Whenever I see 献, I am reminded of 貢献、献金、献立, which implies a meaning of "offering." I checked 文献 and it was defined as "literature, documents." It seems to me that among the 熟語 with 献, this is the odd one out.

Can anyone shed light on the semantic contribution of 献 to 文献? Thank you.

  • 3
    Definitions will sometimes contain the explanations of the etymology directly within them. weblio.jp/content/%E6%96%87%E7%8C%AE
    – Leebo
    Jun 15, 2020 at 5:49
  • 「献」は賢の意。文字として伝えられているものと賢人が記憶しているもの、の意
    – rebuuilt
    Jun 15, 2020 at 10:19
  • Thanks a lot! I will try reading parenthetical notes from now on haha
    – rebuuilt
    Jun 15, 2020 at 10:21
  • Maybe you can ask it in Chinese SE for a better answer. Jun 16, 2020 at 6:50

1 Answer 1


From what I understand it's derived from 論語


And it originally meant "written records and wise men" (as opposed to just written records), but the phrase is now used exclusively to refer to written records.

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