I've searched online and all that I can find is that they both mean "around". What do they mean? When do you use だいたい? When do you use くらい?

1 Answer 1


What dictionary are you using? Does the dictionary not list other English translations?

I have two suggestions:

  • Look at all the translations all together. That will often give you a general sense of what the word means.
  • Look at the example sentences. Online dictionaries like jisho.org provide example sentences that illustrate how the words are used.

I have a preference for the written word and trust online sources less than what's printed. If you have a print dictionary, the two points above will not likely lead you astray. The editors of print dictionaries (particularly the dictionaries for native Japanese speakers) put considerable time into writing up the entries and providing illustrative example sentences of usage. The thing is you don't have to be a native speaker to find these dictionaries useful. I used these dictionaries from the get-go when I barely knew much Japanese at all.

Online dictionaries sometime cull their example sentences in ways that are less than helpful. Generally, it appears, no thought was put into the example sentences (after all that's resource intense work). That said, jisho seems to do generally a good job.

Of course, if you look up くらい you'll discover it has quite a variety of meanings: from dark to position/rank to approximately. As always with Japanese, context will drive this.

Also, keep in mind that about itself has very broad applications and its meaning in English is not very precise but more or less determined by context.

Look at these entries in jisho and their associated example sentences:

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