征 is composed of 彳, with 正. From our past a few lessons we have prepared ourselves with sufficient knowledge to guess its meaning.
正 originally means "walking towards the target place", Chinese ancestors added 彳to emphasise the extra meaning as "along the road" and "in a straight line". Thus Chinese ancestors created 征 to describe the scene of "an army marching in a straight line towards the target". So 征 was to mean campaign.
As 正 also contains the meaning of right, so 征 is normally used in cases of military campaign for righteousness and justice, its purpose is to correct the wrong-doings of the enemy. Comparing to 征, when the purpose of a war is purely for plunders, another character 伐 would be used, which we can get to later.
Some linguists argue that 正 was created originally for the meaning of 征, however 正 was borrowed to mean right and straight, Chinese ancestors then added 彳to 正 to create 征.
正 is also the phonics part of 征 that we would not be surprised to know 征 pronounces zhēng， while 正 pronounces zhèng.
Examine its evolution history can always help our understanding of 征 properbly, even its subtle implications in different usage scenarios, as what we figured out above. (image taken from http://www.vividict.com/)
|Learn one Chinese Character a day - 征|
And another character in the image - 徵, has the same meaning of 征. We can get back to it later when we are prepared.
And in preparation for a military campaign, solders need to be recruited or convened, 征 is extended to mean recruit or recruitment / convene as well.
Now it is time to enjoy a Chinese calligraphy with 征 inside: