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ChineseEdit

male unicorn female unicorn
simp. and trad.
(麒麟)
alternative forms 騏驎 obsolete
麒麐 obsolete
 
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麒麟 (qilin)

EtymologyEdit

Qilin was a propitious beast in ancient Chinese mythology, with the shape of a deer, tail of an ox, a single horn and scales all over its body. Old Chinese pronunciation for this word was *g(ɯ)-rin (Zhengzhang), and in pre-Qin times the beast was also referred to as

  • (OC *rin),
  • (OC *m·rin, *m·rins),
  • 𪊓, or
  • (OC *peds),

the last two having been attested in the oracle bone script already. This is much debate as to what animal the qilin beast was; some maintain that the qilin was a beast only found in mythology, even though it may have been based on some animal in pre-historic times, and some argue that the qilin was in reality the river deer, the ox or cow, or the Indian rhinoceros (Wang, 2009).

During the SongMing Dynasties, the giraffe was introduced to China, either by envoys from other Asian or African countries, or through Zheng He who commanded multiple expeditionary voyages to Asia and Africa (Zhang, 2007). Besides using the transcription 祖剌法 (zǔlàfǎ) (from Arabic زُرَافَة(zurāfa, giraffe)) to name the animal, the Chinese also referred to it as qilin, believing it was the prototype of the mythological beast qilin. Such association may be due to the phonological similarity of the words for “giraffe” in North African languages, to the pronunciation of 麒麟 (MC ɡɨ liɪn) at the time (i.e. a phono-semantic matching) (Zhang, 2007). Compare:

Somali geri (giraffe), Sango kôlo, Amharic ቀጭኔ (ḳäč̣ne), Kazakh керік (kerik), Mursi kirin[1] and Arabic زَرَافَة(zarāfa), زُرَافَة(zurāfa) (whence English giraffe).

The “giraffe” sense of 麒麟 is obsolete in modern Chinese, but is preserved in the Sinoxenic loanwords in Japanese ( () (りん) (kirin)) and Korean (기린). In modern Vietnamese (kì lân), this word refers to the beast qilin, as well as the western mythological beast unicorn.

PronunciationEdit



Rime
Character
Reading # 1/1 1/1
Initial () (30) (37)
Final () (19) (43)
Tone (調) Level (Ø) Level (Ø)
Openness (開合) Open Open
Division () III III
Fanqie
Reconstructions
Zhengzhang
Shangfang
/ɡɨ/ /liɪn/
Pan
Wuyun
/ɡɨ/ /lin/
Shao
Rongfen
/ɡie/ /ljen/
Edwin
Pulleyblank
/gɨ/ /lin/
Li
Rong
/ɡiə/ /liĕn/
Wang
Li
/ɡĭə/ /lĭĕn/
Bernard
Karlgren
/gi/ /li̯ĕn/
Expected
Mandarin
Reflex
lín
Zhengzhang system (2003)
Character
Reading # 1/1 1/1
No. 9956 8201
Phonetic
component
Rime
group
Rime
subdivision
0 1
Corresponding
MC rime
Old
Chinese
/*ɡɯ/ /*rin/

NounEdit

麒麟

  1. (Chinese mythology) qilin (propitious mythological beast) (Classifier: )
  2. (figuratively, literary) outstanding person; man of ability
  3. (obsolete) giraffe (ruminant of the genus Giraffa)

SynonymsEdit

Derived termsEdit

DescendantsEdit

Sino-Xenic (麒麟):
  • Thai: กิเลน (gì-leen)
  • Proper nounEdit

    麒麟

    1. () Qilin District (district in Qujing, Yunnan province, China)
    2. () Qilin (a town in Zongyang, Tongling, Anhui, China)

    ReferencesEdit

    1. ^ David Turton, Mozes Yigezu, Oilsarali Olibui, Mursi-English-Amharic Dictionary, 2009

    JapaneseEdit

     麒麟 (mythology) on Japanese Wikipedia
     
    麒麟 (kirin): the statue of a qilin, also known as the Chinese unicorn.
     キリン (giraffe) on Japanese Wikipedia
     
    麒麟 (kirin): a giraffe.
    Kanji in this term

    Jinmeiyō
    りん
    Jinmeiyō
    on’yomi

    Alternative formsEdit

    EtymologyEdit

    From Middle Chinese 麒麟 (MC ɡɨ liɪn).

