Chinese zodiac

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Fri Jan 13 00:10:21 UTC 2012

The OED has a draft addition under "zodiac" to include the Chinese zodiac, with citations going back to 1784.

Despite entries on Western zodiac signs (such as capricorn), however, none of the animals of the Chinese zodiac get their full due.

Also, expressions such as "hour of the horse" and "year of the horse" are found in literature and deserve full treatment.

I also wonder about "Originally in China and East Asia" in the definition of zodiac. If I did not know better, I would read that to mean that until the modern age (perhaps the last century or two), the Chinese zodiac was restricted to China, East Asia and any other pockets of immigrants from those areas. But that ignores the traditional presence of the Chinese zodiac in Southeast Asia, Kazakhstan and Hungary, which go back hundreds of years (with modifications).

Benjamin Barrett
Seattle, WA

The American Dialect Society -

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