Any question that does not deal specifically with grammar or pronunciation. Includes questions about prefixes, suffixes, compound words, loanwords, dialectal differences, pragmatic usage, etc. In other words, phenomena that occurs at the level of the word.

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4
votes
1answer
289 views

Different meaning of 何?

While reading some lyrics online, I stumbled upon the following phrase: これ以上何を失えば 心は許されるの Which I could myself losely translate as following: If I lose what more (than I already have), will ...
6
votes
1answer
145 views

What's the difference between 向こう and 向こう側?

My textbook (An Introduction to Modern Japanese) introduced 向こう as meaning "the other side of" and 側{がわ} as meaning "side". On page 76 it states that 側 can be added to some, but not all, of these ...
6
votes
1answer
303 views

Can the term メリークリスマス be seen as politically incorrect?

In some countries, some people avoid using "Merry Christmas" and instead say Happy Holidays: Thought by some to be a politically correct alternative to Merry Christmas and/or Happy New Year when ...
6
votes
1answer
186 views

Questions about the term 自殺志願者

My Japanese friend used the term 自殺志願者 jokingly in a journal entry, saying she sometimes wondered if she qualified for such a position. I could not find a specific dictionary definition for this ...
5
votes
2answers
217 views

The origin of one of the usages of 狼{おおかみ}

I was watching the anime かんなぎ, and heard the following line: 男はみんな[狼]{おおかみ}だわ! "Men are all wolves!" I was curious as to what it means to call someone a "wolf", so looked 狼 up in Daijisen and ...
11
votes
1answer
414 views

Is かわいい wago or kango?

かわいい is sometimes spelled in kanji as 可愛い. This seems to be an 音読み reading which points to a Chinese loan, and Chinese does have this word. However, the meaning of 可愛 as "cute" in Chinese seems to ...
3
votes
1answer
327 views

How to say “items remaining from last meeting”?

I am setting up a meeting agenda and of the items is "covering the items left over from last meeting". I though something like "前回のミーティングの残件” Would have worked but it turns out that 残件 isn't a word ...
5
votes
1answer
219 views

Can anyone provide a detailed definition of あんぐり and say if the expression あんぐりと口を開けて is redundant?

あんぐり is defined as such: adverb / noun or verb acting prenominally: open-mouthed 大学の門の前に真っ赤なフェラーリが停めてあるのを見て、アングリした。 I saw a bright red Ferrari parked at the campus gates and my jaw just ...
1
vote
1answer
138 views

What might be the meaning of the word or phrase 'こよかな'

I cannot really comprehend koyokana in the following short sentence: shoppu itte koyokana. What meaning does koyokana give to the "shoppu itte" part. How could I divide koyokana in mind: koyo ka na ...
4
votes
1answer
464 views

How to call a wait pointer in Japanese?

In Japanese, how to call a wait pointer? I am talking about a computer mouse pointer which becomes a spinning wheel or hourglass (depending on the OS) when the application is busy processing ...
5
votes
1answer
121 views

The meaning of kakemawaru 駆け回る

I have been encountering this word kakemawaru 駆け回る a few times. It means running around, If I understand well. Does it mean only physically running around? For example: kids are running around in the ...
4
votes
1answer
282 views

How do I express “to survive” in a more metaphorical sense?

My friend published a multi-part video on Facebook. I wanted to comment "I survived for only one episode", as in "It was so bad I couldn't keep watching after just one episode", but I wasn't sure ...
3
votes
2answers
218 views

Questions on イケてる

イケてる is defined by tangorin as such: noun, or verb acting prenominally: cool;  with-it;  turn-on;  sexy As a noun I can see it as "the state of being cool," as perhaps shown in the following ...
7
votes
2answers
160 views

Questions on the word シクシク

I understand that the word シクシク is 擬声語/giseigo/onomatopoeia equivalent to the English "boo-hoo/boo-hoo-hoo." 恐怖でシクシク泣く To whimper in fear 彼女はボーイフレンドに捨てられた時、あまりの惨めさにシクシクと泣いた。 She wailed in misery ...
1
vote
0answers
640 views

Lingualift review? [closed]

I am Japanese by blood but grew up in the U.S. and never learned the language. The most I have ever learned, actually, are hiragana, katakana and a few kanji. Which was something I forced myself to ...
6
votes
2answers
301 views

