Questions tagged [definitions]

定義. The precise meanings of Japanese words or phrases.

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What does てやる mean when it is not used for giving?

Okay, according to the (monolingual) dictionary that I use, てやる is used to indicate "doing something with strong will or determination" (my translation) e.g. 飛び降りてやる! But this definition ...
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Use of する to describe one's colour

From Japanesepod101: 象は灰色をしている。 The elephant is gray. The meaning of the sentence is not in doubt but I've been trying to figure how する is being used here. Checking a dictionary, definition 2エ might ...
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Aren't がる and たがる the same thing?

In my JLPT practise book, it has two different entries, one to explain がる and one to explaining たがる. It offeres these example sentences to differentiate them: うちの子{こ}は新{あたら}しいものを見{み}ると、すぐほしがる。 ...
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What does it mean to be "over a law"?

I was a little confused after reading this on Wikipedia article for 宇部港, a harbor in Ube, Yamaguchi: 港湾法{こうわんほう}上の重要港湾...に指定されている。 I'm really not used to reading very technical writing, so there ...
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Meaning of 〜あれだ

_____ってあれだよね What is あれ in this context? Is the speaking making a positive or negative statement about _____?
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Does ところ mean the exact same thing as こと in this sentence?

Consider the following sentence: お金じゃないところが好きだから一緒にいるの 【おかね じゃない ところが すき だから いっしょに いるの】 I think it means "I'm with you because of the parts of you that don't have to do with money". I'm ...
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Differences Between 蘇生する and 蘇る

I'm trying to understand the difference between 蘇生する{そせいする} and 蘇る{よみがえる}. My research thus far tells me that 蘇る is intransitive and can be used for recalling memories in addition to the mutual ...
Redbluefire's user avatar
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Does "敬語" (keigo) just mean "politeness" or is it a technical term specifically relating to Japanese grammar?

What is the difference between the Japanese term "敬語" (keigo) and the English term "politeness" (Specifically regarding language)? I assumed politeness is more general covering things like "please" ...
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のか - Particle "lamenting reflections on the preceding statement". What?

I've come across this sentence in my manga. そ そうか そういう疑いを持っているのか It's actually fairly easy, but the particle at the end has confused me. I thought it was the two particles の and か, but then I saw ...
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Where does the phrase 「ノリが悪い」 come from and what is the meaning?

What is this phrase 「ノリが悪い」? I've seen it in a few places, but I haven't been able to find it in a dictionary yet. I had first thought it meant that "the seaweed was bad". What is the meaning of ...
Chris's user avatar
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ガードがばがばになっから meaning

I'm having trouble making sense of this sentence. From what I've looked up, I think it's probably either "meme" talk, a dialect joke, or some combination of the two. Here's the full sentence: ...
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What does Ukiyo (浮世) mean?

I'm not very familiar with this specific term, but do know intermediate Japanese. "Floating world" seems to be a direct translation of the two characters: 浮 for "floating" and 世 for "world". However, ...
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人前{ひとまえ} and 人前{にんまえ}

I have been conviced for a long time that both 人前{にんまえ} and 人前{ひとまえ} existed. Which is backed by this wikitionary page. Recently, I just wanted to warn another Japanese learner about this pair of ...
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What's the difference between [勝負]{しょうぶ} and [試合]{しあい}

I've seen both refered to as "match". Is there some secondary usage or perhaps a connotation or nuance that separates the two?
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Meaning of という when it doesn't mean 'call', 'be called', or 'say'

I'm having a little trouble parsing the usage of 「という」 when it it has meanings other than to call, to be called or to say. I often see sentences like 「いざという時, ということだ」 and 「これという問題はない」. The dictionary ...
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If you want to refer to a person as beautiful, would you use [綺麗]{きれい} or [美しい]{うつくしい}? What's the difference?

I'm a little confused on the difference between 綺麗【きれい】 and 美しい【うつくしい】. When is it appropriate to use either word to refer to a person? For example, if I wanted to refer to a woman as beautiful, would ...
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Meaning of はいてなかったり?

I recently came across the phrase はいてなかったり which has me stumped. For context, a character utters the phrase after dismissing the possibility of something: Character: Oh, those guys? Yeah, they're ...
Floating Sunfish's user avatar
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What does どぼり mean?

I know that it's an onomatopoeia, and it's an adverb that can take the と particle. The context goes something like this. There is an object. The object in question is filled with a liquid. The object ...
Micheal Gignac's user avatar
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2 answers
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What's the difference between 今日{きょう} and 本日{ほんじつ}?

I also see both in different examples. As in : 今日は暑い。 本日はおめでとうございます。 Both are translated as "Today", but when and how should I use either one? Can we say : 本日はあつい。 And 今日はおめでとうございます。?
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How do I know when to read the kanji 抱 as 「だ・く」, and when to read it as 「いだ・く」, or even 「うだ・く」?

This sentence was in a grammar textbook: 彼{かれ}は同僚{どうりょう}にライバル意識{いしき}、ひいては殺意{さつい}すら抱いていた ... it means: "He regarded his colleague as a rival, even to the point of considering murder." My ...
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Does ごめん really mean sorry?

