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Say It Right Series

Character etymology for Newbie lesson "Come on up!" 电

Posted by mandarinboy September 20, 2008 in the Group General Discussion.

Tags: , etymology

Today we look at a useful character  diàn (electricity). It is used in a large amount of words that is about electricity. Well worth learning.

Character:

Traditional form: 
Pinyin: diàn 

Meaning: electricity; electric; lightning

Frequency: 298

Strokes: 5

Decomposition:

  tián field, arable land, cultivated

yǐn hidden, mysterious, secret, to conceal

Radical part: diàn

Alternative forms of radical: 田由甲申

Radical meaning: field

Stroke animation: (the strokes are drawn the direction the picture is tipping)

 

 

Etymology:  To understand this character we first need to look at the traditional form of the character:

The original character is very similar to the traditional form:

 

 

 

 

 

 

What we see is the rain and under that lightning . Since lightning is discharge of electricity the character come to mean electricity.  Flashes in rain is electricity.  From the traditional form () the rain part () where removed when it where simplified and only the lightning part () is left.  The character means today both electricity and lightning (闪电 shǎn diàn =lightning where shǎn  means flash ).

Link to nciku usage of the character  (examples, sound etc)

http://www.nciku.com/search/zh/detail/%E7%94%B5/1303229

Example words:

电话 diàn huà telephone / phone call 
电脑 diàn nǎo computer 
电影 diàn yǐng movie / film 
电视 diàn shì television / TV 
电子邮件 diàn zǐ yóu jiàn electronic mail / email 
家电 jiā diàn household electric appliance / abbr. for 家用电器 
电视剧 diàn shì jù TV play / soap opera 
电力 diàn lì electrical power / electricity 
电子商务 diàn zǐ shāng wù e-commerce 
电动 diàn dòng electric powered 
电工 diàn gōng electrician 
水电 shuǐ diàn hydroelectric power 
电脑网络 diàn nǎo wǎng luò Internet 
电梯 diàn tī elevator 
电压 diàn yā voltage 
静电 jìng diàn static electricity 
中央电视台 Zhōng yāng diàn shì tái CCTV (Chinese state television) 
有线电视 yǒu xiàn diàn shì cable television 
充电器 chōng diàn qì
无线电 wú xiàn diàn wireless 
电脑网 diàn nǎo wǎng computer network / Internet 
电池 diàn chí battery 
电邮 diàn yóu email 
电话卡 diàn huà kǎ telephone card 
电动机 diàn dòng jī electric motor 
卫星电视 wèi xīng diàn shì satellite TV 
高清电视 gāo qīng diàn shì HDTV; high definition TV 
电灯 diàn dēng electric light 
核电 hé diàn nuclear power 
电吹风 diàn chuī fēng hair dryer 
电脑软件 diàn nǎo ruǎn jiàn computer software 
电饭煲 diàn fàn bào rice cooker 
手提电脑 shǒu tí diàn nǎo portable computer 
公用电话 gōng yòng diàn huà public phone 

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