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The reason behind 冠 (Guān), 亞 (yà), 季 (Jì)


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Why are Champion, First Runner up, and Second Runner up called 冠军, 亞軍, and 季軍 respectively? These terms originated from the era during reign of 秦二世 (Emperor of Qin 2nd).


During the war between the Qin army and the rebel alliance lead by Xiangyu. The alliance's emperor King ChuHuai once bestowed 宋義 (SongYi), his personal officer the title of 卿子冠軍 (Qīng zi guànjūn) meaning the champion of all army.


亞 in Chinese means inferior or second class. Xiang Yu addressed Fan Zeng as "亚父" meaning second father.


Liu Bang was the third son in his family. During his younger days, he had a name called "劉季" and thus "季" is used to indicate the meaning third.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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Wow, that's an interesting post. Are those terms used in Mandarin Chinese only or do you use these combination of characters in Cantonese as well? I have not heard about them yet, but of course it could just be due to my lack of knowledge.

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These are universally used for both Mandarin and Cantonese. If you watch any awards show be it from Mainland China or Hong Kong, these terms are used to refer Gold, Silver, and Bronze or First, Second, and Third or Champion, Runner up, and Second Runner up respectively.

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  • 1 year later...

I doubt the authenticity of this explanation for  季軍 .

The reason why Liu is called 劉季, is that 季 is always used to denote "the last one" in a family. (The first, second, third and last boy in a family can be called 伯、仲、叔、季respectively) So maybe 季军 has no relationship with Liu Bang, but is used to denote "the last one" of the three winners.

I'm not sure, since there is no available information of how and when the word 季军 came into modern Chinese.

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