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Why's 貝 (shell, shellfish, money) the semantic component of 貶 (abase, detract; demote, dimiss from office; belittle)?


scherzo
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How do 貝's meanings semantically appertain to 貶's meanings? They look completely unrelated to me! If anything, they feel contradictory! Money usually INCREASES or IMPROVES quality of life. Yes, more money will always make your life better, but that's not all there is to happiness, says new study

 

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The relationship between wealth and happiness has always fascinated researchers. One widely-known bit of research in the past suggested that the magic number is $75,000 per year. You won’t gain more happiness by gaining more than that, it added. But if you’ve had to bear through the pandemic jobless or in a job you hate but had to take, struggling to make ends meet, while watching rich people ‘suffer’ in mansions with gardens or spending their holidays on private islands, you might not put too much stock in that idea.

 

I scanned p. 637 of 汉字源流字典 by 谷衍奎编 (2010). But it's too terse. Can someone please expatiate what semantic notions underlie 貝 and 貶?

 

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I looked up on the Outlier Linguistics Dictionary next time, but it doesn't appear to answer my question.

 

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@scherzo This is the explanation from Pleco Outlier add on. I see you posted multiple topics regarding character’s’ components and original meaning. I highly recommend the Outlier dictionary add on on Pleco. If you find this topic interesting you will definitely get a lot of use out of it. The meanings might not follow your personal logic because the characters are thousands of years old and undergo changes in meanings in some cases. 

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