One monosyllabic entry in The ABC Chinese-English Comprehensive Dictionary (namespace Ci):
The simple-form character 对 (5 strokes) is an abbrev. of the full-form character 對 (14 strokes), replacing the complex left side of 對 (1st 11 strokes) with 又 (2 strokes).
Note: The simple-form component 又 replaces various different complex full-form components, as in 观/觀, 难/難, 鸡/雞; cf. 又.
The full-form character 對 (14 strokes) is itself an abbrev. of the old form 𡭊 (16 strokes), replacing the old lower-left component 口 (3 strokes) with 一 (1 stroke).
The Shuōwén Seal form of 𡭊 duì ‘answer/respond (in kind, proportionally/appropriately/truthfully)’ is said to combine 丵 zhuó ‘thick/lush/competing brush/growth’ (to be cleared away, explained), with 口 kǒu ‘mouth/speech’, and 寸 cùn ‘measure’ (considered/measured response, cf. 忖); later wr. 對, replacing the old lower-left component 口 ‘mouth’ (as in 舌 ‘tongue’) with 士 shì ‘soldier/scholar’, signifying 事實 shìshí ‘fact’, a factual/truthful response (XK, GY, DYC), not a lie (such as would be punishable by cutting out the tongue).
Note: The answer/response is said to be variable, proportional to the forcefulness of the request/inquiry, just as the sound produced by a bell is proportional to the force with which the bell is struck (DYC); that is, the component 丵 functions here as it does in 業(𤑽𤎸) yè ‘wooden frame with teeth/pegs for hanging bells/drums/chimes’, cf. 业.
Note: In the modern form 對 (14 strokes) two strokes are lost, as the bottom of 丵 blends into 士; the expected stroke count would be 對 (16 strokes) = 丵 (10) + 士 (3) + 寸 (3).
Compare: 怼/懟 duì ‘hate/detest’, in which 对/對 duì ‘rival/opponent/adversary’ (phonosemantic); cf. 對: 敌手, 对手.
Compare: 辛(𨐌) xīn ‘bitter/work hard’; 𨐋(䇂) qiān ‘criminal’ (愆); 言 yán ‘direct speech’.
Older graphs associated with 對/𡭊 perhaps have 土 ‘earth’ instead of 士 (HDZ); cf. 丵.
Compare: 树(樹) shù ‘tree’, in which 对 is an abbrev. of 尌 shù (phonosemantic).
Compare: 黹 zhǐ ‘embroidery’, 菐 pú ‘trivial details’, 叢 cóng, 業 yè (all with 丵 component in SW).
►references: Wieger:102i; Karlgren:AD1140; Hànyǔ Dà Zìdiǎn:1.503.10; Mathews:6562; Bǐshùn Guīfàn:021.1.01; Wáng(1993):101; EDOC:0
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