It seems like 留める can be read as either とめる or とどめる. JED, my Android dictionary app, cites とどめる, and so does wiktionary. But wiktionary's kanji entry for 留, it lists とめる, とどまる, and とまる as kun readings, not とどめる; my IME also accepts both とめる and とどめる when typing 留める, and my Anki cards generate 留【と】める when I type in とめる. Is this a wiktionary boo-boo, or are there two ways to read 留める? If so, which is more commonly used?

Please clarify other kanji you use in an answer with furigana.

  • 1
    There are two ways of reading 留める. There is a question about its difference with 止める etc. (when read as とめる) here.
    – Earthliŋ
    Jan 3, 2015 at 11:03
  • Yours is a useful answer, although it doesn't seem to address とどめる vs とめる, specifically re 留める. Would you be willing to address the difference between the two?
    – Lou
    Jan 3, 2015 at 12:09

1 Answer 1


It's NOT 留める has two readings, but two similar but distinct words share the written form 留める.

As for how different (or how similar) they are, I could say the main difference between とめる and とどめる is aspect. The figure below explains how.

EDIT: Note that とめる only happens in the transitional duration, while とどめる does as long as you're keeping it still (maybe forever). とめる vs とどめる

  • Once you record something on document, until unspecified time ( may be forever ), it is still とどめる。So yours, sorry, does not look correct to me. I would like to look into further. This could be a challenge. ( for foreigners, we, Japanese "unconsciously" may be using them.
    – user7644
    Jan 4, 2015 at 14:00
  • あー、上の図だとそう解釈されるかもしれないですね。ポイントは、対象が止まっている間「とどめる」が有効だということです。なので永遠に移動しなければ永遠に「とどめて」いるわけです。直しておきます。ありがとうございます。 Jan 4, 2015 at 15:38
  • あ〜日本人の方でしたか。スミマセン(m_m)。私的には意味不明な サムダウンみたいなのを食らわなければまあいいといえばいいので 上の図の下の図を違う事を違う事を御説明されたら宜しいのでは? そうなれば解りやすいように思えますが^^。確認ですけど留(と)める=再稼働可,留(とど)める=まあ一応永久を前提に、で宜しいのでしょうかね?では^^。
    – user7644
    Jan 4, 2015 at 17:45
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    Wait, how is this related to Pac-Man?
    – istrasci
    Jan 4, 2015 at 19:08
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    これ結構難しくありませんか?例えば「時間を3分間とめる」は上の「とどめる」の定義に合致しますが、この例では「とどめる」は不適です。単なる静動ではなく、いかなる様態で「静」であるかも関係あるかも。つまり「とどめる」は動きを制限するものの停止ではないという感じ。It's acctually a fairly difficult question. For example, "to stop time for 3 min" requires とめる despite your definition seems to match とどめる. Maybe it has something to do with a manner how it does, i.e. とどめる stands for to restrict movement but not to freeze.
    – user4092
    Jan 5, 2015 at 7:33

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