Other common words include xiānrén (仙人 sennin in Japanese, "immortal person; transcendent", see Xiānrén Dòng), xiānrénzhăng (仙人掌 "immortal's palm; cactus"), xiānnǚ (仙女 "immortal woman; female celestial; angel"), and shénxiān (神仙 "gods and immortals; divine immortal"). The circa 200 CE Shiming, a Chinese dictionary that provided word-pun "etymologies", defines xiān (仙) as "to get old and not die," and explains it as someone who qiān (遷 "moves into") the mountains." Edward H.Besides humans, xiān can also refer to supernatural animals. "fox spirit") "fox fairy; vixen; witch; enchantress" has an alternate name of húxiān 狐仙 (lit. Schafer (194) defined xian as "transcendent, sylph (a being who, through alchemical, gymnastic and other disciplines, has achieved a refined and perhaps immortal body, able to fly like a bird beyond the trammels of the base material world into the realms of aether, and nourish himself on air and dew.)" Schafer noted xian was cognate to xian 䙴 "soar up", qian 遷 "remove", and xianxian 僊僊 "a flapping dance movement"; and compared Chinese yuren 羽人 "feathered man; xian" with English peri "a fairy or supernatural being in Persian mythology" (Persian pari from par "feather; wing").As far as the search for good fortune went, he didn't fret and worry.He escaped the trouble of walking, but he still had to depend on something to get around.James Legge) Needham and Wang (194) suggest xian was cognate with wu 巫 "shamanic" dancing.Paper (19) writes, "the function of the term xian in a line describing dancing may be to denote the height of the leaps.For a character analysis, Schipper (194) interprets "'the human being of the mountain,' or alternatively, 'human mountain.' The two explanations are appropriate to these beings: they haunt the holy mountains, while also embodying nature." The Classic of Poetry (220/3) contains the oldest occurrence of the character 僊, reduplicated as xiānxiān (僊僊 "dance lightly; hop about; jump around"), and rhymed with qiān (遷)."But when they have drunk too much, Their deportment becomes light and frivolous—They leave their seats, and [遷] go elsewhere, They keep [僊僊] dancing and capering." (tr.
Xian (仙) occurs in the Chunqiu Fanlu, Fengsu Tongyi, Qian fu lun, Fayan, and Shenjian; xian (僊) occurs in the Caizhong langji, Fengsu Tongyi, Guanzi, and Shenjian. Undo the mind, slough off spirit, be blank and soulless, and the ten thousand things one by one will return to the root—return to the root and not know why.When the world has the Way, he joins in the chorus with all other things.When the world is without the Way, he nurses his Virtue and retires in leisure.Two linguistic hypotheses for the etymology of xian involve Arabic and Sino-Tibetan languages.Wu and Davis (194) suggested the source was jinn, or jinni "genie" (from Arabic جني jinnī).
Xian semantically developed from meaning spiritual "immortality; enlightenment", to physical "immortality; longevity" involving methods such as alchemy, breath meditation, and tai chi, and eventually to legendary and figurative "immortality". They dwell apart from the chaotic world of man, subsist on air and dew, are not anxious like ordinary people, and have the smooth skin and innocent faces of children.