I've recently come across the following two definitions of 浮く in two different stories:

  • Being cheerful, happy (in context the character was happy about spending time with friend and telling her それでちょっと浮かれてるのかもね?)
  • Feeling out of place, unsteady (in context the character was feeling bad about being ostracized by others and his friend was asking what was going on because 見るから浮いてるもん)

What's the origin of these two seemingly opposite meanings?

  • 1
    Should that be 見るからに浮いてる?
    – aguijonazo
    May 26 at 22:54
  • 浮かれる denotes blissful, exhilarated, or elated, while (周りから)浮く means a state of standing out from the pack or being out of place with a negative connotation. These two terms look alike, but you should consider them separately as native Japanese speakers do.
    – user48754
    May 27 at 1:55
  • @aguijonazo The character omitted the に possibly because she was using fairly casual speech?
    – F.X.
    May 27 at 19:16
  • That seems to be the case. I guess it is pronounced as 見るから【LHHH】.
    – aguijonazo
    May 28 at 0:53

Your two examples use two different words -- 浮【う】かれる and 浮【う】く. Derivationally, they're cognate, but these aren't the same term. See the Kotobank page (in Japanese), for instance.

In terms of meaning, it might help to consider 浮【う】く as "to float; to remain unsettled" and 浮【う】かれる as "to be buoyed up [especially regarding mood]".

  • Thanks, that helps a bit, I thought they were two forms of the same verb. I'll spend some time with the dictionary entry too!
    – F.X.
    May 27 at 19:21
  • 1
    @F.X., glad it was helpful! It's worth noting that 浮かれる does derive from 浮く and was probably originally just a conjugated form. But 浮かれる appears to have gained specific senses that are not just the logical outcome of [BASE VERB] + [CONJUGATION], hence its treatment as a separate word unto itself. May 27 at 20:56

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