Is 然る used in Japanese as both 然る (さる) and 然る (しかる) or only with one of those readings?

Does 然る have a different meaning depending on the reading? If so, what does 然る (さる) and 然る (しかる) each one mean? Could you please give me also an example?

  • 1
    This seems like something that can be straightforwardly answered by a dictionary? Apr 17, 2023 at 16:25
  • 2
    I can only consult online dictionaries such as jisho, and according to jisho, one can interpret, who knows if wrongly, that both readings are totally interchangeable and both refer to the same two meanings ("a certain" and "that kind of"). If you have at your disposal a more comprehensive dictionary and you could please clear up the doubts asked, I would be very thankful.
    – kanachan
    Apr 17, 2023 at 19:02

1 Answer 1


Both have almost the same meaning by themselves, but are not that interchangeable. The difference is mostly how they are combined with other words.

In 大辞泉, (versions of) 然る+べし is the only combination where both readings are possible. For this particular case, the readings are interchangeable, but しかるべき is much more common in modern Japanese.


1 ふさわしい。相応である。
2 そうなるのが当然である。そうなる運命である。
3 りっぱである。れっきとしている。


1 それが適当であろう。また、ふさわしい。
2 そうなるはずである。そうなる運命である。
3 立派である。すぐれている。

In practice, 然る in modern writing would be most of the time しかる. For さる, it is used in fixed patterns such as さること or さるもの and they are always written in hiragana.

  • 1
    "...さること or さるもの..." Monkey things! 😄 /jk Apr 18, 2023 at 0:31
  • 1
    @kanachan In theory yes, it can combine with other words, but I guess 80% of of the time しかる is followed by べし. 大辞泉 lists three other words starting 然る - 然るが上は/然るが故に/然るに. I didn't count, but browsing BCCWJ result would give you an idea (maybe more than 80% べき, followed by しかるに).
    – sundowner
    Apr 18, 2023 at 11:13
  • 1
    @kanachan しかる is a verb meaning 'to be in that state/to be so'. しかるべき meaning 'should be so' uses しかる more or less in the literal meaning. Like mentioned above, it is hardly used in isolation. If you mean it can be used as an adjective meaning 'certain/that kind of', then I suppose no. 然る人 would be さるひと, if it is ever used. But again, I don't think remembering しかる/さる separately will really help in terms of modern usage.
    – sundowner
    Apr 18, 2023 at 22:54
  • 1
    然{しか}る後 could be closest to 'that kind of', but it is more properly 'after (things) are such and such" - but rather, the whole phrase should be understood as then
    – sundowner
    Apr 18, 2023 at 22:56
  • 1
    Possibly it helps to be aware that さる is listed as 連体詞 and しかり as 動詞, and しかる (連体形 of しかり) is not listed.
    – sundowner
    Apr 19, 2023 at 1:19

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .