KANJI: OU kimi (king)

ASCII Art Representation:

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Character Etymology:

This character was once written as the blade of a large battle axe. Over the years, much like the Enlish idiom of something like, "big shot," it became to mean powerful figure, and then eventually it came to mean king.

Other Facts:

One popular but incorrect theory about this meaning of this character was to suggest that the three horizontal lines represented the three orders of heaven, earth, and man united by a all-perfavind force, represented by the single verticle line: hence king. Again, this is thought to be incorrect.

A listing of all on-yomi and kun-yomi readings:

on-yomi: OU
kun-yomi: kimi

Nanori Readings:

Nanori: (none)

English Definitions:

  1. OO, kimi: king, rule, magnate, baron.

Unicode Encoded Version:

Unicode Encoded Compound Examples:

王様 (oosama): king.
王子 (ooji): prince.
女王 (jooo): queen.
王国 (ookoku): kingdom, monarchy.
王朝 (oochoo): dynasty.

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Yeah. A king. We all know what it means--a male monarch who usually isn't of an electible position. Or think we do. But let's play with some etymology, shall we?

King is derived from the Old English cyning, itself from the early Germanic *kuningaz "king" from kundjaz, family. Our word "kin" is from the same root.

Kundjaz then is from the Indo-European gene, which ultimately means "to give birth, beget." The king is then the father of the people he rules; as father, he is both creator and ruler. In essence, a king is then a type of god:

    "In the theory of the Divine Right of Kings, it is also dependent upon the questions of succession and the origin of power: namely, that the successor must be the legitimate offspring of the king; as the king derives his power from God, this power is then passed on to the succeeding generations through virtue of birth. Moreover, the subject of the king’s body--...and body, particularly its sexual and gendered use... is also important, for the king is both man and state. From medieval times, it was held that, as the crown lawyers of Edward VI say, 'the King has in him two Bodies, viz., a Body natural, and a Body politic. His Body natural... is a Body mortal, subject to all Infirmities that come by Nature or Accident... but what the King does in his Body politic, cannot be invalidated or frustrated by any Disability in his natural Body' (qtd. in Kantorowicz 7)." --my essay "An Ungrateful Soyl"

However, examine the other Indo-European term rêg-, from which rex (Latin), (Irish), and raj (Sanskrit) all descend. Rêg ultimately means "to stretch out; a straight line." From it we get words like region, rule, Reich, and most interestingly religion.

In Indo-European society, there were three castes: the rulers, the warriors, and those involved in food--either shepherds, cowherds, or farmers. (And of course the slaves/untouchables.) These rulers would be not only kings but priests; it was only later that the ruling of the tribe passed from this first caste to the second of warriors. However, we see remnants in Caesar's writings on the Gauls:

    "...of these two orders, one is that of the Druids, the other that of the knights. The former are engaged in things sacred, conduct the public and the private sacrifices, and interpret all matters of religion." 6.13

    "The Druids do not go to war, nor pay tribute together with the rest; they have an exemption from military service and a dispensation in all matters." 6.14

What is worth noticing is that Caesar called the second caste "knights"--eques. Not kings. The rulers were the priestly caste, like the Brahmins of India. In Roman culture, the patriarch of the family was both its ruler and its priest, making sacrifices to the Lares and Penates, the household gods. The father had sway over the life and death of all who lived in his house. This is kingship at its most basic form--he is both god and father.

In Catholocism, the pope is not only leader of the Church on earth, but a temporal ruler of Vatican City, and once the ruler of the Papal States. In Rome, the Emperor was also the Pontifex--the Head Priest--The Pope, related to "papa"--father--"Abba"--God.

In Celtic society, the king must be ritually pure, unblemished in body or soul, or he would lose his right to rule--he would no longer be both a spiritual leader as well as a secular leader. In our own society, the president is condemned even if he transgresses a law which had nothing to do with his governing ability--having mistresses, etc. The king must be ritually pure.

Me, I'm swinging between atheist anarchist and an agnostic who would rather remove herself from the world. No kings, no priests, no gods.

King (), n.

A Chinese musical instrument, consisting of resonant stones or metal plates, arranged according to their tones in a frame of wood, and struck with a hammer.


© Webster 1913.

King, n.[AS. cyng, cyning; akin to OS. kining, D. koning, OHG. kining, G. konig, Icel. konungr, Sw. koning, OHG. kuning, Dan. konge; formed with a patronymic ending, and fr. the root of E. kin; cf. Icel. konr a man of noble birth. . See Kin.]


A chief ruler; a sovereign; one invested with supreme authority over a nation, country, or tribe, usually by hereditary succession; a monarch; a prince. "Ay, every inch a king."


Kings will be tyrants from policy, when subjects are rebels from principle. Burke.

There was a State without king or nobles. R. Choate.

But yonder comes the powerful King of Day, Rejoicing in the east Thomson.


One who, or that which, holds a supreme position or rank; a chief among competitors; as, a railroad king; a money king; the king of the lobby; the king of beasts.


