Why is こころ + みる the word used to say "to try/attempt"? What is it supposed to be saying as an idiom?

  • 2
    That's the etymological meaning of 試みる, but I've never seen it written as 心見る and dictionaries suggest that writing it that way is considered a mistake.
    – user1478
    Jun 9, 2017 at 0:57
  • 1
    There are two different questions here. The first is "why does the Japanese compound kokoro-miru mean 'to attempt'". The second is "why is the Japanese compound kokoro-miru written with a single Chinese character as 試みる, rather than 心見る". Both questions are already answered in the marked duplicate (the etymology is "to check out the essence of something"; and the orthography is because the Japanese compound kokoro-miru was translated by a single Chinese word, shì 試). Jun 9, 2017 at 11:35

1 Answer 1


When I did a sentence search on jisho.org for こころみる, there were several sentences for the 試みる version and none for the 心見る version, suggesting that it is likely antiquated to the point of being irrelevant in modern Japanese. In other words, if it's not a usage that you're likely to see or to use, does it matter where it came from? But I guess if you're just wondering for the sake of curiosity, perhaps a native speaker with a deep knowledge of outdated kanji could explain.


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