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Henshall says that (RŌ, nami) combines “water, river” (water.png) with “good” (). Although originally referred to a particular Chinese river (the Good River, as it happens!), this character later came to mean “wave.” After that, it also acquired the meanings “drift” and “waste” because of the idea that water can lack direction. That’s easy to understand with “drift,” as in this term that originated in samurai days: 浪人 (rōnin: drifter, to wander + person). But the connection between water and waste is less clear. Don’t think of wastewater; instead, in words such as in 浪費 (rōhi: waste, wasteful + to spend), is associated with a waste of time, energy, or money. I suppose one could also use 浪費 to refer to a waste of good water!

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