I see both of these words used to describe dictionary.

Can someone tell me the difference between these two?


3 Answers 3


[字引]{じび}き sounds old-fashioned to me, although everyone (except very young children) would probably know what it means. I think I've heard very old people (like, over 80 years old?) use the word 字引き to refer to both J-J and E-J/J-E dictionaries.

I think [辞書]{じしょ} is the most common word to refer to dictionary. Most J-J/E-J/J-E dictionaries that I've seen are titled 「~~[辞典]{じてん}」, eg 『小学館プログレッシブ和英中辞典』『ジーニアス英和辞典(大修館書店)』『明鏡国語辞典(大修館書店)』 etc., but we usually refer to these dictionaries as 辞書 in daily conversation.

... But you'd still say [生]{い}き字引き, not 生き辞書, to mean "a walking dictionary".


I can't think of a time I have heard 字引 (jibiki) but looking at the characters it literally is just to 'Pull' or 'Draw' a character. Feels like it would be more suited for use of a Japanese person to look up the meaning of a Japanese character

Where as 辞書 (jisho) is more like 'Written Words/Expressions'. One could say it is more in tune to decoding other languages.

This is just my take one it... as I have not heard anyone use "jibiki" in the many years I have been speaking with native Japanese.


They both mean "dictionary".
According to the site below, 字引 is more "vulgar" (俗な言い方).

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .