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Jisho dictionary refers to 汐 as the kanji for eventide, tide, salt water, opportunity. looking in Oxford dictionary, eventide means The end of the day; evening.

I don't see how 汐 has anything to do with "eventide" apart from the way they look. I am curious to know why it is so commonly referred to as one of the meanings of the kanji?

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    Probably just a Heisig keyword and not a definition… – snailboat Jan 6 at 12:19
  • I see the point. So it is common to see this sort of thing when it comes to kanji? – Quince Blossom Jan 6 at 12:24
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    I don't know where Heisig got the keyword from, but the connection between 汐 and 夕 is more than just a similar appearance. – droooze Jan 6 at 12:25
  • @droooze True! Maybe it is just a sort of step for beginners who are still outside the language. – Quince Blossom Jan 6 at 12:28
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No, it is not correct in the very strictest sense.「汐」means evening tide, and the character is never used to just mean evening.

There's a suggestion that whoever came up with the meaning eventide thought it meant evening tide, but I can't confirm this.


The real story is slightly more complicated. Notice how [潮汐]{ちょうせき} (morning and evening tides) forms an exact analogous pair to [朝夕]{ちょうせき} (morning and evening); in fact, they're cognates in Old Chinese and have become homophones in Japanese. Naturally, this is because there is a tight association between tides and the time of day.

According to Zhengzhang,「汐」and「夕」were both /*ljaːɡ/, so we can view them as representing exactly the same word - that is, there was originally one word for both evening and evening tide, and the different kanji were used to provide the different nuances.

So, while eventide is not correct for the kanji「汐」, it is correct for the word that「汐」represents, which is the same word as that which「夕」represents.


A note on kanji usage: In Japanese,「汐」can sometimes be used as a generic representation of tide, in which case it is interchangeable with「潮」. The word(s) that both「汐」and「潮」represents in this interchangeable case is しお/うしお. However,「汐」shouldn't be used for morning tide, so「あさしお」should not be written as「朝汐」. The reverse isn't true due to Jōyō kanji standardisation:「汐」is not a Jōyō kanji, so「潮」has taken over the function of「汐」for the word(s) しお/うしお. This means that evening tide can be written as「夕潮」, and is the standard Japanese representation.

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    FWIW, according to the Unihan Database Lookup tool provided by the Unicode Consortium, the definition for the character 汐 U+6C50 is "night tides, evening ebb tide", but the kDefinition field is supposed to be pan-CJK, not Japanese-specific... – user27479 Jan 6 at 13:59
  • @Mikaeru edited to address your comment. – droooze Jan 6 at 14:27
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    Speaking of tides, the ocean of 漢字 is not only wide but also quite deep. Thanks a lot for your detailed explanations. いつも勉強になります! – user27479 Jan 6 at 14:34
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    @Mikaeru actually, thank you for reminding me to put that kanji usage note in. I originally answered this question as if it was a Chinese language question, and totally forgot the complications of kun'yomi and Japanese orthography. – droooze Jan 6 at 14:39

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