“Tourist trap” in Japanese

Assuming such a concept exists in Japanese, how do you say "tourist trap"? Wikipedia describes it as: A tourist trap is an establishment, or group of establishments, that has been created with ...
9
votes
2answers
499 views

Differences between the many words for dinner

According to my dictionary, the following words all mean the same thing: "Dinner": [夜]{よる}ご[飯]{はん}, [晩]{ばん}ご[飯]{はん}, [晩飯]{ばんめし}, [晩食]{ばんしょく}, [夕]{ゆう}ご[飯]{はん}, [夕飯]{ゆうはん(ゆうめし)}, [夕食]{ゆうしょく} A similar ...
17
votes
2answers
3k views

Why does 今度【こんど】 mean “next time”?

The word 今度【こんど】, though its literal meaning is "this time" is in my experience used pretty heavily to refer to tbe next time or some unspecified point in the future. For example: ...
4
votes
2answers
447 views

What does ~と見てよい/~と見ていい mean? How did it have its meaning?

I found these sentences using SPACEALC: The content in parentheses and bolding are my own: まず勝ち試合と見ていいが、成り行き任せでは駄目です。 You'll probably win the game, but that's not automatic. ...
4
votes
2answers
477 views

Why does 皮肉 mean “irony”?

I gather that 皮肉 can literally mean "skin-meat." I also see that one definition for 皮 is "mask (hiding one's true nature);  seeming." So perhaps 皮肉 can be understood as "hiding the real meat," which ...
5
votes
1answer
182 views

Saying northeast, northwest, north-north-east, etc

What would the correct way to write and say northeast, northwest, north-north-east, etc? In Chinese, we put east and west first and then put north or south at the end, for example, 東北 for northeast. ...
9
votes
3answers
635 views

Is しまった an appropriate translation for “Oops”?

In the course of localising an app for the Japanese language I have been tasked with translating the Google-style error string "Oops", which will presumably be used as in Oops Please check ...
5
votes
1answer
192 views

inter- and intra- prefix

What would one use for the equivalent of the "inter-" and "intra-" prefixes in English? e.g. intercity, intracity, inter-server etc I did a fair amount of looking around. 間 looks like it might be ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the longest word in Japanese?

What is the longest (based on their representation in romaji) word in Japanese? Are there any longer than リュウグウノオトヒメノモトユイノキリハズシ? If it depends on criteria for a word, then list them by their criteria. ...
12
votes
1answer
495 views

Difference between さよなら and さようなら

I just saw the word "goodbye" spelt as さよなら. Having clearly heard the long o sound before, I thought the word was misspelled. However, a quick online search shows both さよなら and さようなら being used. Is ...
2
votes
1answer
72 views

meaning of 蠢{うごめ}き[伸]{の}ばして?

It's taken from ひぐらしのなく頃に OP (lyrics can be found here ) I know the meaning of each individual word, but I can't really understand how it works in this context: 鏡の中で蠢き伸ばしてくる無数の手で
3
votes
4answers
182 views

What is the difference between 楽しい and 面白い?

Google translates both of them to be interesting. And which can be used for a funny guy?
9
votes
4answers
392 views

What is the difference in usage between 準備 用意 and 覚悟

The dictionaries translate these three words roughly as preparation/preparedness or ready/readiness. I don't think I undersand the subtleties of their usage. Not to mention できる also has another ...
3
votes
1answer
152 views

Difference between ともあれ and とかく

According to ALC ともあれ とかく they look pretty similar and express "anyway, anyhow". I came across the following excercise where you need to choose between those two: ...
9
votes
1answer
585 views

Describing my exact height

How do I describe my height in centimetres? I think you can say "私は背が高いです" to say that you're tall, but how about your exact height? Would "私は背が190cmです" sound like broken Japanese? I came across ...
3
votes
1answer
146 views

Help with a usage of 自慢

私は彼が自慢だ。 I'm Proud of Him 彼は私が自慢だ。 He is proud of me. I am confused by this pattern with 自慢. It kind of looks like 自慢 is being used as an adjective (?), but the definition in ...
4
votes
2answers
276 views

What is the meaning and etymology of the (slang?) word まめ?

