orbit, to do a

thing in tarn. Composed of foot (L. 112 C), and
motion. — Phonetic series 614.
Etymological Lessons. 117. 273

Tsu2. A handle of arrows , fifty, says the Glose;

means the numerous slicks;
By extension, a multitude of beings of the same
kind , a family which traces its descent from one
ancestor, kindred relatives who are like a sheaf of
individuals; — Phonetic
series 654.

Shih1. To pour out at repeated times .pro-

bably something to drink; to bestow, to diffuse,
generosity; L. 107.

Yu2. Contraction of ; the waving motions of

the swimmer (L. 94 A ) ; to float, to swim. —
Phonetic series 500.

Lu3. A campment. Men encamping under the

branches of trees. By extension, men temporarily
stay ing in a place that is not their ordinary abode,
soldiers, merchants, travellers, emigrants, exiles.

Yu 2 . It has certainly nothing in common with It

is probably not an arbitrary contraction of wu1
(L. 138 D) It seems to be a modern sign, inv ente d
to be used as a particle expressing the rela tion that
exists between two terms of a proposition. It repre-
sents graphically the connection, (left side) between
two distinct terms. — Phonetic series 419.

Sub-series kan4. A sub-series is reserved for this derivative of , ou

account of its important compounds.
Kan4. The solar rays penetrating into the
jungle, draws up the yapours of the ground which, till
then, were checked (L. 1 I ) ;
The bottom of is suppressed, to give room to
Idea of evaporation, of a fog lifting up. — Phonetic
series 543. It forms
Ch'ien2. A radical redundancy of the last,
representing the vapours sent up. The proper room of
the vapours, says the Glose, is upwards; they en-
274 Etymological Lessons. 117. 118.

deavour to rise u p ; hence the meaning, cloudy

firmament ( a n d not light blue of the skies), heaven.

This character is
sometimes used for kan1, dry. It is a licence. In that
sense, the character is to be used, in which
(L. 102) means the-drying of the dampness.
Kan4. A rod very long: by extension, power,
capacity. The second form is more recent, and com-
monly used. It is an absurd phonetic redundancy,
the radical being suppressed;

Han4. To fly very high. Chia-chieh, for

pencil, in Han-lin, the Chinese
Academy of old.

Note: In the three following, was suppressed in the- modern form.

Chao . The rise of the sun a n d of the mist on
sea, seen from a boat; dawn. By extension, the
Imperial courts, so called because they were held in
early morning. In this sense, they pronounced ch'ao2.
Hence, the Imperial court, a dynasty, etc. — Phonetic
series 664.

Han2. A bascule ( L. 31 G, lo and fro) to raise


Chl3. A lance very long.


About the primitives and

First series. kua3.

Kua3. A skeleton, skull and bones without flesh,

roughly shaped. By extension, to strip the flesh off, to
bone, to disarticulate, article, broken, etc.
See below B, . It forms
Etymological Lessons. 118. 275
Kua3. A defect in the conformation of the bones
of the mouth ; a wry mouth with a palatal fissure.
— Phonetic series 457. It forms
Kuo4, from (L 112 F), to go
through. Phonetic series 742.
Ku2. Bones with flesh
around. Compare ,
whose composition is analogous, and which was
explained L. 65 C. — It is the 188th radical. Phonetic
series 547.
Ling4. It is borrowed as a symbol for arithmetic.
The modern sound and shape are conventional. The
primive form represented a bone extracted from the
skeleton, a fraction, a remainder, a surplus ;
It forms
Pieh . To divide, to distinguish,
difference. Composed of and
of a knife.

Second series. tai3.

Tai3. A primitive; bones fallen to pieces; what
remains definitively of a man's skeleton. The fourth
ancient form, relatively modern, is composed of
body, and of two strokes cut up by a third, to represent
the disjunction of the body's elements. By extension,
death, misfortune, evil, bad, to break to pieces, to
shatter, to grind, fragments, dust. — It is the 78th
radical. It forms
Sso3. To die; dissolution of
a man. See L. 26 H, and its
derivative tsang4, to bury, to
put a coffin i nto the ground, L 78
G. See also LL. 12
F and 52 D.

Ts'an2. To reduce into fragments, into dust. —

Phonetic series 308. It forms
Ts'an4. Rice pounded ,
fine white oat-meal. By extension,
a meal, a feast, whiteness, purity.
276 Etymological Lessons. 118. 119.

Note. The two preceding and , placed on the

top of a compound, are written or , and form
the following compound:

Hsun4. A deep ravine (L. 18); represents the

erosion of the rocks or of the loess by waters;
— Forms by subs-
tituting eye (L. 158) to the of :
Jui4.Brightness a n d quickness
of visual perception, and, by
extension, of intellectual percep-
tion; shrewd, profound. The
eye penetrating to
the very bottom of the deep hollow;

Ho4. An artificial ravine, dug by men; a pit,

a canal. Compare above hsun4. Now

Ho1. A ditch, a canal; , L. 81, is a radical



About the primitive and its multiples.

