In English, I think "to be satisfied/content" can have a couple different meanings:

  1. To feel that what was given/has happened is satisfactorily enough in the short term sense (e.g. had enough to eat, feeling happy after a successful negotiation)
  2. To feel peacefully happy (e.g. contentedly sitting quietly at home with family)
  3. To be emotionally/spiritually fulfilled in a larger sense (e.g. happy with one's career and place in life, happy with how a longer series of events played out)

No idea if Japanese draws distinctions between these feelings, but I've come across a few words in English-Japanese dictionaries:

  1. 満ち足りる(みちたりる)- I think this might correspond to definition 1 above, since 足りる means "to be enough" in a quantifiable sense
  2. 心ゆく(こころゆく)- Could correspond to definition 2 or 3
  3. 気が済む(きがすむ)- I think it could mean definition 2 since 気 usually refers to short-term feelings
  4. 満足行く(まんぞくいく)- Possibly definition 1 as it seems more fleeting because of 行く.

That being said, what are the nuances of each word? And which ones are more commonly used or sound most natural?

  • Your question has a volume, without others, so my quick comment 気が済む(きがすむ)is for No1 of English definition is more close since it is more often used with what having done. No2 of English definition seems to be saying くつろぐ. May 16, 2021 at 23:52
  • What do you mean "it has a volume without others"?
    – Kevin2566
    May 17, 2021 at 0:23
  • I wanted to mean that your question has a lot of things to be explained and I wanted to focus on No2 in Japanese one. That's what I wanted to mean. I was bit rush. May 17, 2021 at 0:38
  • comment. Since OP is looking for words to mean "to be satisfied/content". Some that come across my mind are for #1 are 満足, 満たされた, 充分. For #2 I think 幸福 or 幸せ is the most common.
    – guesto
    May 17, 2021 at 15:31

1 Answer 1


These Japanese phrases are different, but they don't really map to your categories.

  • 心ゆく: This is almost always used in the set phrase 心ゆくまで "to one's heart's content". It's used almost exclusively in the context of a visitor/guest enjoying something (at a restaurant, amusement park, onsen, ...). You'll see this often in ads and greetings from the host.
  • 気が済む: This is associated mainly with venting one's anger/frustration, but sometimes can be used in the context of satisfying (wild) desires. This implies someone has been frustrated, so use this carefully.

満ち足りる and 満足いく have similar meanings and are partly interchangeable.

  • 満ち足りる: This means satisfied in the sense of "happy because one has everything". It's mainly associated with long-term happiness or even an entire life. It sounds a bit exaggerated if this is used after having enough food. Corresponds to your definition 3.
  • 満足いく: This is a less common equivalent of 満足する. But I think it most commonly modifies a noun as a relative clause and means "satisfactory" in the sense of "well-done/made".

Here are representable examples.

  • 心ゆくまで温泉を楽しんだ。
    I enjoyed hot springs to my heart's content.
  • 気が済むまで壁を殴り続けた。
    I kept punching the wall until I felt better.
  • 彼は満ち足りた生活を送りました。
    He lived a rich and full life.
  • 満足いく絵が描けるまで何度もやり直した。
    I tried again and again until I could draw a satisfactory picture.

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