I've found this kanji during Shodo practice. My teacher (Japanese) didn't know the meaning (she recognized the Tooth bushu/radical but not the "word").

I tried to look it up on the electronic dictionaries I own, both Japanese and Chinese, but while the kanji exists and even has a phonetic associated to it:

From Tangorin.com

there is no actual meaning.

Finally I got something from a Chinese online dictionary. Allegedly (I used Google translate on the whole page) it is an old ideogram for "Milk Teeth".

Now the question(s):

  • Does this mean anything in Japanese?
  • What would be the current Japanese way to indicate "Milk teeth"?

The character in question was originally composed of 歯 (teeth) and 巳 (child). It represented children's teeth. This later became 齔 and 齓. 齔 is typically preferred over 齓, so I will use it below. It has two primary meanings: 1) in children, the replacement of old teeth with new teeth; 2) children of an age in which they are loosing their old teeth and growing new ones.

There are several compounds:

  • 髫齔 (chōshin): a child around the age of 7 or 8
  • 齔髫 (shinchō): (in general) a child
  • 齔童 (shindō): children of an age in which they are loosing their old teeth and growing in new ones

Kanjigen lists 齔{シン} (U+9F54) together with 齓{シン} (U+9F53), and as far as I can tell the former is more common, though I'm not sure either are commonly used (I think 乳歯{にゅうし} might be much more common to mean "baby tooth").

It says it can refer to:

  1. (シンす) (verb/noun) The losing of teeth which occurs around the age of 7 or 8. Or, the teeth one has prior to having them replaced (乳歯{にゅうし}).
  2. (noun) A child which is aged when one loses teeth.

It also links to a similar Kanji which means "baby teeth": 齠{チョウ} (U+9F60), though I'm not sure that's particularly common either.

Kanjidic also defines (U+9F54) as "losing baby teeth"/"child" and Unihan as "lose baby teeth and get adult teeth".

  • @p.marino jisho.org didn't list the meaning for , only for . I only found out the two were related after looking it up in Kanjigen.
    – cypher
    Sep 9 '12 at 0:00
  • Yep, thanks - I went through the same steps myself... but only after reading your answer ;)
    – p.marino
    Sep 11 '12 at 6:49

I cannot answer the first question, but deciduous/milk/baby teeth is [乳歯]{にゅうし}.

(Just a guess, but the reading かけば sounds like かけ + 歯(with rendaku), so I imagine it to be something like 欠け歯 but I cannot find anything to substantiate this claim.)

  • Not 掛け歯, but 欠け歯, meaning missing, broken, or chipped tooth. Maybe missing tooth is the translation that somewhat agrees with the notion of milk teeth...
    – Earthliŋ
    Sep 8 '12 at 14:28
  • @user1205935 I let the IME pick the kanji output. Maybe it's not broken/chipped tooth but "tooth that is lacking/insufficient" implying that the adult teeth is the better version?
    – Flaw
    Sep 8 '12 at 14:35
  • Sounds reasonable. I wonder in what sense 齓 is actually used in Japanese texts...
    – Earthliŋ
    Sep 8 '12 at 14:41

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.