Q: Kanji for "gossip"?

Randy Alexander strangeguitars at GMAIL.COM
Wed Apr 29 02:57:03 UTC 2009

On Wed, Apr 29, 2009 at 3:59 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:

> I wonder what allusion, image, or allegory leads a character composed
> of three of those for "woman" to be created as, or taken for,
> adultery, rape, or seduction.  None of those requires 3 women, and
> all (at least in the times when the Japanese, or probably the
> preceding Chinese, characters were being invented) require one
> man.  Even adultery would seem to require two men and but one woman
> -- the married woman, her husband (to document the married state?),
> and the male transgressor.
> In Japan, might the character have an additional meaning of "gossip"?

I'm not sure about in Japanese (it's not a common character), but as far as
the Chinese character etymology, it is most likely looked at from the
perspective of the man — many women for one man = adultery.  In other words,
you wouldn't need the man to be represented.

Randy Alexander
Jilin City, China
My Manchu studies blog:

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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