Chinese Character Evolution

by Chinese2020.com

【看 kànkàn】A person is putting hand above its eye (目 mùmù) to shade the light and look. Its original meaning is "to look"; later extended to "to discover", "opinion".

    


【要 yàoyào】The oracle image has top part and bottom part. Top part is 日 (rìrì: sun). In the bottom part, the middle part is a woman 女 (nǚnǚ: woman). The left and right part around 女 are the hands. It expresses the idea of "with sunshine, invite girlfriend for outing". Its meaning is hence "invite". Later, it extends to "want, need".

    


【万 wànwàn】Character 万 is after combining 万 and 萬 during simplification process in 1950's. As for 萬, its picture is a scorpion. It could be that in the very ancient times, there are many scorpions in central China, so this character denotes a big, big number (not thousands of but TEN thousands, TEN thousands of scorpions).

    




* Chinese character evulation images are taken from 象形字典(vividict.com).