AFAIK words マル and バツ are commonly used as short answers (right and wrong, 正しい・正しくない). Are there any kanji for these words?

1 Answer 1


マル means 'circle', and this is clearly the word 丸{まる}.

But the origin of バツ is less clear. It may be from 罰点{ばってん}, and in fact I've always assumed the correct kanji would (in theory) be 罰, but dictionary editors appear to be less certain. 日本国語大辞典 says:


And 明鏡国語辞典 says:


And 大辞林 says:


Note the か at the end in each case. Based on these dictionary entries, I can't state for certain that it would (in theory) be 罰 in kanji, but that's my best guess.

  • If one ever used 『罰』, native speakers would take it to mean "punishment" 100% of the time. No one would take it to mean the "X" mark we get on a test signifying "incorrect answer". That I could guarantee.
    – user4032
    Oct 15, 2014 at 15:42
  • Ah, maybe I should have emphasized the "would be" part more to make it clear that I was speaking hypothetically. Thank you for the comment!
    – user1478
    Oct 15, 2014 at 15:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.