Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
|simpl. and trad.|
- The following etymology was provided by Taiwanese Language expert, Professor Dang Hong-Zing (董峰政, POJ Táng Hong-chèng): When Taiwan was under Japanese rule, Kodama Gentarō, then Governor-General of Taiwan, became concerned about the spread of infectious diseases. He tasked his head of civilian affairs, Gotō Shimpei, to instruct the public to air their bedding and clean their kitchens at least once a week. After the bedding was aired in the sun, one had to beat it with a stick (拍 - phah). The verb for cleaning the kitchen was (摒 - piàⁿ). It became common practice to ask people if they had carried out these two tasks by asking, "Have you phah-piàⁿ (lit. beat out your bedding, and clean your kitchen) this week?" Since 拼 and 摒 are pronounced the same in Min Nan, 拼 came to be used instead. Eventually, the word came to mean to strive, or to work diligently. Since the equivalent of 拍 is 打 in Mandarin, this word is often written as 打拼. It is likely that the Mandarin word dǎpīn came from the Min Nan phah-piàⁿ.