4.08

xīn

Heart / Mind

Compound characters with 心 Heart Radical and 忄 Heart Radical are usually related to one's feelings or responses

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忐忑 (tǎn tè) Nervous / Fidgety – In Greek mythology, Tantalus was punished to stand in a pool of water (up to his chin) and beneath a fruit tree (branches right above his head) – whenever he tries to drink (bend down) or eat (stretches out), the water and fruit tree recede respectively. The idea of mental torment resulted in words such as Tantal (Italian), Tantale (French), Tantalusqualen (German) and Tantalise (English) to mean "unsettled". When this idea made its way across to the other side of the world, the Chinese created a compound word that made the heart (心) go up (上) and down (下).

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