Japanese
Chinese
Graphical etymology
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part; minute of time; segment; share; degree; one's lot; duty; understand; know; rate; 1%; chances; shaku/100
on: BUN FUN BU
kun: wa-keru wa-ke wa-kareru wa-karu wa-katsu
names: ita wake
strokes: 4
radical: 刀, 刂,⺈ (no. 18) (Nelson uses , , no. 12)
fèn part; share; ingredient; component; ◇ fēn to divide; to separate; to distribute; to allocate; to distinguish (good and bad); part or subdivision; fraction; one tenth (of certain units); unit of length equivalent to 0.33 cm; minute (unit of time); minute (angular measurement unit); a point (in sports or games); 0.01 yuan (unit of money);
pinyin: fèn fēn
[free morpheme] (can be used on its own)
strokes: 4
radical: 刀, 刂,⺈ (no. 18) (Nelson uses , , no. 12)

Graphical etymology

According to Ochiai 分 is a deictic graph, consisting of “knife” and the sign representing something divided or cut.¹ Early meanings were “to divide, separate” and (in a different tone) “a part”, “share”.²

Many scholars presume that 八 also lent its sound, even though the reconstructed pronunciations of the words do not seem to make that obvious.³

Notes

  1. Ochiai, 2016, p. 356. Given that 八 exists as a separate graph, it seems one could just as well categorize 分 as a semantic compound.
  2. Schuessler, p. 234. Schuessler designates the word “a part” as the exopassive of “to divide”.
  3. Schuessler, p. 234 & p. 152.

Japanese vocabulary

Chinese vocabulary

2019-09-05

Additional details for 分

Morohashi: 1853 2.0195
Item no. in Henshall: 199
SKIP code: 2-2-2
Four corner code: 8022.7
Korean reading: bun
Unihan English meanings (for Chinese):
divide; small unit of time etc.
Unihan on: BUN FUN BU
Unihan kun: WAKERU WAKARU WAKARERU
Unihan pinyin: fēn
U+5206
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