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疑 yi2 uncertain, doubt, suspect, disbelieve.

疑 yi2

Uncertain, doubt, to suspect, to disbelieve.

Originally this was the image of a man with a walking stick as a representation of the idea of inquiry as to the proper way.
Later a road was placed to his right to make the idea clearer.
Still later, a foot symbol was added beneath that man to make the basic idea really clear.
An ox also appears in some images again to express the idea of not knowing the way: the man is guiding the ox and neither know the way.
This was then stylized and simplified to its present form.
It’s meaning extended over time to include extensions of the basic idea of uncertainty, lack of knowledge, to include disbelief, doubt, suspicion.
However, it’s core meaning is: uncertainty, implying inquiry.

This is one example where CEDict, which in many respects is very good, doesn’t reflect the Chinese language with perfect accuracy, which is tough since Chinese meanings often carry allusions and extensions not found in Western counterparts.

Uncertain, doubt, to suspect, to disbelieve.

On the left is a stylized and standardized image of a man. The top left is his open mouth asking the way bi3 匕. Yes, that character means spoon, knife, but here it is reused visually. Beneath him is shi3 矢 arrow which represents his body, his hand, and walking stick. Arrows of course represent direction, intention, awareness, focus so this stylization makes sense pictographically (his body) phonetically (sound clue as to pronunciation) and semantically (arrow as symbol of the man on his way, intent on his destination).

On the right is a representation of these ideas: the path he is on, the ox he is guiding, The top right is an inverted arrow: this figure is often used to represent the head, a circle, it’s usually pictographic. Here it is a remnant of the ox which the man is guiding, the ox also does not know the way.

Beneath is the foot figure zhi it represents the idea of his walking, that he is on a road and is also a pictographic remnant / standardization of the ox which was on his right.疑

止 zhi3 stop

路 lu4 road

正zheng1 upright

疋 pi3, ya3


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