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中止 literally means to stop halfway (中で止まる). 中止 in Chinese also only means to terminate something already started. How did 中止 get the meaning of cancelling something not started at all in Japanese?

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    Isn’t it just a question of when you consider it started?
    – aguijonazo
    May 29, 2023 at 7:46
  • @aguijonazo not really, if you look at the dictionary definition of 中止 you have: 中途でやめること。また、予定されていたことをとりやめること。Another difference in nuance is that 中止 implies that whatever stopped will not be restarted in Japanese, whereas in Chinese it can be restarted. For the latter, one would rather use 停止 in Japanese, although this cannot be used for planned, future things. As for why Japanese acquired this nuance (or perhaps, Chinese lost that nuance ;) ), I have no idea...
    – a20
    May 29, 2023 at 15:43
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    @a20 - I don't know which part is "not really". You can't cancel something you haven't even planned to do. That's also true with 中止. You need to have done 予定 as the dictionary says. If you see the planning stage as the start, it makes complete sense.
    – aguijonazo
    May 29, 2023 at 16:01
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    I can't agree with the argument on the definition of "start". We say "the match is scheduled to start at XX:XX". It's scheduled doesn't mean it has started. May 29, 2023 at 18:04

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As aguijonazo pointed out, when the Japanese use the term 中止 for an event that has not yet opened, it means that all the planning, preparation, and processes that were already started to make the event happen have come to an abrupt end. This makes perfect sense, at least from a Japanese perspective; for most events, the duration of the preparation and promotion of the event is much longer than the actual duration of the event itself (which is typically only a few hours or days).

So it's merely a matter of what is regarded as the "start". I've never even heard the opinion from a Japanese speaker that we shouldn't call it a 中止 because it hasn't officially opened yet. Such an opinion sounds fairly strange and cruel to a Japanese speaker. (I don't know the specific history of when this discrepancy originated in history, but it's not at all surprising, is it?)

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