A playing card having the picture of a king; as, the king of diamonds.


The chief piece in the game of chess.


A crowned man in the game of draughts.

6. pl.

The title of two historical books in the Old Testament.

King is often used adjectively, or in combination, to denote preeminence or superiority in some particular; as, kingbird; king crow; king vulture.

Apostolic king.See Apostolic. -- King-at-arms, ∨ King-of-arms, the chief heraldic officer of a country. In England the king-at-arms was formerly of great authority. His business is to direct the heralds, preside at their chapters, and have the jurisdiction of armory. There are three principal kings-at-arms, viz., Garter, Clarencieux, and Norroy. The latter (literally north roy or north king) officiates north of the Trent. -- King auk Zool., the little auk or sea dove. -- King bird of paradise. Zool., See Bird of paradise. -- King card, in whist, the best unplayed card of each suit; thus, if the ace and king of a suit have been played, the queen is the king card of the suit. -- King Cole , a legendary king of Britain, who is said to have reigned in the third century. -- King conch Zool., a large and handsome univalve shell (Cassis cameo), found in the West Indies. It is used for making cameos. See Helmet shell, under Helmet. -- King Cotton, a popular personification of the great staple production of the southern United States. -- King crab. Zool. (a) The limulus or horseshoe crab. See Limulus. (b) The large European spider crab or thornback (Maia sguinado). -- King crow. Zool. (a) A black drongo shrike (Buchanga atra) of India; -- so called because, while breeding, they attack and drive away hawks, crows, and other large birds. (b) The Dicrurus macrocercus of India, a crested bird with a long, forked tail. Its color is black, with green and blue reflections. Called also devil bird. -- King duck Zool., a large and handsome eider duck (Somateria spectabilis), inhabiting the arctic regions of both continents. -- King eagle Zool., an eagle (Aquila heliaca) found in Asia and Southeastern Europe. It is about as large as the golden eagle. Some writers believe it to be the imperial eagle of Rome. -- King hake Zool., an American hake (Phycis regius), fond in deep water along the Atlantic coast. -- King monkey Zool., an African monkey(Colobus polycomus), inhabiting Sierra Leone. -- King mullet Zool., a West Indian red mullet (Upeneus maculatus); -- so called on account of its great beauty. Called also goldfish. -- King of terrors, death. -- King parrakeet Zool., a handsome Australian parrakeet (Platycercys scapulatus), often kept in a cage. Its prevailing color is bright red, with the back and wings bright green, the rump blue, and tail black. -- King penguin Zool., any large species of penguin of the genus Aptenodytes; esp., A. longirostris, of the Falkland Islands and Kerguelen Land, and A. Patagonica , of Patagonia. -- King rail Zool., a small American rail (Rallus elegans), living in fresh-water marshes. The upper parts are fulvous brown, striped with black; the breast is deep cinnamon color. -- King salmon Zool., the quinnat. See Quinnat. -- King's, ∨ Queen's, counsel Eng.Law, barristers learned in the law, who have been called within the bar, and selected to be the king's or gueen's counsel. They answer in some measure to the advocates of the revenue (advocati fisci) among the Romans. They can not be employed against the crown without special license. Wharton's Law Dict. -- King's cushion, a temporary seat made by two persons crossing their hands. [Prov. Eng.] Halliwell. -- The king's English, correct or current language of good speakers; pure English. Shak. -- King'sQueen's, evidence, testimony in favor of the Crown by a witness who confesses his guilt as an accomplice. See under Evidence. [Eng.] -- King's evil, scrofula; -- so called because formerly supposed to be healed by the touch of a king. -- King snake Zool., a large, nearly black, harmless snake (Ophiobolus getulus) of the Southern United States; -- so called because it kills and eats other kinds of snakes, including even the rattlesnake. -- King's spear Bot., the white asphodel (Asphodelus albus). -- King's yellow, a yellow pigment, consisting essentially of sulphide and oxide of arsenic; -- called also yellow orpiment. -- King tody Zool., a small fly-catching bird (Eurylaimus serilophus) of tropical America. The head is adorned with a large, spreading, fan-shaped crest, which is bright red, edged with black. -- King vulture Zool., a large species of vulture (Sarcorhamphus papa), ranging from Mexico to Paraguay, The general color is white. The wings and tail are black, and the naked carunculated head and the neck are briliantly colored with scarlet, yellow, orange, and blue. So called because it drives away other vultures while feeding. -- King wood, a wood from Brazil, called also violet wood, beautifully streaked in violet tints, used in turning and small cabinetwork. The tree is probably a species of Dalbergia. See Jacaranda.


© Webster 1913.

King (?), v. i. [imp. & p. p. Kinged (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Kinging). ]

To supply with a king; to make a king of; to raise to royalty.



Those traitorous captains of Israel who kinged themselves by slaying their masters and reigning in their stead. South.


© Webster 1913.

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