I am writing an email to my friends, about a trip. We went walking by a field and the cows came over and were happy to be petted. I want to say "the cows were happy and friendly" but the word I have in my notes is 親しい which seems to be for a close friend, and the word "intimate" is used. The cows were not that friendly ;-)

Seriously, is there another word I can use? Like the equivalent of "good-natured" perhaps?


I guess you could use the word 人{ひと}なつこい。 You can use it when referring to a friendly dog (towards people) so I guess it could be applied to cows too.

  • I'm not sure which spelling is more commonly used: 人なつこい or 人懐こい. Please correct the answer if I used the wrong one.
    – Szymon
    May 28 '14 at 12:40
  • I used the second one as that is what Windows resolved it to when I hit the space bar. May 28 '14 at 12:41
  • 2
    Also with the /k/ geminated: 人なつっこい
    – user1478
    May 28 '14 at 12:50
  • 2
    @Szymon Perfect answer ^^ As for 人なつこい / 人懐こい, I think both are commonly used.
    – user1016
    May 29 '14 at 16:09
  • 1
    人なつっこい / 人懐っこい is good, too, and I think we use it more when talking. I think all (= 人なつこい, 人懐こい, 人なつっこい, 人懐っこい) are fine in writing.
    – user1016
    May 29 '14 at 16:16

I realize there is already an accepted answer-- but I thought I would mention my personal experience with this.

In March I went to a language school in Tokyo for the month and tried something very similar to you while trying to describe my cat who is very "friendly." I was told by my teacher that 親しい only applies to humans, and for animals one should use フレンドリー which is functionally a 形容動詞 (Na-Adj).

◯ 彼女は親しい友達です。

× 私の猫は親しいです。
◯ 私の猫はフレンドリーです。

While this is a loan word, which I hate using, I believe it is in common use, as it was told to me by a native Japanese person.

  • 1
    Interesting. My old Japanese teacher, who I emailed with this expression, was happy enough with it, but I do see フレンドリー used in examples. Thank you for adding your experience. May 29 '14 at 15:36
  • 1
    If you think that you can add some useful information, go for it and add an answer, even if there's an accepted answer already.
    – Szymon
    May 30 '14 at 1:01

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