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17

The reading ゆうべ comes from the still-in-use word 夕べ(ゆうべ), which apparently came from an old reading for 夕方(ゆうへ)(today usually read ゆうがた). The kanji are just "gikun" (義訓), that is, they're used for their meaning only and their reading is ignored. The word 今日 was originally read けふ, which anybody who has read the iroha-uta probably knows. You can also still ...


12

According to this okwave post, さよう was originally written as 然様{さよう}. It says that さよう has the meaning of そのよう/そう and that the 左 in 左様{さよう} is an 当{あ}て字{じ} (a Kanji used as a phonetic symbol, rather than for it's meaning.) In other words, the meaning doesn't have anything to do with 左, it's uses that character because of it's reading/pronunciation.


11

The usage of 五月蝿い in the present day is not cut-and-dry. It is not an entirely abandoned spelling, but how common it is depends on the field. Fact 1: Because 蝿 is not in the 常用漢字 list, editors of materials that stick to the list when possible (newspapers, materials for kids + learners, many other "regular" publishers, etc.) will not use it. Now, for some ...


11

I don't have a full answer here (at least not yet), but I do want to note that the kanji here are definitely not any kind of ateji - they are actually the exact opposite, a gikun (義訓 - 'meaning reading'), since 山 has no reading わさ, and 葵 has no reading び. That means the etymology of the word わさび itself is unrelated to the etymology of the kanji わさび, and ...


10

That's just ateji「当て字」, but they used like that because 滅茶滅茶 related with 滅茶苦茶/無茶苦茶 (muchakucha) and base word is 無茶, There is some saying that 無茶 supposed to mean お客さんにお茶を出さない。 (No o-cha?) (Don't provide tea to customer, which is unreasonable just like 無茶苦茶. But meaning from 当て字 are not suppose to be used, so above is wrong approach. There is also ...


9

At this point, there is no final, airtight answer to the question of whether the /na/ in /kaNnazuki/ and /minazuki/ is related to /nai/ ("nothing", "no ~") or /no/ (genitive particle) because the matter has not been settled definitively. We can say that the "genitive particle" explanation (giving "month of water" and "month of gods", rather than "... of no ...


8

First, 無茶 wouldn't be interpreted as bad tea. 無 means "no" as in "nothingness," not bad. As such, one might be led to believe that this is something about not having any tea to give to guests or something, and that situation being where the term came from. This is not true. The kanji 無茶 are ateji. This means that the kanji were chosen arbitrarily based on ...


6

The act of assigning kanjis to words that ignore kanji's meaning is called 当て字 (ateji), and that has a long history. According to Wikipedia article on 当て字, this was very common in the past because the language used to rely on Kanji/Hiragana boundary to help distinguish nouns, verbs, etc from particles. The article is full of great examples like 珈琲, 滅茶苦茶, and ...


6

The real pronunciation of 昨夜 is sakuya 「さくや」. ゆうべ is supposed to be written as 夕べ, but since they have same meaning, people just use the same. 今日 is read as きょう for normal everyday usage, but it could be read as こんにち or こんじつ when writing, and could sometimes mean "this days" or "on this era".


5

Here is the list, I've filterd from dictionary with a script, and added links to jisho.org for reference. Regarding commonness, I would choose some like 伊勢海老, 回転寿司, 有耶無耶, 大馬鹿者, 我武者羅, 興味津津, 一人相撲, 滅茶苦茶, 読売新聞. 「浅草海苔」 あさくさのり 「彼方此方」 あちこち 「阿仏利加」 あふりか 「亜刺比亜」 あらびあ 「亜爾加里」 あるかり 「安母尼亜」 あんもにあ 「如何様師」 いかさまし 「伊勢海老」 いせえび 「稲荷寿司」 ...


