Japanese
Chinese
Graphical etymology
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Details
now
on: KON KIN
kun: ima
names: na
strokes: 4
radical: 人, 亻,𠆢 (no. 9)
today; modern; present; current; this; now;
pinyin: jīn
strokes: 4
radical: 人, 亻,𠆢 (no. 9)

Graphical etymology

今 was loaned early on for a word “today; this (day, year)”.¹ 今 is often used as a phonetic with the associated sense of “containment”.² According to Ochiai 今 is graphically related to 亼, which may depict the roof of a building or the lid for a container.³ With the additional element at the bottom of 今 (in oracle bone inscriptions that looks like , showing only a modest extra horizontal line) the graph symbolizes according to Ochiai “something that covers or conceals something.”⁴ Another theory has it that 今 represents an inverted version of “speak” 曰.⁵

Comments

See the article “What is 亼 as an element?” for a longer analysis.

Notes

  1. Ochiai, 2016, p. 490; Schuessler, p. 314.
  2. Qiú, 2000, p. 260. This may give a hint about the original word that 今 was created for.
  3. Ochiai, 2016, p. 490; Seeley et al. p. 80;
  4. Ochiai, 2016, p. 490;
  5. Qiú, 2000, p. 207.
2019-06-25

Additional details for 今

Morohashi: 358 1.0588
Item no. in Henshall: 125
SKIP code: 2-2-2
Four corner code: 8020.7
Korean reading: geum
Unihan English meanings (for Chinese):
now, today, modern era
Unihan on: KON KIN
Unihan kun: IMA
Unihan pinyin: jīn
U+4ECA
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