When hearing (not reading) 口唇 in a sentence, should it be assumed that the speaker is saying "lips" and not "red lips" (紅唇)? If not, what cues can be used to determine which is being meant?

I know that 赤い唇 also means red lips, and I would assume that it is used to avoid ambiguity.

  • 1
    Where would you realistically expect to hear 口唇 or 紅唇 in conversation? Sep 5 '17 at 1:50
  • In this particular context, it was in an anatomical reference.
    – illmortem
    Sep 5 '17 at 2:11

How was 口唇 pronounced when you heard it?
Anyway we only say くちびる for lips.
If you have a chance to read 口唇, it's correct to pronounce it as こうしん. You may have no chance to hear こうしん for lips in daily life, because the sound has a lot of homonyms like 行進 march/parade, 更新 update, 交信 communication, etc, that are more familiar than 口唇.

I think that "口唇{こうしん}" is a medical term used only in an oral hospital and the like apart from daily use, and in that case 口唇{こうしん} simply means lips and does not mean 紅唇 that could be understood as "red lips".

Usually we say "赤い唇{くちびる}" or "唇{くちびる}が赤い" for "red lips", not "紅{あか}い唇{くちびる}".

"紅" isn't good for expressing being red for lips but good for cheeks, like "紅{あか}い頬{ほほ}" or "紅{あか}い頬{ほ}っぺた".

  • Ah, I see. Thank you. Yes, the pronunciation was こうしん, which I looked up and found that it means "lips" (口唇) and "red lips" (紅唇).
    – illmortem
    Sep 5 '17 at 2:18

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.