5

Wasabi 「山葵」 is jukujikun -(熟字訓 - word reading), which is kind of 当て字、but based on word 「熟語」 level Regarding origin, 語源辞典 says that 山葵's leaf is looks like Hollyhock 葵, so used it such way from Heian-Era 「794年-1185年」 Following are "Three Hollyhocks inside Circle" logo from Tokugawa clan and Wasabi leaf. Note: Images taken from Wikipedia 1, 2


4

Interestingly I can find plenty of places listing it as a name for Australia but none mentioning its origin. I'd assume ateji but who knows... you may want to change the wording of the main question, though. And just to add to your search, this site lists 9 different ways to write Australia. those 9 ateji that i listed on my blog are those that had been ...


4

Etymology There are numerous theories about this. Japanese: The theories restricted to Japanese origins all revolve around the ideas of some larger geographic area that was split into "upper" (-kami or -gami) and "lower" (-shimo) halves. The main theories listed at the JA Wikipedia article on 武蔵国 (Musashi no Kuni) and at the Nihon Jiten page here ...


4

百足 is an ancient Chinese colloquial name for a sort of arthropod. It can be traced to the 6th century document Book of Wei, which includes the passage 百足之蟲,至死不僵,以扶之者眾也 -> "A worm with a hundred feet does not go stiff upon death, since it has many support". The phrase has since found its way into common Chinese idiom in a slightly altered form. The term 百足 ...


4

Not being of Chinese origin does not necessarily imply being ateji (in the sense of only borrowing a kanji's sound with no or hardly any respect to its meaning). 文化、文明、民族、思想 are (according to the Japanese wikipedia) 和製漢語 as well, but do they qualify as ateji? Also 大根 (広辞苑). Conversely, there are words of Chinese origin where each character is used for its ...


4

According to http://gogen-allguide.com/u/urusai.html 五月蝿い is an ateji, from the fact that house flies in May are especially noisy. Note that うるさい is often written in kana and I don't see it written in Kanji very often unless the writer is trying to convey something. Even within native speakers, this is considered to be one of the 難読漢字 (hard to read kanji)


4

I think one of the reason would be politeness, for example あの人知っている? is more polite than あの女 or あの男 in the sense. And the latter has some sarcastic or contemptness. Using 人 with おとこ or おんな can be seen on manga or may be on some lyrics. My understanding of the difference between actual words and furigana is that furigana sometimes refer to colloqial form, ...


4

I have never seen 人 with おとこ or おんな for the furigana, but I've seen plenty of examples when the person would be saying the furigana, but the meaning was further clarified by the kanji used. For example, in Deadman Wonderland, it quite often has the letters DW with the furigana ここ because the person said 'here' but was referring to the entire park.


3

I don't think that the kanji have any specific meaning and are just used for their sounds, ergo Ateji.


3

I'm just basically going to summarize the references from user3169. Until now I've never known that フケ can be written as 雲脂/頭垢. I don't think either form is common in ordinary use of the language, as it is normally written in Katakana. But at the same time they are clearly recognized well enough to be on Wikipedia. According to 語源由来辞典, 雲脂 is 当て字 that most ...


2

[世話]{せわ} is a [和製漢語]{わせいかんご}, a Japan-made, Chinese-looking word. It does not exist in Chinese even though it is an on-reading word. Thus, the kanji combination「世話」is only an ateji.


1

http://www.geocities.jp/holmyow/mukade.html This document seems saying the use of 百足 is at least as old as in the 10th century. So if this research is correct, it shouldn't be considered as a calque from the western languages. (But I'm not sure about the reliability of this document.)


1

This is one of a few words that use kanji chosen purely for their meaning, rather than sound. Unfortunately, you just have to know about these words and not pronounce them as written. Fortunately, such words are rare. Other examples: 煙草: タバコ, cigarettes 二十: はたち, twenty (years old)


1

10月 is 神無月. I think that the original meaning of 神無月 is 神無月- "the month when there are no gods". In Japanese ancient story , all the gods attend the meeting that held in Shimane prefecture (島根県-しまねけん)in (10月)10th lunar month. So there is no god in other parts of the country. But , for the people of Shimane prefecture(島根県-しまねけん),(10月) 10th lunar month is ...


1

I've seen the spelling 煩い too, but うるさい seems the most common one to me.



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