This website uses cookies. Find out more or .
v. to smell
Discussion of /
To include posts you need to register at
How come 闻 means "hear" as well as "smell"?
The most ancient, original meaning of 闻 is "to hear". Throughout history the shape of 闻 changed. In the oracle bone script, 闻 looks like a kneeling person holding his hands upward near his ears, straining to hear.
A little while later, 闻 developed this new metaphorically extended meaning, "to smell". In ancient literature as early as the Han Dynasty, we see examples carrying the meaning "to smell".
E.g. 罗襦襟解,微闻芗泽。——《史记•滑稽列传》 (extract from "The Records of the Grand Historian", circus94 BC)
To answer to fishie123456 you need to register at
You you can select to receive personal notifications on the app or via email for important contributions to words that you are learning in the account settings .