from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.
- noun The written form of Chinese from about the fifth century BC to the end of the Han dynasty in AD 220.
- adjective Of or relating to Classical Chinese.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
- proper noun The written Chinese language used from the Zhou Dynasty (1045 BCE) (especially the Spring and Autumn Period), through to the end of the Han Dynasty (220 CE). In Chinese, 古文 ("Ancient Writing") or, formally, 古典漢語 ("Classical Chinese"). The language of many classics of Chinese literature.
- proper noun The written Chinese language used from the Zhou Dynasty (1045 BCE) to the early 20th century.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Whatever grammatical rules were in place seemed fairly opaque to me, and most of the language made quite deliberate use of the tolerance for ambiguity that is inherent in Classical Chinese syntax see the entire discussion above.