Ideogrammic compound (會意): 𤤴 (“two jade”) + 刀 (“knife”) – to cut jade to pieces with knife.
From Proto-Sino-Tibetan *(b/p)ral (“to leave, depart, separate”) (, STEDT). Cognate with Tibetan བྲལ་བ་ (bral ba, “to be separated”), [script needed] ('phral.ba, “to cause to be separated, to separate”), Miju phɑ̆l⁵³ (“to pull (weeds)”), phɹɯl⁵⁵ lɑ³⁵ (“to collapse”), Thulung phal si- (“to collapse”), Burmese ပြား (pra:, “various”), Jingpho pə³¹-ran³¹.
Karlgren (1933) group 班 (OC *praːn), 半 (OC *paːns), and 釆 (OC *brens) into one word family.
Schuessler (2007) also pointed to Austroasiatic comparanda semantically closer to Chinese; such as Khmer [script needed] (rāla, “to spread, extend, distribute”) and Khmer [script needed] (brāla, “to spread”) with causative prefix *p-.
Possibly the same etymon as 斑 (OC *praːn, “variegated”).
- (school) class; group; grade
- (military) squad
- shift; work shift
- Classifier for a group of people.
- Classifier for scheduled forms of transportation, such as flights and trains.