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This Proto-Sino-Tibetan entry contains reconstructed words and roots. As such, the term(s) in this entry are not directly attested, but are hypothesized to have existed based on comparative evidence.




  • Proto-Sino-Tibetan: *myəy ~ sməy/smyəy (Coblin, 1986)
    • Proto-Tibeto-Burman: *mey (Matisoff, STEDT; Weidert, 1987; LaPolla, 1987; Benedict, 1972)

Comparing Chinese with Proto-Tibeto-Burman *mey is problematic. Sagart (1999) reconstructed the Chinese word as /*m̥ˁɨjʔ/, citing its variant 𤈦 (an ancient Wu dialect word) as the basis for reconstructing a voiceless bilabial initial. This was however revised to a uvular initial in the Baxter-Sagart (2011) system, perhaps in accordance with Zhengzhang (2003). Li (1980) reconstructed it as *hwərX, and commented that it likely came from an earlier *hmərX. The word "fire" is classified by some to belong to the same family as some words meaning "to destroy", represented by . Compare Written Tibetan སྨྱེ་བ (smye ba, (archaic) damaged, impaired, poor quality).

Confer Proto-Tai *ʰmajᶜ (to burn (intr.)) (Thai ไหม้ (mâi), Lao ໄໝ້ (mai)).




  1. fire


  • Old Chinese:
    /*qʷʰˁəjʔ/ (B-S); /*qʰʷaːlʔ/ (ZS) ("fire") (see note)
    and perhaps dialectally
    𤈦 /*m̥əjʔ/ (B-S); /*m̥ɯlʔ/ (ZS) ("(ancient Wu dialect) fire")
    /*m̥ajʔ/ (B-S); /*m̥ralʔ/ (ZS) ("(ancient Qi dialect) fire")
    ( in the oracle bone script)  
    • Middle Chinese: (huɑX)

         Japanese:   (, ​ka)
            Korean:   (, hwa)
            Vietnamese:  hoả

      • Mandarin
        • Beijing: (huǒ, /xu̯ɔ²¹⁴/)
        • Chengdu: /xo⁵³/
      • Cantonese
        • Guangzhou: /fɔː³⁵/
        • Taishan: /fu̯ɔ⁵⁵/
      • Hakka
        • Meixian: /fo³¹/
        • Sixian: /fo³¹/
      • Wu
        • Shanghai: /hɯ³⁴/
    • Min
      • Min Bei
        Jian'ou: /xo²¹/
      • Min Dong
        Fuzhou: /huoi³³/ (colloquial), /huo³³/ (literary)
      • Min Nan
        Xiamen, Taipei: /he⁵³/ (colloquial), /hɔ̃⁵³/ (literary)
        Zhangzhou: /hue⁵³/ (colloquial), /hɔ̃⁵³/ (literary)
        Quanzhou: /hə⁵⁵⁴/ (colloquial), /hɔ̃⁵⁵⁴/ (literary)
        Teochew: /hue⁵²/
  • Himalayish
    • Tibeto-Kanauri
      • Bodic
        • Tibetan
          • Written Tibetan: མེ (me, fire, flame)
      • Lepcha: ᰕᰧ (mi, fire)
  • Tangut-Qiang
    • rGyalrongic
  • Lolo-Burmese-Naxi
    • Lolo-Burmese
      • Burmish
      • Loloish
        • Northern Loloish
          • Yi (Liangshan): ꃆꄔ (mup dut, fire)
  • Karen: *hmeᴮ (Luangthongkum, 2013)

See alsoEdit