Stolen directly from Grigory M's question in the definition phase:


  • 3
    +1 for stealing someone else's question and using it as your own.
    – istrasci
    Jul 12 '11 at 15:51

They both mean "to fix"/"to repair"/"to correct", but 治す is used in the sense of "to heal or cure" ("to fix a disease"). "直す" is used for fixing, not healing.

EDIT: As per Tsuyoshi Ito's correction (confirmed with a bit of googling), I've removed a misleading bit about the object of these verbs.

  • So you mean 車を直す but 風邪を治す?
    – Ali
    May 31 '11 at 21:11
  • After stating that... I might have to qualify it.
    – jkerian
    May 31 '11 at 21:13
  • 6
    The second paragraph does not make sense to me. You can also say 故障を直す (fix a failure (of a machine etc.)) as well as 機械を直す (fix a machine), which are parallel to 病気を治す (heal a disease) and 病人を治す (heal an ill person). May 31 '11 at 21:40

治す is only used to heal or to cure.

直す has more meanings, it can mean:

1) to fix; to correct; to repair;

2) to replace; to put back as it was;

3) to convert (into a different state); to transform;


その本をなおしなさい。= Put back the book where you found it.

次の文章を日本語に直しなさい。= Put the following sentences into Japanese.


Source: http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/cgi-bin/wwwjdic.cgi?1MUE%E6%B2%BB%E3%81%99

  • +1 for "put back as it was/put away". This is used this way all the time, at least in Kyushu.
    – phirru
    Jul 12 '11 at 16:57
  • 1
    The use of なおす meaning to restore something to where it was (as in その本をなおしなさい) is observed in western Japan. In 標準語, しまう is used for that meaning. Jul 16 '11 at 14:27

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