Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

According to WWWJDIC and ALC, 耐性 is used for drug tolerance (e.g., 耐性現象), but 耐容 is used for radiation (e.g. 耐容線量). Based on that, my guess is that 耐性 can be used to express neutral effects like decrease in drug effectiveness, while 耐容 expresses limitations on harm.

Is this a strict distinction? Does the distinction exist at all?

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The kanji 容 carries the meaning "to accept", "to allow". Similar constructs include 許容 容認 容赦 etc. The 容 here is used for the same meaning. I.e. 耐容 does imply how much it can tolerate harm being done. 耐性 on the other hand is neutral.

To recap, 耐性 can be used to refer resistance against both benefit and harm, while 許容 can only be used for resistance against harm:

Benefit: インスリン耐性   -> ok
Harm: 病原菌耐性          -> ok

Benefit: インスリン耐容   -> bad (unless you mean how much insulin one can take)
Harm: 耐容線量           -> ok
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.