Japanese
Chinese
Graphical etymology
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Details
two-branch tree radical (no. 115)
on: KA
kun: ine nogi nogihen
strokes: 5
radical: (no. 115)
cereal; grain;
pinyin:
strokes: 5
radical: (no. 115)

Graphical etymology

禾 is a depiction of a full grown grain plant, with its ripe head drooping down.¹ It looks very similar to “tree” 木, except for its “head” on top. Early forms like have a bit more emphasis on its drooping head than the standard script version (see below for a comparison). Already in oracle bone inscriptions 禾 is often used as signific in composite graphs having to do with grain or the harvesting of grain.²

Comments

Often scholars leave unspecified which type of grain is being depicted. Henshall chooses “rice”. Lindqvist argues that “millet” (specifically foxtail millet) is more obvious, given the area and time period when the graph was created. Qiú agrees.³

Notes

  1. Ochiai, 2016, p. 312.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Henshall, p. 23; Lindqvist, chapter “Farming”; Qiú, 2000, p. 176.
2019-07-11

Resources

OBI for “grain” 禾
OBI for “grain” 禾
OBI for “tree” 木
OBI for “tree” 木

Additional details for 禾

Frequency in Japanese: not frequent
Morohashi: 24906 8.0522
SKIP code: 4-5-3
Four corner code: 2090.4
Korean reading: hwa
Unihan English meanings (for Chinese):
grain still on stalk; rice plant
Unihan on: KA
Unihan kun: INE NOGI
Unihan pinyin: hé
U+79BE
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