For the life of me I cannot track down the bolded word in Jisho. I expected it to be the adverbial form of an い-adjective, but ぐろい is not listed (just グロい, which seems wrong in the context).

空は青ぐろく、一面の星がまたたいていました。<- Excerpt from よだかの星

I don't like to ask for a single word to be translated like this... but since I can't even find it (or any possible dictionary forms like ぐろくる, ぐろい, etc) in a dictionary, I'm hoping there might be something more to learn here.

2 Answers 2



As you know (I hope), all verbs and adjectives conjugate in Japanese, but only the dictionary forms can usually be found in the dictionary. It is, therefore, imperative that one learn how verbs and adjectives conjugate even if it might be a pain in the you-know-where. You will only thank yourself for mastering it because, frankly, there is no such thng as being even semi-fluent in Japanese if you cannot conjugate words freely.

「ぐろく」 is only part of the word 「青ぐろく」.

「青ぐろく」 is the 連用形{れんようけい} ("continuative form") of the adjective 「青ぐろい/青黒い」 ("bluish-black").

(Whenever you see an unfamiliar word placed mid-sentence, think of the possibility of it being in the 連用形. There have been quite a few questions about the 連用形 without the questioners realizing that they are the 連用形 of the verbs and adjectives that they have long been familiar with.)

Thus, the sentence means:

"The sky was bluish-black and the stars all around were blinking."

To say "and" is the function of the 連用形 here. You state something and continue to say something else.

Here is how the adjective 「青黒い」 conjugate.


The parts in bold above are the nitty-gritty and those are where mistakes are made by J-learners.

Finally, regarding the reason for the く-to-ぐ change in 「青ぐろい」, read here. The phenomenon is called 連濁{れんだく}.

  • "「ぐろく」 is only part of the word 「青ぐろく」". That's where I went wrong. I know how to conjugate to that form from 青ぐろい, but I didn't think that 青 was part of the word.
    – Hyperglyph
    Mar 5, 2018 at 22:30

青ぐろく is the continuative/adverbial form of 青黒い(so the ぐろく is only a part of the word)

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