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Add “一” on the top of “火” to form “灭”

The Chinese character "灭" (miè, to put out a fire) is made up of two components – "一" (yī, one) and "火" (huǒ, fire). It seems that something is put on the top of a fire to put out a fire.  

一.png

"一" has only one horizontal stroke but is provided with two functions.


[Function 1] A completed character used in number counting. "一, 二, 三…" (one, two, three…)

[Function 2] A radical of other more complicated characters. For example, "旦" (dàn), meaning "a certain day", consists of "一"and "日".

火.png

Imagine the burning flame in your fireplace. Then look at the character "火" (huǒ) in the Oracle Bone Script. I think you are smart enough to find that the ancient Chinese created the character based on the flame's outline. 

"火" can also be used as an adjective, meaning "urgent". For example, "火速" is used in Chinese to mean "extremely fast", and "十万火急" (shí wàn huǒ jí) is used to describe an extreme emergency case. "十万" (shí wàn) means "very" or "extremely". 

"火" is a single character and can also be used as a radical. Compound characters made with it are all related to "burning". For example, the pictophonetic character "灯" (dēnɡ) means "light" in English. Ancient Chinese people used fire for light. Another pictophonetic character "炒" (chǎo) means "stir-fry". So far, Chinese people still cook with fire. "炸" (zhá), which means "fry", is also one of the Chinese cooking techniques, with which oil is heated with strong fire first and then food is cooked in the oil. 


The article is translated and editted by Chinlingo. Please indicate the source for any use, reproduction or transfer. 

本文由Chinlingo编译后发布,如需转载,请标明来源。

2016-06-27

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