This may be a generic question. I wanted to see if a verb had some transitive use and thought a japanese-japanese dictionary would be more detailed than jisho.org, but I can't seem to find any mention to ไป– or ่‡ช neither in weblio.jp nor in goo.ne.jp, which are always my top 2 search results. Is this kind of information too specific for dictionaries?

  • 1
    This seems like a resource question since it depends on the dictionary and its own specific notations.
    – istrasci
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 20:30

1 Answer 1


Your question

Where is verb transitivity listed in japanese dictionaries?

It depends. ๐Ÿ˜„

Not your ideal answer, I'm sure, but it's true.

Some examples

My preferred monolingual Japanese dictionary is the ๆ—ฅๆœฌๅ›ฝ่ชžๅคง่พžๅ…ธใ€ใซใปใ‚“ใ“ใใ”ใ ใ„ใ˜ใฆใ‚“ใ€‘ (NKD), available in an abridged edition via Kotobank. Due to a site "upgrade" a few years ago, actually finding the desired entry in the NKD can be a bit tricky. But once you do, there's a great deal of useful detail.

Here's a set of sample NKD entries. This includes the verb ใใ†, ใใ‚‰ใ†, ใใ‚ใ›ใ‚‹, ใใ‚‰ใ‚ใ™, ใใ‚ใ™, ใใˆใ‚‹, ใใ‚‰ใ‚ใ›ใ‚‹, and noun ใใ„.

Let's look in more detail at the verb ใใ†, the topmost one on that page.

ใใƒปใ† ใใตใ€้ฃŸใƒปๅ–ฐใ€‘

Here's the top two lines.

  • ใใƒปใ†
    • Tells us that the kanji spelling covers the ใ portion, and the ใ† is okurigana.
  • ใใต
  • ไป–ใƒฏไบ”
    • This tells us that this is a ไป–ใ€ใŸใ€‘ๅ‹•่ฉžใ€ใฉใ†ใ—ใ€‘ or "transitive verb", that this conjugates based on the ใƒฏ set of kana (such as negative form ใใ‚ใชใ„), and that this is a ไบ”ๆฎตใ€ใ”ใ ใ‚“ใ€‘ or "quintigrade" verb, with all five vowels appearing in the conjugated verb stems: ใใ†ใƒปใใ„ใƒปใใ‚-ใƒปใใˆใƒปใใŠใ†).
  • ๏ผˆใƒๅ››๏ผ‰
    • This is more historical information about Classical Japanese (and deliberately archaic / hyper-formal forms). We learn that, in the historical kana spellings, the verb conjugates based on the ใƒ set of kana, and that this is a ๅ››ๆฎตใ€ใ‚ˆใ ใ‚“ใ€‘ or "quadrigrade" verb, with four vowels appearing in the conjugated verb stems: ใใตใƒปใใฒใƒปใใฏ-ใƒปใใธ.
      Note: Classical Japanese has no "-o" verb endings, because the suppositional / volitional in modern Japanese is actually a contraction of older form -amu. So for modern ใใ†, the volitional is ใใŠใ†, and for Classical ใใต, the volitional is ใใฏใ‚€. The suppositional / volitional suffix in Classical is -ใ‚€, and this attaches to the so-called ๆœช็„ถๅฝขใ€ใฟใœใ‚“ใ‘ใ„ใ€‘ or "irrealis" verb stem [basically, "the action of the verb hasn't happened yet"].
      In terms of phonological development, the -amu ending was originally pronounced as //amu//. This changed to //รฃu// with a nasal "a" sound, a bit like English "ow" with a stuffy nose. This naturally evolved into //ษ”ห// like in English "aw", and then finally to the long //oห// like "oh" that we see in modern Japanese.

Unfortunately, not all dictionaries provide this level of detail. The corresponding Digital Daijisen entry here doesn't specify transitivity at all:


We are told that this is a ๅ‹•ใ€ใฉใ†ใ€‘่ฉžใ€ใ—ใ€‘ (verb), but not whether it's a ไป–ๅ‹•่ฉžใ€ใŸใฉใ†ใ—ใ€‘ (transitive verb) or a ่‡ชๅ‹•่ฉžใ€ใ˜ใฉใ†ใ—ใ€‘ (intransitive verb).

To find out, we can dig around further. The very first definition line in the Daijisen gives us this:

๏ผ‘ ้ฃŸ็‰ฉใ‚’ใ‹ใ‚“ใงใฎใฟ่พผใ‚€ใ€‚้ฃŸในใ‚‹ใ€‚ใ€Œ้ฃฏใ‚’โ€•ใƒปใ†ใ€

That bit at the end is a usage example. Dictionary formatting often replaces the headword with a hyphen, so we know we can expand ใ€Œ้ฃฏใ‚’โ€•ใƒปใ†ใ€ into ใ€Œ้ฃฏใ‚’้ฃŸใ€ใใ€‘ใƒปใ†ใ€. And since we have the basic grammatical structure of [NOUN]ใ‚’[VERB], we can tell from both the definition and this usage example that ้ฃŸใ€ใใ€‘ใ† is a transitive verb.

Note: We need the definition as well, since it is possible to have [NOUN]ใ‚’[VERB] with intransitive verbs of motion, where the NOUN describes a place or time through which the action of the verb is happening, such as in ้“ใ€ใฟใกใ€‘ใ‚’ๆญฉใ€ใ‚ใ‚‹ใ€‘ใ ("to walk [up, down, along] the street").


Where is verb transitivity listed in japanese dictionaries?

When a dictionary specifies this information clearly, it should be right at the start of the entry, as we see above in the sample from the NKD.

If a dictionary doesn't specify this, try looking at the definitions and usage examples.


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