Man 人 + man 人 + man 人 = ?

人 man is one of the first characters you learn; it is simple with its two strokes and reminds you of a person with both legs or a man in profile.

man Chinese  人

In the simplified version, the two characters repeated to form one, 从, gives a mnemonic to remember this new word that means to follow. Indeed, a man follows another man: 从. ( This character has other meanings too).

Follow Chinese

When you have three times this character in the same character 众*, it’s a lot, and the composition gives the sense of the crowd.

crowd in cinese

With tree 木 (already seen in this article), the logic helps because two trees 林 give a wood or a grove, and three trees mean a forest 森. A forest is bigger and usually includes more wood!

This logic does not work every time. The mouth 口 (which we have already examined here), when repeated twice 吕 is a surname repeated three times 品, the character means the article or enjoy. You can meet people who are called 吕品. So they are made up of five mouths. I know a 吕品 in Changchun, he doesn’t talk more or drink more than the average!

If you prefer more complicated characters, 赢 will please you, see here.

The traditional form of 众 is written like this 眾. Using the primitive spellings, we can see an eye or, according to other versions, a sun. Note that the simplified version exists since very remote times, 众est since the Shang dynasty (1570 – 1045 BC), a family name.

23 June 2020

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