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Discussion -> Linguistic issues -> What?

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2011-06-01 12:57:14What?
Posted by: bao_pu (Scott Barnwell)One of the meanings given here is "little witch a horse." What is this supposed to mean? "Little witch of a horse"? In Huainanzi 9, Roger Ames translated "蹏马" as "unruly horse."

2011-12-16 11:48:59What?
Posted by: goderichA great question, because a quick search turned up a great number of English definitions - all of them absolutely identical (with the aforementioned "little witch a horse"). The character 蹏 is actually just another way of writing 蹄. If you look it up on this website (these two fellas are in each other's articles) you can see that the meanings are identical, except for the mystical "horse". I have no idea who first made the article and where, but what I do know is that other websites simply copied it without any editing.
Now, what bothers even more is the appearance of the meaning "little witch". There is no such meaning to this character.
My beloved ROC Ministry of Education Dictionary (something of an authority on the Chinese language) gives 3 definitions: 1. hoof (of a horse or cow etc.); animal foot (by extention) 2. a kind of ancient animal trapping device (when used in conjunction with another character in 筌蹄; the article on 荃蹄 mentions that it was used for trapping rabbits) 3. to kick.
I found the phrase you mentioned in the Huainanzi text on this website (I beleive it was 9:16?), and it says 蹄马, not 蹏马, confirming the interchangeability of these characters. In that sentence the meaning of the character would be "to kick", therefore the phrase can be translated as "a horse that kicks" or "kicking horse". "Unruly horse" is a good way of putting it, sounds much better in English while still true to the original text.

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