First series. mu .
Mu4. It represents a tree, . On the top, the
branches; at the bottom, the roots; in the middle, the
trunk. By extension, wood. It is the 75th radical of
characters relating to trees. It forms

K'un4. Weariness, exhaustion that forces to stop

on the way, to sleep u n d e r a tree. The modern
form represents the same idea, b u t not so clearly;
a camping (L. 74) under a tree . — Phonetic
series 286

Hsiu1. To stop, to cease to march; A

man under a tree; Compare with the
preceding; the idea is the same. By extension, to
cease in general, in particular to cease to live with a
wife, to repudiate her. — Phonetic series 205.
Etymological Lessons. 119. 277
Cha . A thin wooden tablet, anciently used for
writing , for information (L. 9 A). — Phonetic
series 101.

Ch'i1. Varnish, a substance that falls in drops from

the branches and the trunk of a tree;
The drops are a primitive. —
Phonetic series 598.

Nai4. Omens derived from trees. Compare

L. 119 M. This character lost its primitive meaning
and is now used as an interjection, alas I The second
modern form was invented by the scribes. See L. 99
D, the first form.

Chi2. Three birds (a great number) roosting on

a tree. By extension, an assembly, a meeting, a
market or fair; The
contracted the old character. It forms

Tsa2. Garments made

with variegated pieces stitched
By extension, partico-
loured, streaked; a mixture of
colours or ingredients. The scribe:
placed the of under ,
then contracted the
two elements. Compare L. 16 M.

Nieh4. To shoot into the black of the target,

It is explained that is the support, and
the black of the target or bull's eye; because the
black is to the target what the nose ( L. 159) is to
the face, the central point. By extension, rules of
shooting; then, rule, law, in general.

Hsing1. The tree that produces apricots;

represents the fruits hanging from the tree. The
inverted character

Tai1, stupid, is modern. It is equivalent to

278 Etymological Lessons. 119.

Hsien2. Threshold.
From wood, and door;

Jan3. To dye, to tinge. The dipping in the

infusion of wood of Gardenia tinctoria or Rubia
cordifolia, must be repeated nine times, says the
Glose; See L. 23 A.
Hsiao1. A bird of prey prospecting, on the top
of a tree ; the head alone appears, the feet are not
shaped. — The head of a criminal exposed on the
top of a slake.
Li3. A plum-tree. The tree , the children are
fond of ; Not to be confounded with
(L. 94 A).

Mei2. A stalk or stick in wood ; one of, each;

Mu4. To wash the hair; is phonetic. To cleanse

in general.
Yao4, music. Lao4, joy. Here represents the frame
on which the instruments are hung. See L. 88 C.

Second series. Multiples of

Lin2. A forest, a clump of trees. Two to indicate
many trees together, Not to be confounded
with p'ai4, L. 79 H. — Phonetic series 377.
Chin4. Bad omens derived from trees.
Compare L. 119 F. By extension, to prohibit, to warn
against, to forbid. — Phonetic series 727.

Ch'u3. A country planted with trees; (L.112 C)

is phonetic. Various chia-chieh. — Phonetic series
Fen2. To set a forest on fire , in order either
to drive out the wild beasts or to prepare a clearing.
Hence, to burn, in general.
Fan4. The soughing of the wind through trees;
is phonetic. In the Hindu-Chinese literature, this
character is used to designate Brahma.
Etymological Lessons. 119.120. 279

Lan2. Greediness; a woman's vice, says the Glose;

is phonetic.

Fan2. A fence. See L. 39 L.

Mao4. A bushy forest. See L. 95 C.

Wu2. Clearing. See L. 10 I.

Shen 1 . A great number of trees, and by extension,
a great number in general.

Yu4. A park planted with trees. Now


About some compounds of (L. 119), that form important series.

Pen3. T r u n k, stump of a tree, across the l i n e —
t ha t denotes the earth;
— Phonetic series 147.

Mo4. The top, the highest branches of a tree ;

end, extremity.
— Phonetic series 138.

Wei4. A t a l l tree with its branches superposed;

The actual meanings of this character,
in the cycle a n d as a negation, are chia-chieh. —
Phonetic series 167. It forms

Chih4. To cut a big tree

with a sharp instrument, an
axe or an adze. The ancient
form shows the notches. By ex-
tension, to work the wood, tc
make, to form, etc. The modern
character is corrupt.
Li2. A composition analogous to
t he preceding one. To cot down
a big tree; represents
its falling. — Phonetic series 627.
280 Etymological Lessons. 120.

Chu1. Trees whose h e a r t is reddish, as cedar, th uj a,

etc. By extension, red. A tree ; in the middle
represents a cutting in the wood;
— Phonetic series 188.

Lei3. A harrow. A wood with prongs. The

modern form lost one of the prongs. See L. 97 G. —
It is the 127th radical

Kuo2. The f r u i t of a tree, represented by on the

top of ; fruits in general. — Phonetic series 373.

Ch'ao2.A nest on a tree. See L. 12 O. On the tree

a nest, a n d on the nest, the feathers of the hatching
bird. — Phonetic series 594.

Ts'u 4 . Thorns. A thorny tree;

— P h o n e t i c series 243. It forms the i m p o r t a n t
following compounds and multiples:

Ts'u4. Primitively, torture; thorn and knife.

It is n o w used for . Not to be confounded with
la2, below 1.

Chai2. To chastise, to punish. A thorny rod and

a fine in money . Note the contraction of into
in the mod ern form. — Phonetic series 590.

Chi4. Thorny shrubs in general. The duplicated

represents the great number of thorns.

