The entry for 「羨ましい」in the Daijisen (at least the version found on Kotobank) is


and in the Daijirin is


As far as I know,「羨ましい」means both "envious" and "enviable". However, to me, both of these entries do not seem to suggest the second meaning. Am I right in thinking this? Do these entries suggest the second meaning to you? If so, how?

Thanks for any help.

  • Doesn't "うらやむ気持ちをそそられるさま" correspond to "enviable"? – naruto Apr 25 '18 at 5:14
  • @naruto Is that how that should be interpreted? I interpret that (literally) as "being caused to have feeling of envy" so "envious". Maybe if it's just "そそる" instead. – Project Book Apr 25 '18 at 5:25
  • The first seems more like "envious" to me. 「他人の能力や状態をみて、自分もそうありたいと願うさま」 - wishing you were like the other person because of their abilities or circumstances. This places the emphasis on an individual's feelings about someone else, ie feelings of envy of another person. – kandyman Apr 25 '18 at 15:25

As for the usage of うらやましい, it can safely modify an inanimate object. うらやましい能力 means "enviable ability", for example.

I think this statement of Daijirin may correspond to "enviable".


This is a bit ambiguous, but it can mean both "state/look by which one's feeling of envy is induced" (i.e., a quality of a thing; enviable) and "a state/situation in which one's feeling of envy is induced" (i.e., a feeling of a person; envious).

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.