Japanese
Chinese
Graphical etymology
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below; down; descend; give; low; inferior
on: KA GE
kun: shita shimo moto sa-geru sa-garu kuda-ru kuda-ri kuda-su -kuda-su kuda-saru o-rosu o-riru
names: saka shito
strokes: 3
radical: (no. 1)
down; downwards; below; lower; later; next (week etc); second (of two parts); to decline; to go down; to arrive at (a decision, conclusion etc); measure word to show the frequency of an action;
pinyin: xià
strokes: 3
radical: (no. 1)

Graphical etymology

下 is a deictic graph. Originally it consisted of a horizontal line with a smaller line placed blow it to indicate the idea of “below”.¹ According to Qiú later a vertical line was added to prevent confusion with the similarly constructed graph “above” and the graph “two”

Schuessler writes that 下 was used to write, “to descend, down, below” and derived from that “to descend, fall” and “to be put down”.³

Comments

In Japanese 下 is used to write a large number of different words (often differentiated using okurigana but not always).

Notes

  1. Ochiai, 2016, pp. 584-585.
  2. Qiú, 2000, p. 46. Outlier has that the vertical line was “added for aesthetics” (entry for 下).
  3. Schuessler, p. 527.
2019-08-21

Additional details for 下

Morohashi: 14 1.0220
Item no. in Henshall: 7
SKIP code: 4-3-1
Four corner code: 1023.0
Korean reading: ha
Kanjidic cross references: variant kanji (JIS): 13023
Unihan English meanings (for Chinese):
under, underneath, below; down; inferior; bring down
Unihan on: KA GE
Unihan kun: SHITA SHIMO MOTO
Unihan pinyin: xià
Unihan kZVariant:
U+4E0B
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