Tsao3. From thorn duplicated, referring to its

abundance of thorns; the jujube tree, very common
in China.
Etymological Lessons. 120. 281

Ti4. The Emperor, the man who rules over the

Empire. The ancient character represents a man, clad
in long robes (compare the ancient form of L.
24 Q) and designated by , an old form of ,
superior. Then the scribes added two arms. Then
Li-ssu changed the bottom into . Lastly the
scribes contracted the character. Compare the series
, p. 9; tbe evolution is the same. — Phonetic series
478. It forms

Ti4. To control oue's mouth , to hold one's

tongue. Phonetic series 650, u n d e r its modern con-
tracted form To be distinguished from shang1,
L. 15 D.

Shu 4 . To encompass (L. 74) a tree , here

taken to mean a n y object; to tie; to knot. — Phonetic
series 303. It forms

Sou4. To cough. A tight

breath that becomes loose. —
Phonetic series 647.

Sung 3 . Reserve with fear. To

before a su perior, as being bound with fear.

Ch'ih 4 . Government. A rod and

tie, the coercitive and legislative power.

La2. To cut the tie that

binds; to cut, in general. —
Phonetic series 469. It forms
Lai4. To solve a difficulty
by giving money; to bribe in
a competition, or to buy in pro-
tection. Tbe is placed on the
top of — Phonetic
series 821,
282 Etymological Lessons. 120.

Chien3. To partake a bundle, in order to

pick and cull. — Phonetic series 429. It forms

Lan2. A bar shutting a

door; is phonetic. — Pho-
netic series 833.
This compound (case, bag), increased with ,
was explained L. 75 A, with its derivatives.

Tung1. The sun appearing at the horizon. To

show that it is on a l evel with the horizon, it is
represented shi nin g under the top of the trees
that are at the h ori zon. Compare L. 88, a n d
L. 143 B; By extension, the East
whence light rises. — Phonetic series 405. It forms

Ts'ao2. Judges. There were two, in the ancient

t ribunals, sitting on the Eastern side (the place of
honour), and deciding (L. 73 A) the cases. The
modern contraction is an ar bitrary one;

Chung4. Composed, as ting 2 (L. 81 D), of

man and of earth; contracted is phonetic. The
man on the top, tries to rise, from the earth
at the bottom, an object in the. middle, which is •
represented by the phonetic. Hence the idea, heavy,
weight. This interpretation is certainly erroneous.
The ancient characters represent round or flat weights
piled up on a kind of support. — Phonetic series 437.
It forms the two following:

T'ung2. A slave boy; the counterpart of a slave girl

(L.102 E). Composed of acrime, (contracted)
grave, committed by the parents, and for which their
children were reduced to slavery;
Those slaves were forced
to live unmarried; hence the extended meanings, a
bachelor, a spinster, a virgin. — Phonetic series 716.
Etymological Lessons. 120. 121. 283

Liang2. The weight (contracted), (contrac-

t ed) special to some object. Weight, measure, in
general. See L. 75 F.


About the primitive

Ho2. Grain, corn, crops. The character represents
the plant (resembling L. 1 1 0 ) , ended on the top
by a pendent ripe ear; Derived idea of
uniformity, concord, the grains growing, waving,
ripening together; — It is
the 1 1 5 t h radical of characters relating to grains and
their uses. — See L. 53 B; L. 52 F ; [,. 98
B etc. Note the following compounds :

Ch'un1 A granary; the bundles of corn being

enclosed; — Phonetic series

Ch'iu 1 . The season when the grain is burned,

i. e. whitened, ripe; The autumn. —
Phonetic series 433.

S u 1 . To glean ears, is phonetic.

The modern sense, to revive, to rise from the dead, is

Chih 4 . Grain still young and tender,

Young, delicate; is phonetic

Ho2 Tune of mouths, formerly of musical

pipes. Harmony, u n i o n ;

Wei3. The lot of woman who mast yield ;

By extension, to suffer, to serve. There are
different derived meanings. — Phonetic series 409.

T'u1. Bald. When the head of a man is like a

mowed down field.

Nien2. The year's harvest, the thousand stalks.

A year (L. 24 D). The modern chararcter is an absurd
284 Etymological Lessons. 121.

Shu3. The panicled millet , whose put in

water and fermented, produces spirits;
— It is the 202th radical. It forms
Hsiang 1 . The sweet odour
of millet when it ferments.
Sweet smell, or sweet to the
taste. See L. 73 B. The modern
character is astrangecontraction.
— It is the 186th radical.
Ping3. A bundle ot corn held by a hand. To
uphold, to seize, to grasp in the hand. See L. 44 I. —
It forms
Chien1. Two bundles in the
hand. Union, together. See L.
44 L. — Phonetic series 519. It
Lien2. The angled joint of
the roof and of the walls of a
house; a corner, a joint. —
Phonetic series 745.
Li4. Many ears ripening together; crops;
It is phonetic in

Li4 annual cycle, growing and ripening of the

crops. It forms
Li4. A (L 112 A) stop in the turn, the end of
a period past; to pass, a term ; Often .
contracted into by the scribes. — Phonetic series822.
Li4. The (L. 143) solar terms, calendar, time.
This character was used for the personal name of the
Emperor Ch'ien-lung, and consequently
was no
longer employ ed for common use. It was superseded
inverted, a pendent ear, to bow the head, is found
only in the following compound:
Chi1. To bow the head in order to examine. The
compound on the right side seems to be an error of
the scribes for (L. 30 E) The meaning should be
then, to shake the bead, like old men.
Etymological Lessons. 122. 285


About the primitive , straight and bent down.

