Yesterday I went out for lunch with some colleagues and we got to talking about the solar eclipse that had taken place in the morning. I missed it ( still trying to get my eyes open), but one of guy had managed to snap a photo of it.
I asked the Chinese gal who was with us what the Chinese word for eclipse was. She said it was ri shi (日食). I knew that the word ri (日) was sun, but since the Chinese language has 40+ characters that are pronounced shi (and they each have multiple meanings), I asked her which character it was. She said it was 食, which means 'to eat.'
So the word for eclipse in Chinese is "the sun has been eaten."
She told us that it comes from the ancient Chinese belief that an eclipse was actually the sun being eaten by the dragon.
Apparantly, this dragon also has a thing for the moon, since a lunar eclipse is called yue shi (月食) -- "the moon has been eaten."
Did you get a glimpse of the sun being eaten yesterday?
(Thanks to AM for supplying the photo)