Saturday, 25 March 2017

八 | bā

In Mandarin Chinese, (Pinyin: 🔊) is a word for “eight”. It is considered a lucky number, because its pronunciation is similar to that of / (), which means “to make a fortune”. You may have heard or seen this latter word in the traditional New Year greeting, 恭喜發財 / 恭喜发财 (gōngxǐ fācái), literally “Congratulations, (may you) become wealthy”.

The original meaning of was “to divide”. I don’t think the ancient Chinese knew much about cell division but somehow most historical forms of this character remind me of a pair of chromosomes.

The Chinese hand sign for “eight” is a hand with the thumb and index finger at a right angle and the other fingers closed:

There is another hanzi with the same meaning, , which is mainly used for financial purposes.

More photos related to numbers and sea glass @ Shutterstock.

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