What do you think the following word means?
The first kanji, 虚 (KYO, KO, muna(shii)), means “empty” or “false,” as we saw long ago. You may recognize 誕 from 誕生日 (tanjōbi: birthday, to be born + to be born + day), where 誕 means “to be born, birth.” So 虚誕 is a false birth?! No, 誕 has other meanings, and the pertinent one in 虚誕 relates to the original definition of 誕.
In 誕, the radical is 言 (words). That’s not entirely obvious, because every component in 誕 can serve as a radical!
Meanwhile, 延 is “to stretch, extend,” also acting phonetically in 誕 to express “big.” With “big, stretched words,” you have bragging or exaggerations. Thus, 誕 originally meant “deception” or “false.”
That’s the meaning in our star word, as the breakdown indicates:
虚誕 (kyotan: exaggerated talk) false + false
That’s not the whole etymological story, though. The word 降誕 (kōtan: holy birth, royal birth, to descend (from heaven) + birth) originally meant “making a fuss about a holy (or royal) birth.” That makes sense, given the exaggerations inherent in 誕 back then. Consequently, “birth” became an extended meaning of 誕, which we can define in an assortment of ways:
誕 (TAN: to be born, nativity, false, to be arbitrary)
“To be born” is now the main meaning, as in 誕生日 and its root:
Causes Eve Kushner Supports
The Milo Foundation, Planned Parenthood, Doctors Without Borders, PCI, FINCA