When trying to find the word for 'control' a whole heap of answers came up, a lot of them having similar meanings and usages.

I've summarised the main ones I'm having difficulty understanding the difference between meaning and usages below, could anyone explain?


If you could provide example sentences that would be appreciated!

  • 3
    Where have you looked these up? My old print edition of a Japanese-English dictionary makes a few of these quite clear. If that hasn't worked for you, have you tried looking in and Japanese-to-Japanese dictionary? Have you tried Goo: for example 控える
    – A.Ellett
    Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 18:19
  • @A.Ellett I just searched them into a dictionary and they came up with 'control', when looking at the example sentences I didn't understand the difference. Thank you for the suggestion though Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 23:32
  • I very much lament the online resources for looking up Japanese into English. Jisho's sample sentences seem little more than random collections. Yet, my old print editions are chuck full of information. I used to actually memorize the example sentences since they were quite illustrative. Early on, my native Japanese dictionaries were too dense to make much headway with, but I got a middle schooler level dictionary. Occasionally there were example sentences, but the key feature were common words clearly defined and easily understood. If you can get an old print dictionary, I recommend it.
    – A.Ellett
    Commented Nov 24, 2023 at 0:21
  • I suggest looking up glosses of the individual kanji to get a sense of the idea in each ideograph. For example, 抑制 uses the 抑 of 抑える and the 制 of 制御, and the corresponding ideas are something about limiting (in particular, by "pushing back" on something that would naturally creep forward) and something about being systematic (in the way that a code of law is). Commented Nov 24, 2023 at 1:22
  • 1
    @jarmanso7 I'm not sure what to recommend. Those dictionaries would be over 30 years old at this point, but through repeated moves they've become lost. However, I was able to find the following 例解新国語辞典, however it doesn't provide, as best I can tell, pitch-accent information. Nevertheless, the format is very similar to what my dictionaries were like.
    – A.Ellett
    Commented Nov 24, 2023 at 21:10

1 Answer 1


You should look up each word in a dictionary again. You can quickly realize that these are different words with different basic meanings.

  • 抑制: suppression (activity/emotion)
  • 制御: handling; management (system)
  • 掌握: holding (heart; organization)
  • 操作: operation (machine)
  • 支配: domination (place/organization)
  • 統制: regulation (by order/rule)
  • 控える: to refrain
  • 抑える: to suppress

抑える and 抑制 are indeed similar, but these are a pair.

(By the way, the Japanese verb みる corresponds to many English words including watch, nurse, attempt, gaze, investigate and so on. To me, your question looks similar to asking someone about the differences between these words. You can first try to research it yourself!)

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