In Old Chinese, the term conveyed by 主 is cognate with terms conveyed by 朱 豆 斗 投 and 兪, among others. All involve the primary theme Straight and the secondary theme Circle/Mass. 主 is 丶 lamplight plus a massive lamp stand, indicating a lamp stand giving off light ("lamplight" remains the operative concept in the derivative character 炷). Conceptually, 主 represents a stationary object, which led it to acquire the meaning "master" (person of main importance, who remains fixed in one spot). "Master" remains the operative concept in the derivative character 麈.
To grasp the logic in the formation of the other derivative characters 住 拄 注 柱 註 駐 and 黈:
||obsolete element = lampstand
||master; owner; host; Lord; god; main; principal
||people fixed in one spot, likened to an object that remains stationary. "Main" and "principal" are associated meanings (be of primary importance).
||dwell; reside; inhabit; live; stop
||person remaining stationary
||扌/手 hand/action indicator
||(set in place a) prop/support
||set in place a prop or support that keeps another object stationary
||pour into; flow into; concentrate on
||pour liquid into a tubular container, where it becomes and remains stationary. "Concentrate on" is a borrowed meaning.
||pillar; post; support (n.)
||cylindrical pillar, a stationary object
||lamp wick; light/burn; stick of incense
||light source of a lamp
||write down; annotate; comment; interpret
||write down/annotate, fixing words in place; compare 著 and 書
||stop; rest; be stationed; stay
||tether a horse, causing it to become and remain stationary. In Japanese, also the associated meaning "park (a vehicle)."
||leader of a herd; (large species of) deer
||leader of a herd belonging to a large species of deer
||yellow ornament; yellow
||circular yellow ornament suspended from a crown, remaining stationary at and covering the side of the head
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Copyright 2015 Lawrence J. Howell