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chinese character欠 qiànlack, owe

lack, owe
② short of, lacking.
③ lean forwad


Elements  —-  Pictogram of a person with the mouth open. Phonetic series .

The upper part evolved from the pictogram of an open mouth. A person人with an open mouth is yawning, or trying to compensate for the lack of air.

欠缺    qiànquē – lack/ be deficient of (lack + lack)
哈欠    hāqiàn – yawn (exhale + yawn)
欠债    qiànzhài – owe a debt (owe + debt)

Though in its origin this character, even being related to a person, has a not so clear relation with the character for person 人, now, the evolution of language made it similar. In the upper part of the person a «cubist» representation of an open mouth has been added.

This is a person yawning, or perhaps a person with the mouth open who feels a lack of air. Later it was used for other situations in which there is a lack of something, as to lack something, to be defient in something, to owe money, etc.

characters hsk

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