In a Manga a character says:


I guess it is a contraction of しない because of the phrase ゾッとしない - pretty disgusting. But (1) I am not completely sure and (2) how does the contraction "work" here in detail?

  • 2
    な is a separate particle. See this for せん: What does the word 「せん」 mean in this sentence?
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 15:13
  • 1
    I think ぞっとしない's jisho.org definition might also not be very accurate. The weblio definition is 「おもしろくない。あまり感心しない。」, meaning "not very interesting".
    – Shurim
    Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 17:24

1 Answer 1

  • せん is roughly the same as しない. Strictly speaking, せん is not a direct contraction of しない but a contraction of せぬ, which is an equivalent of しない in classical Japanese . せん sounds colloquial but old-fashioned or dialectal at the same time. See: When does ない become ぬ?
  • な is a sentence-end particle. It's a contraction of nothing.

ぞっとしない is a set phrase that originally means "not so thrilling" or "unexciting", but it's becoming an obsolete phrase. Few people in the younger generation understand the original meaning of this word correctly. See this page. Technically speaking, "disgusting" is incorrect, but the majority of real examples of ぞっとしない I found from BCCWJ and 小説家になろう actually seem to mean "disgusting" rather than "uninteresting". I suppose future dictionaries will include this new sense.

By the way, if we accept the new sense, ぞっとする and ぞっとしない would effectively mean the same thing. We may include this pair in this list.

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