Thursday, 30 March 2017

万 | wàn

In Mandarin Chinese, (Pinyin: wàn 🔊) is a word for “ten thousand”. It is often used figuratively, in a sense “numerous”, “countless”, “very”, “extremely”, “absolutely”, “all”, “eternity” etc. 万水千山 (wàn shuǐ qiān shān), “ten thousand rivers, a thousand mountains” is a popular idiom for the long journey.

is a simplified form of a traditional hanzi which originally meant “scorpion”. There is a great variety of historical forms of this latter character. However, and are not similar at all. According to Wiktionary, is

a simplification of the Buddhist symbol introduced when Buddhism came to China. was given the same pronunciation as meaning (many virtues); so, came to be used as a simplified form of . is simply a scribal form (script) of . The meaning ten thousand for is a borrowing.
The modern character does look more like a combination of Latin letters T and J than a left-handed swastika. Incidentally, “T.J.” is a nickname for Tijuana 🔊 — can you hear wàn there?

More photos related to numbers and sea glass @ Shutterstock.

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