First series. mi3 straight.

Mi3. Grains of different plants. The character repre-
sents four grains, that are separated by the thra-
— .See L. 68 D; L. 23 G, L. 78 E; L.
102 B; L. 41 E; L. 32 E; L 54 D; L. 87
B; L. 160 C; L. 81 A; etc.

T'iao4 To sell ( to being out) grain

Ti3. To buy ( to bring in) grain . In these two

characters, (L. 62 G is plionetic.

Second series. mi3 bent down.

Mi3. Grains. It forms

Wei4 The stomach which incloses the food

This viscer being fleshy, later on was added
(L. 65); then the scribes contracted into

— This series is unconnected with L. 41 D

(grains of salt, an analogous figure). — Phonetic
series 489.

Shih3. Vegetables that went through the

stomach; excreta, dung. This character is now written
(see L. 32 E).

Ch'ang4. Grains fermenting in a rase, and

a spoon to take the liquor out. It was explained L.
26 C. — It is the 192th radical.
286 Etymological Lessons. 123.


• About the primitive

Pien4. The steps of a wild beast . The strokes
represent the print of the claws, and the points
the p r i n t of t h e soft parts. The examination of the
trail indicating the kind of an ima l, hence the extended
meaning, to discriminate, to p art , to sort out. The
excreta giving the same indica tion , means dung
in (L. 104 A). It is unconnected with L. 122. -
It is the 165th radical. It forms

Hsi2. To get a perfect knowledge , by a thorough

investigation ; to comprehend in al l particulars.

Chuan3. To choose, to pick and cull with the

hands. The modern character is a contraction. See
L. 47 K, and below F. — Phonetic series 191.

Fan1. The tracks of a wild beast, print of the claws

and the sole of the foot;
— Phonetic series 676. It forms
Shen3. To e xam ine, to search, to get knowledge
by study. To investigate in one's house . _
Phonetic series 811.

Shih4. To clear up by an investigation, an

enquiry. (L..102 G);
By extension, to part from an accusation, to let out
from confinement, etc.

Nao4. The dark corners of a house, in which one

discerns the things only by groping;
. By extension, mysterious, obscure. —
Phonetic series 750.
Yueh4. A particle, a kind of interjection
(L. 58 E), that comes before the explanation of
an obscure matter. Often changed into
K'ang-hsi wrongly classified it under the radical
Etymological Lessons. 124.125 287


About the primitive

Shu2. Beans. The primitive is thought to represent
the plant; two husks pending;.';
It forms

Shu2. The collecting of beans. This character

is obsolete in that sense, a n d is now used chia-chieh
to designate a father's younger brother, an uncle of
the same surname (vulgo shou2). — Phonetic series

Ch'i1. It represents the m o w i n g of beans, with

a crooked sickle. It is now used chia-chieh to
mean the kindred. The idea may come from the boughs
of creeping plants. — Phonetic series 597.


About different forms of the primitive . The p r i m i t i v e is incidentally

First series. shui3.
Shui3. Water. The central stroke represents a
brook, a rivulet, The four small strokes
represent the whirls of water. See. L. 12 A. Note the
modern contracted forms. — It is the 85th radical of
characters relating to water and streams. Different
derivatives were already explained; e.g. L. 17 B,
L. 18 M, L. 94 0, L. 47 0, L. 50 B, etc.
Note the following.

Ta2. Babbling words flowing like water. See

L. 73 A. — Phonetic series 895.

Yen3. Water that advances (L. 63 C), that

spreads out; overflowing, inundation;
It forms ch'ien1, a fault, an excess, licen-
tiousness; scandalous behaviour.
288 Etymological Lessons. 125.

Fa1. Rule, law. By extension, model, pattern, means.

This character is a modern one. a n d its explanation is
too far reached: to make the morals smooth, as water is, by extirpating
vices; The ancient character was composed of
to adapt (L. 14 A) to righteousness (L. 112 I).

Second series. yn3.

Yu3. Rain. According to some, th e four points
represent the drops, — upper l i n e the skies, an d
the clouds. — Others e x p l a i n as it was said in th e
L. 1 B. — Others still explain: — the sky, the
regular falling ( L 35 H) of drops ( t h e f ou r points are
a special primitive). — An ancient form simply repre-
sented a shower of rain. — It is the 173th radical. It

Lou4. Rain soaking t h r o u g h a roof (L. 32 G);

D ro p p in g .

Third series. that is bent down, in

Yuan1. A whirlpool, a gulf, an abyss The ancient
character represented water in a circle i.e.
whirling. A more recent form rep resen ts the water
bouncing between two banks. Now , a graphical
redundancy. It forms

Su4. Deferential fear of an official. — Modern form,

to write (L. 54 D) a report to a superior, as if
one would be on the b r in k of an abyss , that is,
with fear;
This idea commonly occurs in the classics;
— An ancient form meant,
to apply one's heart in writing reports and in
administering — Phonetic series 757.
Etymological Lessons. 125. 289
I . It represents a vase, so full of water, that
it overflows. This circumstance is represented by the
fact that is over the vase and is hent down, thus
expressing its overflowing. By extension, addition,
profit, excess, overplus;
— Phonetic series 539.

