As far as I know, one of め/目's usages is to function as a suffix to express a certain similarity, to say something is __ish. However, how is it different from っぽい?

According to this question, one can attach め to the 連用形 of a verb, 連体形 of i-adjectives, and 辞書形 (?) of na-adjectives according to this question. Nonetheless, I just read this in a news article: 木目調の建物, which I believe is 目 attached to 木, a noun.

In addition, according to Maggie Sensei, and here I quote:

It won’t work with all adjectives. You usually use this with adjectives that express the degree, size, amount, etc. Though you are not supposed to use this form with na-adjective, you will see it used this way in conversation sometimes.

If all of the above is true, め/目 seems not to differ at all from っぽい in terms of formation. According to Japanesetest4you, here's how っぽい is formed:

Verb-stem + っぽい
Noun + っぽい
いadj (-い) + っぽい
なadj + っぽい

Apparently, there does not appear to be any difference between め/目 and っぽい in terms of formation. Notwithstanding grammar, I assume each has its own specific words to go with, context/set phrases to be used in, etc.


  1. Is there a rule that governs when to prefer one over the other, or is this something only exposure and experience can resolve?

  2. め/目 seems rarely used with na-adjectives and nounsーif at all. Could anyone provide some common examples you have come across?

2 Answers 2


I can't answer your first question because the precondition is not correct. Let me explain what it is.

The suffix 目 doesn't mean っぽい but that, as the answer in the link says, something has that tendency. In other words, やすめ means "relatively low-cost", while 安っぽい is "cheap".

Second, 目 as in 木目 is not the suffix but a noun that means "pattern" and 木目 is a compound.

An example of a na adjective I often hear is きれいめ, (edit) which means "not too casual (for outfits)".


I'm not sure if this is a good answer for your question but I think that while both have a "-ish" sense they are differen't "ishes"


安め means on the cheap side in terms of prices (e.g. 安めの価格).


安っぽい means it seems cheap

So the general use of 目・め is something like "one the X side" where X is whatever came before it.

But ぽい means something seems/appears like it is that thing -- even it is that thing (see ALC).

  • 1
    I find it interesting how 高めの値段 yields hundreds of thousands of results, whereas 高っぽい値段 yields almost none. The ALC article is a bit hard for me, but still a helpful read. I appreciate it.
    – Yeti Ape
    Apr 27, 2018 at 12:22

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