Both of them mean "nice". So, what exactly is the difference between them?


Really? What dictionary told you those two words have the same meaning?

The most basic definition of いい in English is "good", but it has many many uses.

[綺麗]{きれい} has two conceptually related meanings. The first is "pretty"; the second is "tidy" or "clean". For adult human beings, 綺麗 is commonly used to talk about women meaning that she's pretty. For tables and rooms, it means that the object is clean and tidy. (I'm not sure which it means if talking about a baby but I'm not a native speaker).

While not always perfect, you can get these sorts of basic definitions sorted at places like jisho.org. http://jisho.org/search/%E7%B6%BA%E9%BA%97 or using any competent electronic dictionary.

| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    Simplifying きれい as just 'pretty' is perhaps misleading, since there's the second, common meaning of 'tidy', 'clean' – oals Sep 16 '15 at 20:14
  • That is a good point. (I thought of it last night as I was falling asleep ... will amend to improve.. – virmaior Sep 17 '15 at 1:52

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.