Fourth series. and

Yang3. The unceasing flow of water veins in the
earth, Abstracted
meaning, duration, perpetuity, but not eternity.
Graphically, this character is a variant of ; the
slender threads are substituted to the whirls. —
Phonetic series 173. It forms
Yang4. It has the same meaning
as ; is phonetic. By exten-
sion, uniformity, model, pattern,
wearisomeness. See L. 103 A. —
Phonetic series 659.

P'ai4. Graphically, it is inverted. The idea is

analogou s; ramification of a stream;
— Phonetic series 234. It forms

Mai 4 . The blood running in the veins, the

pulse. The second form, from flesh and streams,
is more recent.

Ch'uan2. A spring gushing o ut from the ground,

and flowing in rills. A special primitive. In the middle,
the gush that bubbles up from the earth; on the top,
the water expanding; on the sides, the flowing. The
modern character is an arbitrary confection;
water pure.
It forms.
Yuan2. Any origin; a source. In the ancient form,
there were three springs gushing out from a
cliff. The scribes contracted it ftrst, then altered this
character in such a way that became . See L.
59 C. — Phonetic series 388.
290 Etymological Lessons. 126.

About the primitive
First series. huo3.
Huo3. Fire. Ascending flames;
— It forms the 86th radical of a large group of
characters relating to heat. Note the modern contracted
form that is used in combination, at the bottom of
the compounds. See the compounds already explained,
L. 65 G, L. 74 P, L. 121 C, L. 46 I,
L. 59 G, L. 12 I, L. 119 O, etc. Note the

Chih 4 . To roast flesh;

To cauterise, a moxa.

Chiao1. A roasted bird. Singed, shrunk, dried

up; melancholy, sadness. — Phonetic series 669.

Fan3. Pain in the head caused by heat;

Morally, heal in
the head, nervousness, disgust. See L. 160 C.

P'eng1. To roast; (L. 75 D) is phonetic.

Second series. contracted in the modern writing. The ancient forms are
like those of the first series. See L. 24 J, L. 32 B, L. 50 O, L. 47 J,
L. 41 A, etc. Note the following:
Shen1. The Chinese hearth, a small hole (L. 37)
under the caldron, in which the hand stirs the fire
Hence the derived meanings,
deep, profound, abstruse, etc. Note deep water;
to explore, to fathom. The scribes arbitrarily omitted
the upper dot of , and combined and into

Sou3. An old man. A man who reached the age

when he most make fire in his house;
Compare it with the last character,
and see how the ancient form was fancifully altered
by the scribes. — Phonetic series 567.
Etymological Lessons. 126. 291
Ch'ih . The human fire (L. 60 N), the face
turning red and crimson on being angry. By extension,
natural carnation, red colour, etc. — It is the 155th
radical. — See nan3, L. 43 J. Note she4, amnesty,
pardon; the primitive sense was to strike the
culprit and make him ashamed, without ulterior
punishment. It forms che1, bite or sting of
venimous insects, that inflames the skin. Doubled

Ho4. Intense blushing, shame

and fear.

C Third series. The same dots that are used as an abbreviation of ,

are also used, specially in recent characters relating to animals, to represent:
1. The tail, e.g. fish (L. 142); swallow (L. 141).
2. The feet, e. g. horse (L 137); bird ( L . 138); monkey ( L. 49 H);
lamb (L. 103 A), etc. See L. 136 B, C.
3. is also used as an abbreviation of more intricate forms, e.g. L. 10 I;
L. 92 E; an arbitrary abbreviation of L. 45 J, etc.

Fourth series. doubled, yen 2 ,

Yen2. A rising (lame, fire, that blazes;

— Phonetic series 416. It forms
the important compounds :

Hei2 The soot let by the fire around the bole

through which the smoke escapes. Black colour. See
L. 40 D. — It is the 203th radical. Phonetic series 678.

Hsun1. Smoke, fumigation. A black smoke rising

from the fire. See L. 40 D. — Phonetic series 781.
292 Etymological Lessons. 126.

Lin2. An ignis fatuus; flatmes t ha t are seen

hovering. (See L. 31 E). They rise, says the Glose,
. on old battlefields and proceed from t he blood of men
a n d horses ;
The scribes arbitrarily
contracted into . — Phonetic series 696.

Shun4. The Chinese convolvulus, that creeps

and covers the ground with its bloomi ng r eddish
flowers. The scribes strangely altered this charac-
ter. The phon etic ( L. 31 E) was added later on;
Name of a famous
ancient monarch who reigned about B. C 2042. —
Phonetic series 703.

Liao 3 . Sacrifice offered to Heaven, on the threshing-

floor, after the harvest; The
ancient forms represent the threshing-floor, the grains,
the strow The more recent form represents the straw
and the grains offered as a gift (L 75 D) to be
b u r n t ; b u r n t offering of firstlings. — Phonetic
series 695.

Fifth series.
Yen2. Many lamps. Compare (above D). It

Y i n g 2 The light of many lamps in a room

(L. 34 H)
This character forms a large group of com-
pounds in which the at the bottom gives room to
the radical. — Phonetic series 585. Note

Lao2. To toil at the lamp's light, during night;

to fag at, to exert one's self in an extraordinary manner;
to labour; — Phonetic series 694.
Etymological Lessons. 127. 293


About the two primitives and , two halves of a

tree (L. 119) cut in the sense of its l en gth. It is queer
enough that, in composition, means, thin, feeble;
while means, thick, strong.

