莫 kanji/radical


-Wanikani, probably

Here’s what I wrote about the character as a community mnemonic:

This character originally meant “sunset” and represented the sun sinking into bushes (the bottom bushes distorted into 大, see here on Wikitionary to see its evolution from bone script). It ended up being used phonetically to represent the grammar word for “there is none” since both words were almost pronounced the exact same. To make it clear when it does actually represents the original meaning of a sunset, a second sun was added to create the new kanji 暮 which you’ll see in level 33 (e.g. 暮れる = to get dark). As a result, the original kanji 莫 became the Chinese grammar thing and isn’t used a whole bunch in Japanese, acquiring a vague meaning of “there is none” or “must not”.

The “endless” meaning was really just made up by Wanikani to make 莫大 (huge) easy to remember. It actually literally means that “there is none bigger” (莫大 - Wiktionary)

Source on etymology of 莫 and 暮: The Complete Guide to Japanese Kanji by Christopher Seeley and Kenneth G. Henshall
Also cross-checked on “The Outlier Dictionary of Chinese Characters” by Outlier Linguistics

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