Why does "仕草" mean "action/gesture"?

trying to look up the etymology on this one came up dry. I get the “doing” part, but why “grass”?


Another way to write しぐさ is 仕種, where 種 can mean “type” or “kind.” Presumably 草 got swapped in for the latter part since it comes to mind as くさ, even though 種 can be read as くさ.

Seemingly illogical replacement of kanji with sound-alikes is common.


Adding to what Leebo already said, Wiktionary explains on the origin of 種 that

Possibly derived from or cognate with (kusa, “grass”), from the way grass is grown from seeds, hence their origin.

It’s hard to attest whether it is a true cognate but at least from the meaning, both have a primary meaning relating to a plant. It might be that 種 didn’t get swapped for ‘illogic’ reasons (hence, as Leebo points out, it’s only ‘seemingly’ so) but because these two are actually pretty similar, not only in sound but also in meaning.


This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.