First series. p'ien4.

P'ien 4 . The right h a l f of a tree, a piece of wood;

bit, thin, feeble; — It is the 91th

Second series. ch'iang2.

Ch'iang 2 . The left h a l f of a tree, a piece of wood ;

a bed, a wooden st al l ; thick, strong;
— It is the 90th radical. Pho netic series 41. It

C h u a n g 4 . A stout

man , or t h e man who

feigns to be so. It forms , men an d th ings of the
country. — Note the analogous characters: a
woman who gives herself airs, disguise; a dog that
blusters, to feign; to subduce strong enemies by
arms; the humble subjection of a minister (L. 82
E). Etc. — Phonetics series 265.

C h i a n g 4 . A strong hand that rules; a general,

to command.

Chiang4. To place meat u p o n a stall

The scribes blended this character w it h t h e last. —
Phonetic series 599.
These characters show the successive
development of the preceding: I. St all and
meat; 2 Stall, meat and salt; 3. St all, meat
a n d p r i n e (L. 41 G )
294 Etymological Lessons. 127. 128.

Chi2. To lie — on a bed ( note the successive

contractions ). Derived me anings, to be sick, sickness ;
urgent, pressing, as in a grave sickness ;
The scribes arbitrarily added a dot on the top. —
It is the 104th radical of a group of characters relating
to diseases.

Note: Joined to , forms a k ind of compound

radical, u n d e r which a phonetic is inserted. In the
ancient forms, is complete; in the modern ones,
the horizontal line was suppressed. For instance:
Wu4. To awake; is phonetic. The sleeping man
is lying in his house

Ch'in3 . To sleep; is phonetic.

Mei4. To sleep; is phonetic.

M i 3 . Drowsy; is phonetic. Etc.

Third series. and joined.

A prop. It is found in

Ting3. A tripod or an u r n . The third foot does not

appear, on account of the perspective. is not the
eye (L. 158), but it represents the vase. The tripods
and urns played an important part in the Chinese
antiquity. See Graphics page 361. — It is the 206th


About the primitve

Chin1. An axe, a hatchet; The
character is supposed to represent the instrument,
It means also a Chinese pound, the ancient weights
Etymological Lessons. 128. 295

having, like moneys, the form of a hatchet's iron or

a hanger. It is the 69th radical. Phonetic series 48.

Different derivatives of were already
e.g. L. 47 D; L. 51 A; L. 48 D; L. 60
Add the following:

Hsin1. A laughter (L.99) by jerks ; joy,


Chan3. To cut in two, to sunder. Composed of

chariot, and of axe, It is a souvenir of
a nc i e n t char iots with scythes, says the Glose. More
probably the whirling of an axe brandished. —
Phonetic series 591.

Hsi1. To split wood , to divide;

Phonetic series 357.

Ssu1. To s p l i t wood with an axe; (L. 70 C)

represents, says the Glose, the basket in which the
splinters are gathered. The
modern use of this character as a demonstrative
pronoun, is chia-chieh —. Phonetic series 704.

Sho3. C h o p p i n g of a door ( L, 129 ). By

extension, a place, a spot, a building; a relative

Two axes. This character is obsolete. It is found in

Chih4. To fix or settle the price of a thing. By

extension, value, quality, substance, matter. —
Phonetic series 799.

Ch'ih4. To expel. It has nothing in common with

. It is an arbitrary abbreviation. See its etymology,
L. 102 D. — Phonetic series 112.
296 Etymological Lessons, 129.

A b o u t the prim itive
First series. hu4, and its compounds.
Hu4. One leaf of a door, the half of the character
men2 (below C); a shutter;
It represents the thing. By extension, house, family. —
It is the 63th radical. Phonetic series 63. — See
L. 62 I; L. 128 A; L. 156 D; etc. It forms

Li4. A dog surprised, that crouches under the

door to get out . By extension, wicked, to lose face;

Phonetic series 375.

Ku4. A sort of bird : is phonetic. The modern

meanings, to rent, to hire, are chia-chieh, says the,
Glose. It may be t h a t represented a sign-board
placed in front of bouses to let. — Phonetic series

Hu4. Name of an ancient town and principality;

is phonetic. — Phonetic series 616.

Ch'i3. To open a door, so t h a t it is f u l l y opened

; to open. It forms

Ch'i3. The teaching of the mas-

ter, with his rod, opens
the mind of the disciple. To
explain, to make clear, to instruct. — Phonetic series
329, in which is replaced by a radical

O4. Misfortune, distress. The character represents the

slipping in through a narrow door;
The modern form completely
altered the old one, in which there is neither , nor
. — Phonetic series 75.

Chien1. Shoulder. It is unconnected with . It is a

special primitive, explained in the L. 65 F.
Etymological Lessons. 139. 297
inverted is now obsolete. Bat in combination with
the straight form, it makes the three following
important series, C, D, E.

Second series. men2.

