才 is more a Pictogram in Seal Character than its modern form. The upper long horizontal bar symbolizes the ground while the crossing vertical stroke stands for the main stem of a plant newly coming out of the earth and the other lower and somewhat inclined horizontal line for the germinal branches and leaves of the plant still under the ground. So, the whole character of 才 just presents itself as a little picture of a newly born plant.
本义Original meaning: 草木初生 (plant ) newborn
Lily explains 才 like this:
Having gradually deriving a lot of other meanings in common use, 才 is one of the most frequently used characters in modern Chinese. As a noun, it usually means inborn abilities, a gift or a gifted person, and later it’s also used to indicate acquired talents and a capable person. For example: 才能 (cái néng, ability, capability, talent), 才华 (cái huá, literary or artistic talent), 才子 (cái zǐ, a gifted or talented scholar), and 才女 (cái nǚ, a gifted female scholar). Besides, 才 can also be used as an adverb which commonly means (preceded by an expression of time) not until, or (followed by a numerical expression) only. For instance: 他九点钟才来，太晚了。(He didn’t come until nine o’clock. That was too late.) 现在才八点钟，还早呢。(It’s only eight o’clock, so there’s still plenty of time.)
Reviewer: beatriz martinez
now that i saw this charecter i wonder how many people use it as a different meaning.
AFAICT you've covered all the bases with this awnser!
2L2VZi moment this time I am browsing this website and reading very informative
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