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if you just look at its configuration, you will have hard time to determine where this word comes from and why it means what it means. but for we fuking guys living in a fuked up world, hehe, we know, we know all too well, this word, what it means, and where it comes from.
if comes from the word king. the king hides inside it deeeply, pretends to be the sun, the person. but it is really the king, with some little secret thing that we chinese even do not know how to describe what it is, i mean that little triangle like thing hide in the lower right of the word.
meaning: ghost; or foreigners in general. for eample japs are called 日本鬼子 even today; (it would be interesting to know how japs call chinese); when chinese refer americans in korean war, they are called 美国鬼子；but the tone and feel are completely different when chinese use 日本鬼子 (extreme hate and some fear) and 美国鬼子 (just funny feel; it has nothing to do with hate or love)。
pronunciation: guei, third tone.
here is an article that accurately shows the chinese mentality towords 鬼 and what it represents in our society today -