The character "渉" and its English Defintion of "ford"

Learners probably gripe about stuff like this every so often, but 渉 and ford are a really strange combination of character and definition when the verb 渡る more commonly uses 渡 (also “ford”).

Though, now that I’m hard pressed after writing all this… I can’t think of any better English definition, I guess 渉 is usually figurative fording (bridging a gap between people like 交渉? problems in communication like 干渉) and 渡 is usually more physical (渡る).

Is the word “ford” for this kanji better than I’m thinking? or is it more we’ve always defined this character in English this way and we can’t do much to change all our English-Japanese dictionaries?

More broadly, have the English words we attribute as meanings to Kanji changed at all over time?

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The first definition of 渉 is ①わたる。川などをわたる

So I feel like the existence of 渡 shouldn’t weigh too heavily against it.

It’s common for many kanji to basically mean the same thing at their core (or nearly the same). It’s true that 渉 isn’t used for the verb much, but it’s also hard to argue it doesn’t have the meaning “ford.”


Fair enough, I guess only using and not sources actually written in Japanese limits my perspective.


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