early; prior; former; in advance; first
to be born; to give birth; life; to grow; student; raw
|simp. and trad.
From 先 (xiān, Old Chinese *sɯːn(s), "before, ahead") and 生 (shēng, OC *shleːŋ, *sreŋs, "to be born"), i.e. "one who was born earlier". Attested in Shijing ("first child"), Yili ("elder brother"), Classic of Rites ("teacher"), Mengzi ("a knowledgeable elder").
- Cantonese (Jyutping): sin1 saang1
- Gan (Wiktionary): xien1 sen
- Hakka (Sixian, PFS): sîn-sâng
- Jin (Wiktionary): xie1 seng1
- Min Dong (BUC): sĭng-săng
- Min Nan
- Wu (Wiktionary): xi san (T1)
- Min Dong
- Min Nan
- (Hokkien: Xiamen, Quanzhou, Taipei, Kaohsiung, Lukang, Sanxia, Kinmen, Magong, Hsinchu)
- (Hokkien: Zhangzhou, Yilan, Taichung)
- (Hokkien: Tainan)
- (Hokkien: Zhangzhou)
- (Beginning Mandarin) mister, sir
- (formal) husband
- (Gan, Hakka, Min, dated in Mandarin and Jin) doctor
- (Cantonese, Gan, Hakka, Min, dated in Mandarin, honorific in Jin) teacher
- 他在學堂的時候，先生問他：「直隸省的西邊是哪一省？」他說是陝西。先生說：「錯了，是山西，不是陝西。」他說：「陝西同山西，不是差不多嗎？」 [MSC, trad.]
- 他在学堂的时候，先生问他：“直隶省的西边是哪一省？”他说是陕西。先生说：“错了，是山西，不是陕西。”他说：“陕西同山西，不是差不多吗？” [MSC, simp.]
- From: 1924: Hu Shih, Life of Mr. Close Enough
- Tā zài xuétáng de shíhòu, xiānshēng wèn tā: "Zhílì Shěng de xībiān shì nǎ yī shěng?" Tā shuō shì Shǎnxī. Xiānshēng shuō: "Cuò le, shì Shānxī, bùshì Shǎnxī." Tā shuō: "Shǎnxī tóng Shānxī, bùshì chābùduō ma?" [Pinyin]
- When he went to school, the teacher asked him: "Which province is west of Zhili Province?" He answered Shaanxi. The teacher said: "Wrong, it is Shanxi, not Shaanxi." He said: "Would Shaanxi and Shanxi not be close enough?"
- (Min Nan) “Entry #2069”, in 臺灣閩南語常用詞辭典 [Dictionary of Frequently-Used Taiwan Minnan] (in Chinese and Min Nan), Ministry of Education, R.O.C., 2011.
|Kanji in this term|
- one who was born earlier: an elder
- one who excels at a subject: a scholar
- one who teaches: a teacher or professor
- sensei (Japanese martial arts teacher)
- sir, a polite form of address to teachers, doctors, etc.
This is a term of respect, reserved only for speaking about others, and considered somewhat impolite (immodest) to use when referring to oneself. Instead, the term 教師 (kyōshi, “teacher”, literally “teaching + teacher”) is considered more socially appropriate when referring to oneself.
- 師匠 (shishō): a master, a teacher
- 医師 (ishi): a medical doctor
- 教師 (kyōshi): a teacher
- 教授 (kyōju): a professor
- 弁護士 (bengoshi): an attorney, a lawyer
|Hanja in this term|
|Hán tự in this word|