Simplified from 舞 (舛 → 灬) – removal of 舛 (character used for sound). (Compare 可 from 奇.)
In the source character 舞 (OC *maʔ, “dance”), top component graphically originally a figure with outstretched arms holding two animal hides: 革 + 大 + 革.
Core Sino–Tibetan. From Proto-Sino-Tibetan *ma (“no, not”); cognate with Tibetan མ (ma, “not”) and Burmese မ (ma., “not”).
- 微 (OC *mɯl, “not, no”)
- 毋 (OC *ma, “do not”)
- 勿 (OC *mɯd, “not, don't”)
- 未 (OC *mɯds, “not yet, haven't”)
- 靡 (OC *mralʔ, “not, no”)
- 亡 (OC *maŋ, “not have; to flee, to disappear, to die”)
- 沒 (OC *mɯːd, “to end, to disappear, to drown”)
- 莫 (OC *maːɡ, “none, nobody, nothing; do not; can not”)
Attested profusely in Classical Chinese, this word is the prototypical negation particle in the *m- series of Chinese negatives. In the oracle bone script, however, 無 is not frequently used, and its homophone (or near-homophone) 毋 (OC *ma) is used instead.
See 不 (OC *pɯ, *pɯʔ, *pɯ', “not”) for more on negative particles in Old Chinese.
- mò̤ - colloquial;
- ù - literary.
- bô - colloquial;
- bû - literary.
- bho5 - colloquial;
- bhu5 - literary.
- 3hhmm - colloquial;
- 3vu - literary.
- (literary, Hakka or Min) to not have something; there is not ...
- 天空無雲。 / 天空无云。 ― Tiānkōng wú yún. ― There is no cloud in the sky.
- 我無零星錢。 / 我无零星钱。 [Min Nan] ― Góa bô lân-san-chîⁿ. [Pe̍h-ōe-jī] ― I don't have any change.
- (literary, Min) Negation particle preceding verbs and adjectives. not
- 無可 / 无可 ― wúkě ― can't
- 我無求於你。 / 我无求于你。 ― Wǒ wú qiú yú nǐ. ― I want nothing from you.
- (literary, Min) have not
- 我無共伊講。 / 我无共伊讲。 [Min Nan] ― Góa bô kā i kóng. [Pe̍h-ōe-jī] ― I didn't tell him.
- (literary, Hakka or Min) Interrogative particle.
- (Hakka, Min) if not; otherwise (placed at the start of a sentence)
- † regardless of, no matter whether
- † nothing, nil
- 從無到有 / 从无到有 ― cóng wú dào yǒu ― start from nothing, from scratch
- † Alternative form of 毋 (wú, “do not”).
- without, -less, un-
- 無情 / 无情 ― wúqíng ― heartless
- 無理 / 无理 ― wúlǐ ― unreasonable
- 無邊 / 无边 ― wúbiān ― unlimited
From Sanskrit नमस् (namas).
- Only used in 南無／南无.