From an earlier form 𥝙, attested in the stone drum inscriptions (石鼓文 (shígǔwén)) from the Warring States period.
Shuowen states that this character was tabooed at that time (2nd century AD) but did not elaborate on its origin, due to it being the birth name of Emperor Guangwu of Han.
Xu Kai (徐鍇), the author of 《說文解字繫傳》 (10th century AD) gave the following explanation: Pictogram (象形): 禾 (“plant”) + 乃, resembling a fruit/an ear hanging off a plant.
According to Chi (2010), the character is an ideogrammic compound (會意): 禾 (“rice plant”) + 引 (“to draw out flowers”) — blooming of a rice plant. The Shuihudi Qin bamboo texts (睡簡) recorded this character as ⿱禾引. The bottom component 弓 found in the stone drum inscriptions is likely a reduction of 引.
May be a causative of 褎 (OC *lɯws, “growth of seedlings”). Compare Proto-Vietic *m-loh (“to blossom”) (whence Vietnamese trổ (“to burst, to open, to display”), lổ (“naked”)), and Khmer លាស់ (lŏəh, “to grow, to blossom, to prosper”).
- † (of plants, especially of crops) to shoot out into ears; earing; ear
― to put forth flowers
but bear no fruit
- † (of plants) to bear fruit
- † (of plants) to blossom
- beautiful; elegant; graceful
― with delicate features
- (especially of a person) outstanding; prominent; extraordinary
― elegant; pretty
Phono-semantic matching of English show.
- to manifest; to show; to display
― talk show
― fashion show
- (show): (Cantonese) 騷／骚 (sou1)