I was looking for the word "batchmate" (entered the same year as you/in the same school grade, i.e. in between 先輩 and 後輩), and found some answers (1,2) on this site that gives 同級生 as a translation to "classmate". Can this word also be used for students not in the same class but in the same grade? For example, students in a club of the same grade but in different classes.

For context, the sentence I am trying to build is


I was laughed at by my seniors, my batchmates, and even by my juniors.

This is in context of club activities.

The answers on this site linked above translate 同級生 as "classmate", and so do some Japanese-English dictionaries. That surprised me because of how breaking up the kanji would literally give "same-grade-students". Can 同級生 also be used in the example above?

Or... does the Japanese concept of "classmates" extend beyond classes and include everyone in the same grade? I have no idea.

  • 4
    Being a native English speaker, I'm ashamed to say that I don't know what 'batchmate' even means... If you're looking for a word that means members of the same graduating class (i.e class of 2017, the senior class, etc.) Classmate should work as well in my opinion.
    – ajsmart
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 14:09
  • 4
    Is "batchmate" what cookies call each other?
    – istrasci
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 14:59
  • in the US, I would say "cohortmate," not classmate, and even that is a bit contrived. mostly I'd just say classmate and it would be understood in context. Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 16:30
  • 3
    As a native English speaker--"classmate" is the word that means "a student who is in the same year of school as you." As in, "we're the class of '97!" "Batchmate" is not a word I have ever heard or used. Of course, this is English, and there are lots of dialects, but classmate is the correct translation for my dialect.
    – AHelps
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 15:22

3 Answers 3


Yes 同級生 can mean both "people in the same class" and "people in the same grade (and in the same school)" depending on the context. 大辞泉 says:



先輩, 後輩, 下級生 and 上級生 always mean students in different grades. When 同級生 is used in contrast with them, like in your example, 同級生 safely means 同じ学年.

In addition, 同級生 tends to mean 同じ学年 if a long time has passed after graduating from the school. Most schools shuffle the members of classes every school year, and who belonged to which class in one specific grade will become less important when you reach, say, 30. If someone in his thirties said 彼女は高校で同級生でした, I would interpret it just means she belonged to the same school and was in the same grade.

If you need to avoid confusion, you can always say 彼は同じクラスだった or 彼は同じ学年だった instead of 彼は同級生だった. クラスメート always refers to people in the same class, too.


I think 同級生 basically means "a classmate (of the same specific class)."

What you're looking for is probably "同学年" or "同学年の生徒/学生."

Maybe "同学年生" can be used, but it seems less common.

同級生 can be used to refer "同学年の生徒/学生" in some contexts, although it leaves ambiguity.

同窓生 means the people who graduated from the same school, and in some contexts, it may mean "同じ学校の同学年の生徒/学生" in some contexts.



In this specific question, the latter seems more natural to my ears. It can mean both "classmates" and what you call "batchmates." I wonder whether "a classmate" can be used for "a batchmates" in English as well, after reading ajsmart's comment. Languages are often ambiguous and not like Mathematics.

  • batchmate appears to be a word from India, and have the same meaning as classmate in American English. dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/batchmate
    – ajsmart
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 14:39
  • Oh, thank you, ajsmart, for your informative input. I wasn't able to find it on "英辞郎 on the web." Then, can you distinguish a classmate who belongs to the same class and who doesn't belong to the same class but the same "year" /"age?" ?
    – user1118
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 14:46
  • Context... Unfortunately this is one of those ambiguous situations like with the Japanese word 足。 I think that this ambiguity is usually overcome by use of different words. we are in the same class would probably be something about a class you are both taking at the same time, whereas we are both juniors would say that you are classmates, but don't necessarily share any classes. Long story short, we distinguish the difference in conversations by emphasizing what year of school we are in.
    – ajsmart
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 14:53

its surprising that no one mentioned [同]{どう}[輩]{はい} here. as you can see senpai > douhai > kouhai. If you notice the word douhai is written with the same kanji as the word onaji [同じ]{おなじ}. But more often we hear the word doukyuusei 同級生 instead of douhai. And since you used senpai and kouhai i think its right to use douhai to complete 輩 series :)

  • I think that's because 同輩 is not actually used to mean either classmate or batchmate. If you check the definition, 同輩 can mean colleagues of the same rank at work or in an organization, but in reality (based on experience) I mostly hear 同僚. When talking about batchmates at work, people at the office usually say 同期, not 同輩 either.
    – DXV
    Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 1:37

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