Fei: An Etymological Analysis of the Pictogram for ‘Lung’

The word 肺, in a more specific reference to the specific function of this organ system, is classified by the component 巿 po (in its seal script form, composed of the pictographic components grass 屮and eight 八), meaning “abundant foliage in the wind” (this is a clear reference to the anatomical appearance of the lung lobes, as well as to traditional descriptions of this organ: Chinese texts describe them as “leaves”; see Shijing: 東門之楊, 其葉肺肺 “The poplars at the Eastern Gate, their leaves flutter lung-like in the wind;” Neijing: 肺熱葉焦 “When the lung is hot, its leaves become charred”); note that the rain forest with its prolific canopy of leaves is considered to be the lung of the earth.