Why is 师 used to describe army division?

There's expression like一个师, the 师 here refers to army division. What is the origin of this usage? Does it has any relationship with the 师 as "teacher" 老师?

asked 8 years, 2 months ago


1 Answer

This is a good question but hard to answer. I search the origin of the character for you.

Shi 師 originally means "many people" 人眾 in traditional Chinese. In Shuowen Jiezi 《說文解字》, an early Chinese dictionary, Shi 師 refers to two thousand and five hundred people (二千五百人爲師). It seems that Shi 師 as army division appears earlier than Shi 師 as teacher.

But I don't know what's the relationship between the two usage.

Hope that helps.

answered 8 years, 1 month ago


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