Ideogrammic compound (會意): 羊 (“sheep”) + 㳄 (“saliva”) – to envy.
羊 may be interpreted as a beautiful sheep or good mutton (cf. 美 “beautiful” and 善 “good”).
The Kangxi Dictionary, following 《佩觿》, enters the word in etymology 2 as 羡, separating it from 羨 (etymology 1). This is also followed by dictionaries such as Hanyu Da Cidian and Dai Kan-Wa Jiten, but Zhongwen Da Cidian disagrees with this treatment. (Hanyu Da Zidian regards 羡 as the main form of all pronunciations.) According to 《說文解字羣經正字》:
羨，貪欲也，今經典往往作羡。郭忠恕《佩觿》分羨、羡爲二字。羡，以脂翻，江夏地名；羨，似面翻，慕也。非也，字書無从次之字，惟一字而數音耳。 [Classical Chinese, trad.][▼ expand/hide]
羡，贪欲也，今经典往往作羡。郭忠恕《佩觿》分羡、羡为二字。羡，以脂翻，江夏地名；羡，似面翻，慕也。非也，字书无从次之字，惟一字而数音耳。 [Classical Chinese, simp.]
- From: 《說文解字羣經正字》, quoted from Zhongwen Da Cidian
- 羨 (Xiàn), tānyù yě, jīn jīngdiǎn wǎngwǎng zuò 羡. Guō Zhōngshù “Pèixī” fēn 羨 (xiàn), 羡 (yí) wéi èr zì. Yí, yǐ zhī fān, Jiāngxià dìmíng; xiàn, sì miàn fān, mù yě. Fēi yě, zìshū wú cóng 次 (cì) zhī zì, wéi yī zì ér shù yīn ěr. [Pinyin]
- 羨, meaning "to covet", is now frequently written as 羡 in the classics. Guo Zhongshu's Peixi distinguishes 羨 and 羡 as separate characters. 羡, fanqie 以脂, name of a place in Jiangxia. 羨, fanqie 似面, to desire. This is not the case. There's no such character with the 次 element in character dictionaries. There is only one character but several pronunciations.
Possibly related to 餘 (OC *la, “surplus”) (Wang, 1982).
- to envy; to admire
- † superfluous; in surplus
- † surplus; affluence
- † to surpass; to exceed
- † abundant; plentiful
- † crooked; evil
- 10th tetragram of the Taixuanjing (𝌏)
- A surname.
- Only used in 沙羨／沙羡.
|For pronunciation and definitions of 羨 – see 延 (“to prolong; to stretch; to extend; etc.”).|
(This character, 羨, is a variant form of 延.)
羨 • (seon, yeon) (hangeul 선, 연, revised seon, yeon, McCune–Reischauer sŏn, yŏn, Yale sen, yen)
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