Japanese
Chinese
Graphical etymology
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Details
in; inside; middle; mean; center
on: CHUU
kun: naka uchi ata-ru
names: ataru kanae
strokes: 4
radical: (no. 2)
zhòng to hit (the mark); to be hit by; to suffer; to win (a prize, a lottery); ◇ zhōng within; among; in; middle; center; while (doing sth); during; (dialect) OK; all right;
pinyin: zhòng zhōng
strokes: 4
radical: (no. 2)

Graphical etymology

Most early forms of 中 appear to show a flag with streamers (see below).¹ Its standardized form seems to have been the result of simplification.² As to the details of this flag there is no established theory.³ Perhaps arguing from the early meanings of the word 中, Ochiai suggests that the flag may have been used at the center of the body of an army.⁴

Comments

Qiú argues that (originally pointing to a word “undergarment”) was loaned to write the word 中 when it had a psychological or moral meaning.⁵ Schuessler writes that 中 may be the same word as .⁶

Notes

  1. Sinica database (accessed 2019-07-16); Seeley et al. p. 61; Ochiai, 2016, p. 380.
  2. Qiú, 2000, p. 87, n. 22.
  3. Ochiai, ibid; An editor on the page for 中 on en.wiktionary.org writes (without giving a source) that archeological evidence allows for the interpretation that the middle part of 中 depicted a drum (accessed 2019-07-16).
  4. Ochiai, ibid.
  5. Qiú, 2000, p. 273.
  6. Schuessler, p. 621.
2019-07-16

Resources

OBI for 中

Additional details for 中

Morohashi: 73 1.0287
Item no. in Henshall: 55
SKIP code: 4-4-3
Four corner code: 5000.6
Korean reading: jung
Unihan English meanings (for Chinese):
central; center, middle; in the midst of; hit (target); attain
Unihan on: CHUU
Unihan kun: NAKA UCHI ATARU
Unihan pinyin: zhōng
U+4E2D
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