For 面白い, why is the noun form commonly 面白 instead of 面白さ? Isn't さ supposed to be the way to take i-adjectives and make them nouns?

  • 2
    Hmm, are you sure about the "commonly" thing? How about cite a source for that? Also 面白さ, not *面白いさ.
    – Eddie Kal
    Dec 7, 2021 at 1:31
  • I'm not entirely sure, but I am basing it off Jisho marking 面白 common and 面白さ is not marked common. Is it true that 面白 is the noun form of 面白い because it is labeled as a noun or verb acting prenominally?
    – Catdog
    Dec 7, 2021 at 2:19
  • Just because two words are nouns based on the same concept doesn't mean they share the same exact meaning. There's a difference between "Interestingness" as a concept related to the word interesting and "interestingness" indicating "the degree to which something is interesting." Maybe the disctinction is subtle in English (and ignore the fact that we don't say "interestingness" very much), but Japanese divides them more clearly.
    – Leebo
    Dec 7, 2021 at 2:48
  • @Leebo That's a very interesting example! Funny you should mention "interesting" because someone just asked me if there's any difference between "interest" and "interesting points/things/quality" as nouns (or rather NPs) in "a story full interest/interesting things" and "that adds interest/interesting things to the story"
    – Eddie Kal
    Dec 7, 2021 at 3:20

1 Answer 1


There is no usage, as far as I know in the modern Standard Japanese, of 面白【おもしろ】 itself as a noun.

面白さ is a true noun deriving from the adjective 面白い. It means "fun" or "interestingness".

面白 is just a form 面白い minus conjugable い. It is called "adjective stem" (形容詞語幹) in the Japanese grammar, that does not work as noun; actually not able to become a word, but only makes a non-final affix of a word that carries the meaning, mostly you see in a way like "permadeath" or "instakill". (In this case often written in hiragana or katakana to mark a vernacular vibe.)

おもしろ動画 "lolvideo" → funny(-est) video
おもしろ装置 "loldevice" → funny (and often useless) machine

Of course there are also more conventional words made with it, including 面白おかしい "fun-o-hilarious; sidesplitting", 面白がる "find amused", and aforementioned 面白さ.

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