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Chinlingo Chinese character: 王


"王" (wánɡ) meant "king" originally. In the Oracle Bone Script, it is a pictographic character, looking like a big axe. The top part represents the handle, while the bottom part represents the wide blade. 


In early ancient China, an axe as a powerful weapon was considered as the token of power and authority. Thus, ancient Chinese people called their supreme leader "王" (king), whose country could be called "王国" (wánɡ ɡuó, kingdom). Later, since Qin Dynasty, the supreme leader had been called "皇帝" (huánɡ dì, emperor), and "王" had been a title for the nobility or meritorious officials and officers. For example, a feudatory king was called "诸侯王" (zhū hóu wánɡ).

在早期古代中国,斧头就是那强有力的武器,被视为实力和权威的象征。所以古人将当时的最高统治者称为"王(wánɡ)",而"王(wánɡ)"的国家则可称为"王国(wánɡ ɡuó)"。后来,从古代中国的秦朝开始,天子改称"皇帝(huánɡ dì)","王(wánɡ)"则成了对贵族或功臣的封爵。比如:诸侯王(zhū hóu wánɡ)。

In modern Chinese, "王" often refers to the largest, best or strongest of its kind. For example, "药王" (yào wánɡ) means "king of medicine", and" 猴王" (hóu wánɡ) means "king of monkeys". In "西游记" (xī yóu jì) or Journey to the West, one of the four great classical novels of China, 孙悟空 (sūn wù kōnɡ) is the "king of monkeys" and known as "美猴王" (měi hóu wánɡ, handsome monkey king). In addition, "王" is used as a surname as well. 

现代汉语中,"王"常指代占据领先地位的人或事物,比如,"药王(yào wánɡ)"、"歌王(ɡē wánɡ)",还有"猴王(hóu wánɡ)",中国四大名著"《西游记》(xī yóu jì )"里的"孙悟空(sūn wù kōnɡ)"是众猴之王,就有"美猴王(měi hóu wánɡ)"之称。此外,"王(wánɡ)"也常用于姓。

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