身毒

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Chinese[edit]

 
body; torso; person; life; status; pregnancy; (a measure word used for clothes) suit
poison; narcotics
simp. and trad.
(身毒)

Etymology[edit]

Transcription of the same Old Persian Hinduka ("India", or its minor variants) as 天竺 (Tiānzhú). It is the oldest of the Chinese names for India, and occurs in Shiji in connection with the mission of Zhang Qian to Daxia.

Using Middle Chinese reconstructions of the two characters in this word (ɕiɪn duok̚) gives the false impression that this is derived from the name of Sindhu (सिन्धु) – the name of the westernmost kingdom of India. Factors making this etymology unlikely include:

  1. Zhang Qian had no direct contact with India or with the Indians. He gathered the name from the people of Daxia which was a pure Iranian zone then under the occupation of Yuezhi;
  2. The choice of an alveolopalatal sibilant ɕ- for a clear dental sibilant s- in the original language; cf. known transcriptions of Sindhu: 頭 新陶 , all commencing with a dental sibilant; and
  3. The presence of a final -k in 身毒, as in 天竺.

The ancient Chinese writers have long suggested that shēn in this word had a different pronunciation. Yuan Shigu in his commentary to the Hanshu says:

捐毒身毒天篤也,本皆一名,語有輕重耳。Juandu (捐毒), Shendu (身毒) and Tiandu (天篤) are originally the same name pronounced either lightly or with emphasis.

The variant of Late Old Chinese that Zhang Qian had used showed the dialectal development of Old Chinese *n̥in > *χin ~ hin, explaining the choice of (shēn). This is perhaps comparable to the case of in 天竺 (“India”), also a dialectal Old Chinese variant pronunciation. Modern dictionaries variably designate the proper pronunciation of this word in modern Beijing Mandarin as juāndú, yuándú, yuāndú, but rarely shēndú as would be pronounced by an unknowledgeable native.

Pronunciation[edit]


Proper noun[edit]

身毒

  1. (literary, obsolete) India

Synonyms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


Japanese[edit]

Kanji in this term
しん
Grade: 3
どく
Grade: 4
on'yomi

Etymology[edit]

Transliteration of Sanskrit sindhu.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

身毒 (hiragana しんどく, rōmaji shindoku)

  1. the Chinese term used to refer to India; India

See also[edit]