Chinese Etymology

Chinese Etymology

Uncle Hanzi (汉字叔叔)

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Character: 西

Character (單一漢字)
English Senses For (英文): xi1
卥卤西 west / the west / western / Western / the West / European / American / Occidental / foreign / a Chinese family name

Simplified (簡體字):
Unicode := 897F
GB2312-80 := CEF7


New! Simplification explanation under construction.

Traditional (繁體字):
Unicode := 897F
Big5 := A6E8

西 xi1 (productive phonetic)


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ShuoWen: (說文解字):

In the old days, "things" were wrapped up. "heavy" things were wrapped in blankets, or put in "baskets". Heavy things were wrapped in blankets that served as bags which could be carried on the back, and little things were wrapped in smaller bags or kept in baskets. 东 is a bag or wrap full of something heavy, and 重is a man carrying one of those heavy bags. 东 is borrowed for its pronunciation like 重 and is used for the direction "east". 西is a small wrapped package or basket. It is also used for the word for "west". Together they make the character combination for the "things" 东西 which are in those bags and the things that are all over the place from east and west. The fact that the modern character东 resembles the sun 日 rising over a tree 木 is only an accident. 西 is not a birds nest as the Shuowen sais, but a basket.

New! etymology explanation under construction.

Primitive pictograph 西. A wrapped package indicating "something" 西 as in 东西. Borrowed for sound to mean west.

Seal (說文解字裏的篆體字)


LST Seal (六書通裏的篆體字) Characters

L30394 L30395 L30396 L30397 L30398 L02177 L02178
L02179 L02180 L02181 L02182 L02183 L02184 L02185
L02186 L02187 L02188

Bronze (金文编裏的字) Characters

B16143 B16144 B16145 B16146 B16147 B16148 B16149
B16150 B16151 B16152 B16153 B16154 B16155 B16156
B16157 B16158 B16159 B16160 B16161 B16162 B16163

Oracle (甲骨文编裏的字) Characters

J25740 J25741 J25742 J25743 J25744 J25745 J25746
J25747 J25748 J25749 J25750 J25751 J25752 J25753
J25754 J25755 J25756 J25757 J25758 J25759 J25760
J25761 J25762 J25763 J25764 J25765 J25766 J25767
J25768 J25769 J25770 J25771 J25772 J25773 J25774
J25775 J25776 J25777 J25778 J25779 J25780 J25781
J25782 J25783 J25784 J25785 J25786 J25787 J25788
J25789 J25790 J25791 J25792 J25793 J25794 J25795
J25796 J25797 J25798 J25799 J25800 J25801 J25802
J25803 J25804 J25805 J25806 J25807 J25808 J25809
J25810 J25811 J25812 J25813 J25814 J25815 J25816
J25817 J25818 J25819 J25820 J25821

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