It's kindof silly, but my understanding of カンニング is that it has a negative connotation, particularly cheating/plagiarism. I understand it to mean that a カンニングペーパー is something used to cheat (not allowed). Am I wrong for understanding it this way?

I ask because, cheat-sheet in English does not carry a negative connotation, even though the 'cheat' in cheat-sheet actually comes from the verb 'cheat' (i.e. break the rules). In English cheat-sheets are typically something that a teacher/professor allows the student to have.

Because of this subtle difference between my understanding of カンニングペーパー and 'cheat-sheet,' I feel the need to ask if this is really a good translation. So, is it a good translation? Is there a better translation for the cheat-sheet I just described above?

  • 1
    As a somewhat unrelated side note -- is there a good article on the etymology of カニング? That would be an interesting read.
    – ajsmart
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 3:27
  • 1
    "...something that a teacher/professor allows the student to have..." → アンチョコ?まとめシート? Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 4:22

1 Answer 1


チートシート has already become a widely-accepted term among professional IT workers. For example, there is a Gitチートシート.

操作早見表【そうさはやみひょう】 and 早【はや】わかりシート are mainly used in product documentations for ordinary people. Telephones 20 years ago had no LCDs but had large 早見表 instead.

一覧表 is another safe and neutral word usable in most cases, although it may not sound as "cool" as チートシート.

カンニングペーパー does have a negative connotation, and is never acceptable in examinations. (The correct spelling is カンニング, not カニング.) If there is no risk of misunderstanding, カンニングペーパー is occasionally used in the sense of cheat-sheet. Palm cards used when making an oral presentation is sometimes (half-jokingly) called カンニングペーパー, too.

The etymology of カンニング is the English word cunning but with a meaning much closer to cheating (like cheating on a test) rather an a type of wisdom at trading. It's a 和製英語 term.

  • Maybe my edit is a bit much for the last paragraph, but it cannot be emphasized enough that カンニング and cunning do not strongly overlapping connotations.
    – virmaior
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 13:57
  • @virmaior That's why I'd be interested in reading up on the etymology, they have different meanings despite having the same origins.
    – ajsmart
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 14:08
  • 2
    That's why this is called a 和製英語 instead of a 外来語 :)
    – naruto
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 14:16
  • @ajsmart I don't understand what you mean. カンニング means cheating not cunning. Sake means nihonshu not all alcohol.... Common occurrence for words taken from another language.
    – virmaior
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 14:19
  • @virmaior To be honest, I was really after something like this wikipedia article. I was curious as to how cunning->カンニング->cheating (Does that make sense?) ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – ajsmart
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 14:34

You must log in to answer this question.

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