Japanese
Chinese
Graphical etymology
Resources
Links
Details
zero; spill; overflow; nothing; cipher
on: REI
kun: zero kobo-su kobo-reru
strokes: 13
radical: 雨, (no. 173)
zero; nought; zero sign; fractional; fragmentary; odd (of numbers); (placed between two numbers to indicate a smaller quantity followed by a larger one); fraction; (in mathematics) remainder (after division); extra; to wither and fall; to wither;
pinyin: líng
strokes: 13
radical: 雨, (no. 173)

Graphical etymology

零 is seen not earlier than in seal script.¹ It consists of “rain” 雨 and “command” , the latter lending its sound. The original meaning may have been “light rain,” with “small” and “zero; nil” as extended meanings.² 令 was originally a depiction of a kneeling person receiving a command.³

Mnemonics

Notes

  1. Some scholars think that the graph 霝 depicts an earlier variant of 零 (for example, Schuessler, p. 361; Seeley et al. p. 634). However, other scholars treat 霝 as separate graph (for example, Xǔ Shèn; Ochiai, 2016, p. 48; Outlier; see also the Sinica database, which also treats 霝 as a separate graph).
  2. Outlier; See also Seeley et al., p. 634.
  3. Ochiai, 2016, p. 48.
  4. The element , here acting as a phonetic, is on itself the first part of Reiwa 令和, the name of the Japanese era that began 1 May 2019.

Comments

Unicode has created a different character 零 to allow for hard coding a different style. However, it is still the same graph. Often displaying 零 with a different font will be enough to show the different style as well. See resources below for details on the differences in style.

2019-06-23

Resources

Straight variant ()
Slanted variant ()

Additional details for 零

Morohashi: 42242 12.0036
Item no. in Henshall: 1922
SKIP code: 2-8-5
Four corner code: 1030.7
Korean reading: ryeong; ryeon
Unihan English meanings (for Chinese):
zero; fragment, fraction
Unihan on: REI
Unihan kun: OCHIRU FURU KOBORERU
Unihan pinyin: líng
Unihan kZVariant:
U+96F6
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