Is there any difference in meaning between 定める and 決める? Or are they perhaps just used in different situations? In the dictionary they both have the meaning "to decide" or "to determine".



I would translate both sentences with "[I] decided to buy a car". Is that a correct translation for both sentences? Is one of these two sentences not correct?


1 Answer 1


決める is by far the more common everyday word of the two when expressing that a decision was made.

定める can be viewed as fixing something in place. There is a sense of authority. For example, fate 運命 could be described as 定められている (decided, determined, set in place). On the other hand, you can also set your aim at something 銃の狙いを定める.

Furthermore, the character 定 is used in words such as 定休日 the fixed day off for businesses, or 定食 a set meal at a restaurant. It is set in place and can't typically be changed from that.

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