Phono-semantic compound (形聲, OC *ŋrans): semantic 辶 (“walk”) + phonetic 言 (OC *ŋan).
The character was originally a verb meaning “to meet”, whose modern pronunciation is yàn. It was later borrowed for the proximal demonstrative “this/here”, by a confusion in medieval handwriting with 遮 (zhē, “this”).
遮 archaic者 archaic只 archaic拓 archaic迓 (liá; yá) Hakka邇／迩 (liá; yá) Hakka即 (chit) Hokkien
First attested in the Tang Dynasty; etymology unclear. Proposed etymologies:
- From 者 (OC *tjaːʔ, “one which”) (Lü, 1985). Wang (1990) notes that 者 always occurs after what is referred to, where as 這 always before.
- 者 (OC *tjaːʔ, “one which”) > 者 (MC t͡ɕiaX, “this (possessive case)”) > 者 (MC t͡ɕiaX, “this (general demonstrative)”) > Mandarin 這 (zhè).
- From 之 (OC *tjɯ, “this; it”) (Wang, 1990). Norman (1988) notes that this derivation would be phonologically problematic.
- this; these
― Kàn zhè běn shū.
― Read this
― Zhè shì yī ge lǎo gùshì.
is an old story.
- Synonym of 這樣／这样 (zhèyàng, “like this; such”).
― Zhè kě bùxíng!
is not okay!
- at this moment; right away; at once
― Wǒ zhè jiù qù.
― I'll go now
- filler particle usually used when the speaker is tongue-tied.
- meaningless particle in a sentence.
Original meaning of this character. It is part of the 迎 (OC *ŋaŋ, *ŋraŋs, “to face, to meet”) word family; see there for more.
- † to welcome; to greet; to receive