Phono-semantic compound (形聲, OC *hmed): phonetic 戌 (OC *smid) + semantic 火 (“fire”).
Shuowen considers this to be an ideogrammic compound (會意): 戌 (“ninth month”) + 火 (“fire”), probably alluding to a passage in Huainanzi:
- 火生於寅，壯於午，死於戌 [Classical Chinese, trad.]
- 火生于寅，壮于午，死于戌 [Classical Chinese, simp.]
- Huǒ shēng yú yín, zhuàng yú wǔ, sǐ yú xū [Pinyin]
- [The element] fire is born in the first month, is strong in the fifth month, and dies in the ninth month.
Cognate with 滅 (OC *med); see there for more.
- † Original form of 滅／灭 (miè, “to extinguish; to destroy”).
- 赫赫宗周，褒姒烕之。 [Classical Chinese, trad. and simp.]
- From: The Classic of Poetry, circa 11th – 7th centuries BCE, translated based on James Legge's version
- Hèhè Zōngzhōu, Bāo Sì miè zhī. [Pinyin]
- But the majestic honoured capital of Zhou,
Is being destroyed by Si of Bao.