roots or stems of plants; origin; source; this; the current; root; foundation; basis; (a measure word)
letter; symbol; character; word
|simp. and trad.
This term is commonly used for Chinese dialects, in which many words are often considered to be written with contrived characters or not be able to be written at all. Believing that they are derived from pre-existing characters, some people search old texts and character dictionaries to find the ancestral "original" character. For example, the 本字 (“original character”) of 啲 (di1) in Cantonese is believed by some to be 尐 (jié).