100% a curiosity question, but I recently stumbled across some older blog posts about a silly debate of "should you eat all your pizza crust?" and I was surprised to see the phrase


Most of the time when I've seen the word crust its' been クラスト or パンの皮.

So as more of an etymological inquiry, does anyone know how exactly 耳 end up meaning crust or edge?

My usual Jisho and Wiktionary sources are leaving me dry and through my own search, I could find plenty on the Chinese etymology with 耳's relation to ear. Likewise it's obvious how selvage, crust, and edge are all related, but I couldn't find anything that connects the two. Seeing as both ピザの耳 and パンの耳 are used, I'm not sure if it's something that would trace back to the introduction of (Western) breads or pizza to Japan (since who knows which usage came first) or is something as simple as 'ears are on the edge of your face'.

  • I’m pretty sure I hear 耳 and not the other options you mentioned 99% of the time it’s ever discussed in a normal conversation. Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 23:10

1 Answer 1


This is simply because 'ears are on the edge of your face'. The edge of a coin was also called 耳 in the past, and 耳を揃える is still commonly used as an idiom.

  • 語源由来辞典 - 耳を揃える


  • なぜパンの端を耳というのか?


(By the way, I didn't know this part is called "heel" by many English speakers.)

  • Ah perfect answer, thank you. And yeah I know a quite a few people who call that part the "butt" as well.
    – Joe Gee
    Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 17:13

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