行, from the crossroads to it’s fine!

We’ve seen the expression 就行了 in the last two days, but where does the 行 xíng character come from?
The first spellings of the Jiaguwen era evoked a crossroads:

The reform of writing undertaken by Li Si in the 2nd century Av. J.-C. modified the writing as follows:

spelling character chinese xing

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The idea of crossroads disappeared. Xu Shen 许慎, who was unaware in his time of the first Jiaguwen spellings, noted, four centuries later, in the Shuowenjiezi 说文解字, that the character came 彳et from 亍, two spellings evoking small steps. 行 became a verb and the meaning of crossing disappeared. ( 彳chì is a key meaning small step, to walk)

行 xíng has a lot of meanings: walking / acting / doing / practicing / applying / okay / packing / leaving home / walking / traveling.
It has other pronunciations and other meanings.

Related articles :

It’s good enough this way, 差不多就行了

弄点米饭就行了, Take a little rice and it will be fine!

Spoken language

Character xing 行

14 October 2020

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