    PronunciationEdit

    NounEdit

    麒麟 (hiragana きりん, katakana キリン, rōmaji kirin)

    1. (mythology, Chinese mythology) a qilin
      • 2010 May 23, Aoyama, Gosho, “FILEファイル. せいりゅう [FILE 5: Azure Dragon]”, in めいたんていコナン [Legendary Detective Conan], volume 68 (fiction), Tokyo: Shogakukan, →ISBN:
        それは (どう) (ぶつ)のキリン! (もん) (だい) () (りん)は… (ぜん) (しん) () (いろ) (うろこ) (おお)われていて、姿 (すがた)鹿 (しか) (うし) () (うま) (ひづめ) ()ち、 (りゅう) () (あたま)から (いっ) (ぽん) (つの) ()えてる… (ちゅう) (ごく) (でん) (せつ) (じょう) (しん) (じゅう)だよ!
        Sore wa dōbutsu no kirin! Mondai no kirin wa… Zenshin ga kiiroi uroko de ōwarete ite, sugata wa shika, ushi no o to uma no hizume o mochi, ryū ni nita atama kara ippon tsuno ga haete ru… Chūgoku no densetsu jō no shinjū da yo!
        That’s giraffekirin the animal! The qilinkirin we’re talking about… has a deer-like body covered in golden scales, with a cow’s tail and a horse’s hooves, and with a single horn growing from its dragonish head… It’s a mythical beast from Chinese legends!
    2. (shogi) the kirin, a piece in chūshōgi and larger shogi variants
    3. a giraffe (mammal)
      • 2010 May 23, Aoyama, Gosho, “FILEファイル. せいりゅう [FILE 5: Azure Dragon]”, in めいたんていコナン [Legendary Detective Conan], volume 68 (fiction), Tokyo: Shogakukan, →ISBN:
        それは (どう) (ぶつ)キリン (もん) (だい) () (りん)は… (ぜん) (しん) () (いろ) (うろこ) (おお)われていて、姿 (すがた)鹿 (しか) (うし) () (うま) (ひづめ) ()ち、 (りゅう) () (あたま)から (いっ) (ぽん) (つの) ()えてる… (ちゅう) (ごく) (でん) (せつ) (じょう) (しん) (じゅう)だよ!
        Sore wa dōbutsu no kirin! Mondai no kirin wa… Zenshin ga kiiroi uroko de ōwarete ite, sugata wa shika, ushi no o to uma no hizume o mochi, ryū ni nita atama kara ippon tsuno ga haete ru… Chūgoku no densetsu jō no shinjū da yo!
        That’s giraffekirin the animal! The qilinkirin we’re talking about… has a deer-like body covered in golden scales, with a cow’s tail and a horse’s hooves, and with a single horn growing from its dragonish head… It’s a mythical beast from Chinese legends!

    Usage notesEdit

    As with many terms that name organisms, this term is often spelled in katakana, especially in biological contexts, as キリン.

    SynonymsEdit

    Derived termsEdit

    Proper nounEdit

    麒麟 (hiragana きりん, katakana キリン, rōmaji Kirin)

    1. a brand of beer

    ReferencesEdit

    1. ^ 1998, NHK日本語発音アクセント辞典 (NHK Japanese Pronunciation Accent Dictionary) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: NHK, →ISBN
    2. ^ 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, →ISBN

    KoreanEdit

    Hanja in this term

    NounEdit

    麒麟 (girin, McCune-Reischauer: kirin, Yale: kilin) (hangeul 기린)

    1. Hanja form? of 기린 (giraffe; qilin).

    VietnameseEdit

    Hán tự in this term

    NounEdit

    麒麟

    1. Hán tự form of kì lân (qilin).