私はあまりまめに書きませんが、ことばを学ぶのは大好きです。 I don't write that well, but I love learning the language. What is the etymology of the word まめ here and what specifically does it mean? My friend gave me this ...
7
votes
1answer
121 views

Usage of 腱 vs 筋

What is the difference between the following characters: 腱 vs 筋 (すじ) Both translate to tendon (as in the connective tissue between muscles and bones)
6
votes
1answer
179 views

の要領で as “in the same way as”/“in the manner of” vs. のように

Full text is over here. This is part of the description of how 茄子餃子{なすぎょうざ} is prepared at a particular restaurant: 天ぷらの要領で水で溶いた小麦粉をつけて中火の油で揚げる。 If の要領で was replaced by のように, would there be any ...
6
votes
1answer
152 views

What is the difference between 口元 and 口?

When talking about the body part (not, for example, entrances/exits), what is the difference between these two words. Based on looking at these two pages (for 口 and 口元) I'm guessing that the ...
4
votes
1answer
126 views

「のれん代」(Goodwill) and 「のれん」 of 居酒屋

Is there any relation between 「のれん代」(Goodwill) and 「のれん」 of 居酒屋? And how about those kanji, are they using same kanji for both? If there are the same kanji, I would like to know their etymology, ...
3
votes
1answer
123 views

Is the term 舞妓 used in all of Japan, or only in certain dialects?

The English language article on geisha says Apprentice geisha are called maiko (舞子 or 舞妓), literally "dance child") or hangyoku (半玉), "half-jewel" (meaning that they are paid half of the wage ...
9
votes
1answer
133 views

Etymology of the term お局 and how it is used in slang

Can someone explain the etymology of the word お局 as well as how it is used in modern slang? I took an educated guess as to the colloquial meaning but am unsure of its nuances, be they comedic, ...
8
votes
1answer
199 views

かかったためしない - how can this be translated?

I encountered the following sentence in a comic book which I could not make sense of. The comic strip depicts a character using a simple bird trap and saying: 「長年やってるけどかかったためしないなあ」 The first part, ...
3
votes
3answers
229 views

'Hearty' in Japanese

How would one say 'hearty' in Japanese? As in hearty meal, for example.
2
votes
2answers
208 views

前 as a counter word?

お客:寿司を五人前届けてもらいたいんですが。 寿司屋:かしこまりました。 Is 前 being used as a counter word here? If so, what meaning of 前 is being assumed as a counter--perhaps the serving placed "before" a person?
5
votes
3answers
242 views

Why use 数年 in あれから10数年?

My question is on 「あれから10数年」. My understanding is that this translates to roughly, "It's been 10 years since then." The dictionary says「数年」 means "several years" or "a number of years". How does ...
4
votes
2answers
217 views

What does 血のしょんべん mean?

I'm trying to figure out what 血のションベン means. I understand the individual words and literal meaning. So assuming it doesn't mean "bloods urine", what does this mean? Perhaps the full sentance is ...
7
votes
1answer
178 views

What's the difference between 平行 and 並行?

They both seem to mean "parallel". In my プログレッシブ dictionary, it seems to point to the former being the more mathematical sense of the definition (two co-planar, non-intersecting lines), while the ...
0
votes
1answer
186 views

How to say “It's not a lie if you believe in it” in Japanese [closed]

Eijiro doesn't have the definition so I thought I'd ask here
8
votes
2answers
289 views

What しかりだ does mean?

I need to know what しかりだ does mean. I couldn't find over internet a satisfactory meaning. It is from a manga called Saint Seiya. Here is the whole text: 黄金聖闘士 十二人とはいえ まだ幼い者が かなり多い シルバーセイント ...
3
votes
2answers
247 views

Is ruby text essential?

I am trying to understand whether the ruby text in ancient scripture is essential to the meaning of a verse, or if the scripture can be understood without it. For instance, can this verse: be ...
6
votes
1answer
164 views

What's the difference between いつだって and いつでも?

Pretty simple, like the title says, what's the difference between いつだって and いつでも? I can tell there's a little difference, but it's so very difficult for me to pin down.
8
votes
1answer
84 views

How is 発行 different from 刊行?

Also, how does 発刊 fit into all of this? Is it that 発行 can be used for magazines, newspapers and books while 刊行 can't be used for newspapers?
13
votes
3answers
334 views

神様がある vs. 神様がいる

I was wondering if there's a difference in usage between 神様がいる and 神様がある. In both cases, I mean specifically the meaning "There is a God", either as a statement of the kind "God exists", or as in ...