jian1 can be broken into . The first component is xiao3 meaning 'small' (originally the character was drawn as three vertical lines depicting small rain drops). The second component is da1 which means 'big' (a man with arms stretched out). Something that is wide at the bottom and small at the top is 'sharp'.
jian1dao1 means 'sharp knife'.
dao1 is a hieroglyph of a knife.
jian1rui means 'piercing' and literally translates as 'sharp'-'pointed'.
rui is composed of . The first component is jin1 meaning 'gold' and the second component is dui4 meaning 'happy' or 'take away'. A pointed piece of gold is made by stripping pieces off the top.