Thursday, January 26, 2006

Words which mean their own opposites, Part 1

According to A.C. Muller's extremely useful Dictionary of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese, the character 汨 can mean:

  • A river in Hunan.
  • To manage, control.
  • To be in disorder.
  • The flowing through, or passing through (of water).
  • To float.
  • Floating and sinking.

  • I love Chinese.


    Taemin said...

    How 'bout 離. So nobody can ever decide whether 離騷 is supposed to be "taking leave of sorrow" or "encountering sorrow."

    Matt said...

    How about kage in Japanese? Shadow or light, people, you have to pick one or the other!

    Andy said...

    what i also find interesting about that character is that the difference between it and 汩 have probably been muddled thruout the years.

    amida said...

    Taemin: A classic one! I always thought "taking leave" made sense--after all, he did kill himself--but I take the experts' word for it.

    Kage can mean "light" as well? Let me add: I love Japanese, too.

    Andy: that's a water and a "yue" (as opposed to a "ri") right? Now that I look that one up on AC Muller's site, I see it's got:
    # To govern, control, manage.
    # To be in disorder, confusion, rebellion.
    # The flowing of water.
    # To go quickly; to flow fast, as a stream.
    # To sink, be submerged.
    # The rising of waves; waves.
    # Bright, lustrous.

    It does look like something got mixed up somewhere... appropriately enough.