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The city was first named in 1291 during the Song dynasty. The name means "Above the Sea". Shanghai is a portmanteau of (, ) and (). This name originally referred only to the area of Shanghai City around today's Nanjing Road; it may have been an early reference to either a small island or sandbar across a section of water that belonged to Shanghai County at the time. The ancient character for "above" () resembles two parallel lines, which together resemble 上 (), suggesting that they are an abbreviation and should be interpreted as above sea level rather than on top of sea level. In any case, after this point Old Chinese pronunciation would not support these characters as phonetic components anymore; they were already homophones before losing their meanings due to sound change by some time between late Warring States period and when Middle Chinese became established in its modern form during Tang Dynasty (i.e., sometime between 4th century BC and 6th century AD).