Men*. Two leaves of a door, face to face;
— It is
the 169th radical of characters relating to entrances.
Phonetic series 381. — Note a few compounds:
men4, sad, melancholy, a heart before a shut up
door; wen , an ear at the door, to hearken;
wen4, a mouth at the door, to inquire of or about;
shan3, to slip aside, in a door, to let another pass;
shuan1, to bar a door; k'ai1, to unbar a door;
hsien2, the moonlight streaming in through a
chink in a door, interstice; ch'uang2, a horse
crossing a door, impetuosity.

Min 3 . To condole (L. 61 F) w i th the mourners

at the front door; The Chinese
houses being very s mall, the visitors are received at
the door, when ther e is not a t'ing1, a reception
hall. By extension, compassion, pity.

Third series. mao.

Mao2. Two leaves of a door opened;

The modern form is a strange alteration. The
compounds of this series, and those of the following
and others, were all mingled. See ch'ing2, L. 55 A. —
Phonetic series 136. It forms

Mao3. The constellation of the Pleiades; for

is phonetic.

Mao*. Business; From cowries, mo-

ney; is phonetic.
Note. ch'ing2 (L. 26 M) Is unconnected with
mao , as well as with lin3, (L. 129 E).
298 Etymological Lessons. 129. 130.
Fourth series. yn3.

Yu3. A closed door. The closing is represented by

the that joins the two leaves together (compare
above D). The modern abbreviation is quite incorrect;

It forms the following:

Liu2. To stop, to sojourn in a place (L. 149):

to deposit, to let; is phonetic; Phonetic
series 551.

Liu3. The willow ; is phonetic. The modern

scribes write . and t heir mistake was registrated by

Liu2 Composed of to cut, a n d a phonetic.

A ver y c o m m o n f a m i l y name.


A b o u t the two primitives and

First series. wu3.

Wu3. It represents a pestle; To hit, to
offend. Compare L. 57, and L. 102. — Phonetic
series 89. See and , to pound, L. 47 N. Note the
following compounds:
Wu3. Stiff in holding one's opinions,
obstinate; Here
the action of offending, of shocking; is phonetic.
The second form is a modern one.

Hsieh4. To stop in the exercice of an office

(LL. 112 and 55), To lay down the seal, on account of
a fault. By extension, to lay aside, to unload, e.g.
a cart. It forms
Etymological Lessons. 130. 299

Yu4. The art of driving, and, by extension, of ruling

over men. The modern character is an absurd
phonetic compound; to march. is phonetic.
The ancient character meant, to have the hand
over a horse;

Second series. fao3.

Fao3. Earthenware vessels in general;

A vessel with a cover. — It is the 121th
radical. It forms

Tao2. A furnace for burning pottery or

earthenware; —
Phonetic series 396.

Yao2 An earthenware vessel for cooking or keeping

meat. — Phonetic series 583.

Pao3. Precious, valuable, noble, respected. To have

jade , earthenware , cowries , in one's own
house ; such were the precious things among the
ancients, The secondand t hird forms
are modern
contractions. See page 364

Yu4. The offering of a vessel full of fragrant

wine ( L. 26 C); represents the decorations of this
vessel (L. 62); is probably used to keep apart the
numerous elements of this compound. It forms

Yu4. Thicket, brushwood. The preceding is phonetic;

th e radical is changed, (L. 119 L) instead of
By extension, obstruction, hindrance. The second form
is a modern arbitrary contraction.
300 Etymological Lessons. 131.


About the primitive

Shih3.An arrow; On the top,
the point; at the bottom, the feathers, An
ancient form represents an arrow fixed in a man's
body (L. 32). Abstract meaning, an ac tion that came
to its end, appointed, determined, irrevocable, as
when the arrow is fixed in the target. See LL. 18 G,
an d 85 E. See also L. 59 H, L. 101 B, L. 165
A. — It is the 111t h radical. Note the following

Chi2. A sudden sickness, as if one had been

struck by a dart Hence the two notions, sickness,

I4. A quiver, a case (L. 10 B ) for arrows;

It forms

I1. To take out an arrow from the quiver, in order

to shoot (L. 22 D). — Phonetic series 618. It forms

I1. Medicine as it was practiced by the wizards of old.

To sent arrows against the evil influences that
caused the sickness , and to give to the •
sick elixirs to revive them,

She4. To shoot an arrow against somebody;

a more recent form, used for the hand, was
substituted to . to the detriment of the meaning.
— Phonetic series 560.

Chih1. The knowledge that makes a man able to

givean opinion upon a subject, with the rapidity
and precision of an arrow hitting the marks;
— Phonetic series 334.
Etymological Lessons. 131, 132. 301
Kui1. Rule, to rule, right, straight, as it ought to he.
To have. the eye to something, in order to make it
straight as an arrow ; The
great resemblance of and of in the ancient
writing, gave birth to the false character , which
became usual. — Phonetic series 624.

I2, Doubt, to doubt. The modern signification is the

opposite of the ancient signification of this character,
w h i ch was confounded by the scribes with the next:

To miss the mark. an arrow that goes astray;

hesitation, doubt, uncertainty;
While primitively meant, to hit the
m a r k ; an arrow that slops in the target; certi-
tude, a settled matter. is a phonetic added later
on. — The modern character is an ill-formed contraction.
— Phonetic
series 783. Note that has nothing in common with
. See L. 99 I).


