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匂い (におい) refers to a fragrance, or something that is nice-smelling. As far as I know, this kanji is only used for this word in Japanese.

I notice that the character 匂 is uncommon. The usage of 匂 is rare even in Chinese, where it is a variant of the character 匈. 匈 is used to refer to the ancient Huns, or modern-day Hungarians. It was originally used to refer to the chest area of a human, before being replaced by 胸.

How are Hungarians or chests related to a fragrant smell?

  • 2
    匂 is a corruption of the right hand side of 韵 (the Chinese variant of 匈 is of an identical shape but unrelated in origin), but I'm unable to find a consistent explanation as to why 韵 became associated with におい... – dROOOze Jun 23 at 12:43
  • @dROOOze where did you discover this relationship between 匂 and 韵? – Axel Tong Jun 23 at 13:57
  • you can google something like 匂 字源, many front-page links say this. I used 大漢和辭典. – dROOOze Jun 23 at 14:00
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This page states:

国語で、おもむき(余韻〈韵〉)を「におい」ということから、韵の省略形の勻(いん)の字形を変えたもの。

I had to find the proper glyph to copy from searching 余韻.

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