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wén
v. to smell
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How come 闻 means "hear" as well as "smell"?
fishie123456
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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)
lisaC
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