About the primitive

N i u 2 . An o x , a cow, a b u l l . The o r i g i n a l c ha racter
represents the a n i m a l seen from b e h i n d ; the head,
the. horns, two legs a n d the t a i l ; etc. — It is the
93th radical of characters relating to bovine animals. —
Compare the sheep, L. 103. See again to bellow,
L. 85 E; a pa d d oc k for oxen, L. 17 F; to graze,
L. 43 D; to dr i v e by the halter, L. 91 C; the
yak, L. 100 A; an ox cut up, a half of it, L 18 D;
etc. Note the derivatives

M u 3 and P'in 3 . A b u l l a n d a cow; and are

t h e two halves of (L. 27 G ) . representing the pair.
Now, by extension, male and female of animals in
general. L. 26 I.
302 Etymological Lessons. i32. 133.
Kao4. To impeach, to indict; to do. with the mouth,
what is done by the, ox with its horns; to gore:
By e x t e n si o n , to tell of, to advi se of ,
etc. — P h o n e t i c series 282.
It is p h o n e t i c in
Tsao4. Pri mitive sense,
to arrive at, to reach,
extension, to construct, to build,
to create;
C The ox was the most v a l u a b l e t h i n g among the goods of the ancients,
hence the two following characters:
Wu4. A thing, matter, substance; the beings,
Because, says t h e Glose, the ox is the largest
of things is

C h i e n 4 . A n , one. The idea is represented by a

representative of t h e two nobler categories, a man
a n d an ox ;


About the two primitives and

First series. pu2.
Pu2. It represents a bird that rises, flapping the
wings, straight towards — the skies;
Compare L. 11 A,
B. It is now used, chia-chieh, as an adverb of negation ;
— Phonetic series 79. It forms
P'ei4 It represents a wast open space; a bird hovering
between heaven and earth;
Great, vast, unequalled. — Phonetic series 146.
Fao . Adverb of negation; the mouth saying
no: This character is a modern
one, for is taken in its chia-chieh meaning. —
Phonetic series 268. It forms
T'ou4. To cut a speaker short by interrupting him in
his speech, as a dot, a denegation , or that puff
that is used in China to express one's contempt;
Note the modern
contraction, that is to be distinguished from (L. 73 E).
See also , L. 47 H. — Phonetic series 401.
Etymological Lessons. 133. 303
Second series. chih4.
Chih4. It represents a bird that, bending up its
wings, darts down straight towards the earth.

By eiten-
sion, to go to, to arrive, to reach, etc. — It is the
133th radical. Phonetic series 186. It forms

Chih 4 . To go, to send, to make a person go or do,

etc; See L. 3t C. It forms
chih4, fine, delicate.

Tao4. To arrive at, to reach; is

phonetic. Forms tao3, to fall over, to prostrate; a
disjunctive particle, but, on the contrary.

Wu1. A house, a room in a house. The place where

one rests when he has got to. See L. 32 G,
where this character was fully explained. — Phonetic
series 490.

T'ai2 . A high open terrace, a turret upon which

birds alight. See L. 75 B. — Phonetic, series 790.

Shih 4 . A place of rest, a house, a dwelling. Its

composition is analogous to that of above; the
shelter where one stops and rests;

Chin4. To increase, to grow, to flourish. The

sun that appears on the. horizon, and birds that
alight in order to peck. When the s u n has appeared,
at daylight, all go to their business, each one gains
his ends, says the Book of Mutations;

The modern form is a contraction. Do

n o t confound another abbreviation , with p'u3,
L. 60 L. — Phonetic series 521.
304 Etymological Lessons. 134.


About the primitive

Ch'uan 3 . The character represents a dog;

According to tradition, Confucius found the
representation a very faithful one;
This induces to believe that the
dogs, in the times of the philosopher, were strange
animals. — It is the 94th radical. — See again L.
25 E; L. 65 G; L. 37 B; L. 72 C; L. 72 A;
L. 78 G; L. 23 I. Add to these:

Ch'ou 4 . A dog following the scent of a track

with its (L. 159) nose;
By extension, a
bad smell, stench, putridity. — Phonetic series 523.

Chueh 2 . A dog that stands up in the grass, to

look all around

Ti 2 . From dog and fire. Barbarians of the

N. W. regions. A race of dogs, says t h e Glose;
The fire indicates the havoc they
wrought. — The g e n u i n e e x p l a n a t i o n is; nomads
whose bivouacs ( camp-fires), were watched by
fierce dogs.

Hsien 4 . To offer in worship to the deceased

ancestors , the cooked flesh of a fat
dog, caldron,
This was the utmost of filial piety, the most palatable
of a l l offerings. General meaning, to present, to offer.
Compare L. 66 G.

Pa2. A dog led in a leash, by a string tied up

to a leg, according to the Chinese way;
— Phonetic series 142.

Yin2. Two dogs that bite each other;

Etymological Lessons. 134. 135. 305
Yu . A litigation, a suit, Two dogs repre-
senting the two suitors, who revile each other,
who accuse each other; By
extension, a tribunal, a prison, a jail.

Ssu1. Judge. It represents the same idea. The

judge between the two suitors.

Yu2. A setter which sents the game, folds its ears;

Compare L. 134 A. By extension,
amazement, surprise, singular, extraordinary,
There are different chia-chieh. K'ang-hsi erroneously
classified this character under the 43lh radical . —
Phonetic series 95