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In my text I read the sentence:


(furigana is from the text)

I understand 大きく, and I understand some words with 巨 like 巨大. However, when I looked up 巨きく in a dictionary, I was unable to find anything.

Why do these kind of readings exist; however, they are not in a dictionary?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Basic furigana means, for 絶対{ぜったい}, 'zettai' is how you read 絶対...period.

For the non-standard cases, think of it basically the same way, but with a little twist: for 巨{おお}きく, 'oo' is how I want you to read 巨.

As a deeper example...


If this is a line of dialogue, the person is saying "I can't trust you", but the implication is that "you" are a thief, and that is why you cannot be trusted.

When the furigana are not standard, in my experience, the furigana is what is said, and the kanji is what is meant. For your example, there's not a lot of difference between 巨 and おお(きい), but it should be basically the same thing: おお is how it's said, but 巨 is the underlying meaning.

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A common one would be 宇宙船{ふね} – Ian May 19 '12 at 2:35
Oh yes, it's something called 当て字 or 当て読み, like... 運命[さだめ], 女性[ひと], 理由[わけ], 生命[いのち], 伝染る[うつる]...right? – user1016 May 19 '12 at 7:50
@Chocolate I don't know, those are pretty common/standard. 巨{おお}きい might be in the same vein as 運命{さだめ} and the like, but I'm not sure the general phenomenon of non-standard furigana would really fit under 当て字 or 当て読み. Cases like the example above, with 泥棒{おまえ}, are more random things, simply invented wherever appropriate to convey a double meaning. – SomethingJapanese May 19 '12 at 17:44
Furigana get used for some very creative purposes in video games, especially RPGs where the fantasy world has its own jargon. In these cases you might even say the construction is backwards: furigana give you a pronunciation of an in-game word, and then kanji underneath give you a meaning for it. – Karl Knechtel May 19 '12 at 19:16

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