I often see 浮く in contexts relating to floatability, like:


However, sometimes I see 浮く used where I'd use 浮かぶ. When should one be used over the other? Are there any cases where both are acceptable?

  • You should add 浮かべる too.
    – istrasci
    Dec 28, 2013 at 2:36
  • Can it's meaning not be deduced from 浮かぶ? Dec 29, 2013 at 15:00

1 Answer 1


浮く to float, float to the surface. 「魚が浮いた」 「泡が浮く」 「木が水に浮く」 「空に浮く」

浮かぶ to be floating at a surface, float with no movement (think of the かぶ like ~ている)。 「氷が浮かぶ」 「白雲が浮かぶ」

  • To whoever down voted me, this is how my Japanese-Japanese dictionary explains it (大辞林).
    – Jon
    Jan 4, 2014 at 12:04
  • Does your dictionary say 魚が浮た, not 魚が浮いた? (ところでダウンボートしたの私じゃないです)
    – user1016
    Jan 6, 2014 at 1:22
  • @Jon: It seems to me like 浮く is simply an antonym of 沈む, wouldn't you agree? Jan 6, 2014 at 16:57
  • @DanielSafari In meaning and being intransitive, sure. "simply~" is not how I would make statements about high-context languages, however.
    – Jon
    Jan 8, 2014 at 2:29
  • @Jon: Could you elaborate? I'm not quite sure I follow, since in this case it seems "simply" applies? Or do you mean generally about Japanese? Jan 8, 2014 at 16:30

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