An Etymology worth knowing…

There’s a word; 矛盾, (máodùn) made up of two characters; the former meaning spear and the latter meaning shield. Together they form the Chinese word for contradiction.

 ‘Spear and shield?’ ‘contradiction?’

Well, the plot thickens when you consider the word’s etymology.

The word stems from a famous story about a blacksmith who forged both spears and shields. He boldly claimed that his spears were so strong that they could pierce any shield, and that his shields were so tough, they were impenetrable to all spears.

It was blatantly obvious that he couldn’t be right in both cases and his customers eased him over the inconsistency in his sales pitch.

The end.

‘xiexie’ for reading



2 comments on “An Etymology worth knowing…

  1. But one cannot do without the other.. almost like yin and yang..two contradictory forces joined together for eternity 🙂

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