From what I understand -しい can be appended to nouns to turn them into adjectives, or essentially "{noun}-like". Does this still apply if the noun is a person's name, or does this represent a different meaning entirely?

For example:


Would mean:

This dog is very Tanaka-like, right?

Meaning the dog has characteristics that resemble another person/animal named Tanaka.

Also, I am thinking about the form -らしい "seeming like {noun}" that might be more fitting here, so could it be possible that -らしい can be shortened to -しい in very casual situations? Or are they actually one and the same?


1 Answer 1


-しい can be appended to nouns to turn them into adjectives

No. There are a few i-adjectives that appear to be in the form of noun + しい (e.g., 大人しい, そらぞらしい and みずみずしい), but -しい is not a productive suffix. You cannot attach it to an arbitrary noun. 田中しい makes no sense.

しい and らしい are different, and the latter can attach to an arbitrary noun. However, Aらしい normally means "to be typical of A". For example, あなたらしいね means "That's very you" or "That's typical of you". Likewise, 田中らしいね is used to describe what Tanaka himself does, not what a dog does or looks like.

A colloquial suffix that forms an i-adjective analogous to English -ish is -っぽい. この犬はとても田中っぽい means the dog is very Tanaka-ish.

  • This is incredibly helpful, thank you. The context that led me to this question would definitely make sense for the Aらしい definition, but still it was written as 美咲しい. (Misaki being a character in this work). Is it a valid shortening or could it have just been a typo or slur device?
    – vsundae
    Oct 18, 2021 at 4:33
  • 1
    @vsundae If it's not a typo, it should be a coined i-adjective made for fun (akin to "Misacky") to refer to some peculiar characteristic of that character. Slangy new i-adjectives such as エモい, ゲスい and アドい are usually formed just by appending い at the end, but みさきしい sounds better than みさきい probably because みさき ends with the i vowel. It's technically possible to jokingly coin たなかい ("Tanakaic") as a new i-adjective if you believe there is a new concept that can only be expressed with this new word.
    – naruto
    Oct 18, 2021 at 4:59

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