Jism, was: "Jazz" did not have a sexual origin

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Mon Mar 5 16:13:47 UTC 2001

 From James Smith:

>My assumption is that it relates to Chinese "ji"= the rooster in the asian
>zodiac and  roughly translates as "auspicious". ... Those who are actually
>familiar with Chinese (I'm not) are invited to comment.

We blue-collar types know only a few characters. When I looked this one up
I found the amusing calque "jiweijiu" < "ji" = "rooster"/"cock" + "wei" =
"tail" + "jiu" = "[alcoholic] drink"/"wine" ... altogether meaning
"cocktail". In Japanese -- which has available the same characters with
essentially the same senses -- it's "kokuteru".

If I wanted a Chinese cognate for "jasm"/"jism", I might prefer another
"ji" -- as in "ji-ang" = "spirited", "ji-dong" = "excited", "ji-fa" = "arouse".

-- Doug Wilson

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