Normally ごめんなさい is translated as sorry or excuse me, but that seems like a translation for non-native speakers. In the same way, しつれいします can also be translated as excuse me or pardon me. But it really ...
dotnetN00b's user avatar
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15 votes
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森 vs 林 for forest

According to A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters, 森 (38) is woods and 林 (75) is forest. But some material I've found online related to Japan seems to indicate 森 is the more correct Japanese ...
Huperniketes's user avatar
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How to tell whether a building is マンション or アパート

Given a building, how to classify it as マンション or アパート? Non-subjective set of criteria preferred. In particular, if there is any legal definition of these terms that would be the best. I used to ...
Nicolas Raoul's user avatar
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Fun with synonyms - "eternity"

What are the differences among the following two-kanji words that seem to mean "eternity": 永遠 {えいえん} 永久 {とわ} 永世 {えいせい} 永代 {えいたい} 永劫 {えいごう} 永永 {えいえい} 久遠 {きゅうえん} 悠久 {ゆうきゅう} 恒久 {こうきゅう} 恒常 {こうじょう} 長久 {...
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Does タメ語{ご} mean "casual speech"?

A debate came up on the use of タメ語{ご} in this question, and I thought it was worth its own analysis. The question is, does タメ語 simply mean "casual speech", or does it mean "speech between equals". Or ...
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What does とな mean (and how do I use it)?

I came across this on Twitter, it seems to be mostly a question but sometimes an exclamation. Is it とは, or maybe とか? How do you use it? My dictionary has a とな as word that come at the end of a ...
nevan king's user avatar
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Difference between 創立、設立、樹立

Can anyone explain the difference between the words 創{そう}立{りつ}, 設{せつ}立{りつ} and 樹{じゅ}立{りつ}? They all basically mean "to set up / to found", and from what I've researched, it's all very 微{び}妙{みょう} to ...
istrasci's user avatar
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13 votes
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The different meanings of "life"? 生気/生活/ライフ/生命/一生/人生/命

I was looking through a dictionary and came across 生活. My original question was Is this the difference between 生気/生活? 生気 would be like an idea of life. more abstract 生活 would be concrete. ...
User4516's user avatar
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I can't stand 立つ【た・つ】: Do all its meanings derive from "stand"?

I have an issue with the word 立{た}つ, which is that I get it's basic meaning is "to stand", but I see it used in all sorts of ways that don't make sense to me. Here are some examples, from various ...
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Ancient practise of sneaking into women's bedrooms...?

I was looking up the meaning of スマ婚{こん}, when my mouse happened to roll over the kanji 婚{こん}, and this definition popped up in Rikaichan: 婚 よばい ancient practice of creeping at night into a woman's ...
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Relation between 大学, 学校 and 大学校

These are the specifications, that I do already know: [学校]{がっこう} = school, including [小学校]{しょうがっこう}, [中学校]{ちゅうがっこう}, etc. [大学]{だいがく} = university (used frequently) [大学校]{だいがっこう} = university (not a ...
Matmarbon's user avatar
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What is the meaning of 国の母?

I'm attempting to translate parts of my 完全マスター N2 textbook just for the practice, and even though I've already gotten past this section, the meaning of [国]{くに}の[母]{はは} still eludes me. I don't like ...
Pleiades's user avatar
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What does ただいま actually mean?

I was wondering what the literal translation really means. I've seen it translated as I'm home but I've also seen it in a few situations where the person wasn't arriving home.
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9 votes
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What's the difference between 限界, 限り, 制限 and 限度

While 制限 seems rather straightforward, the others don't seem as easy to pinpoint to me. What are the differences, and in which cases should I one over another?
Daniel Safari's user avatar
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1 answer
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Meaning of 見る in 「1日から2日は見て」

In this JLPT N1 listening practice transcript, a manager at a company is talking to his employee: じゃ、お客様には、私の方からお詫びの電話を入れておくから。番号はこのメモの通りでいいんだよね。君は今すぐ管理部に連絡して、同じ商品の在庫があるか聞いてみて。...
Hikonyan's user avatar
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What is the difference between キャリアウーマン, OL, and ビジネスウーマン?

When I come across the titles キャリアウーマン, OL, and ビジネスウーマン, I seem to have a difficult time picturing what their position is or what they do. I'm wondering if anyone can elaborate on how they are ...
Chris's user avatar
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What is the origin of, and how do I parse 絶対{ぜったい}領域{りょういき}?

絶対{ぜったい}領域{りょういき} is a slang term that refers to the visible bare skin from the bottom of a woman's skirt to the top of her thigh high stockings. Or, short pants and thigh high boots... pick your ...
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What is おもぴろかった

Saw this on twitter: @Daigo19780408 昨日はお疲れ様でした!おもぴろかったです♪( ´▽`) What does おもぴろかった mean? I find words like this all over the place on the net, but I can't figure out what it means, and I can't find ...
language hacker's user avatar
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2 answers
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Interpretation of 注意する: to warn or to be warned?

I'm uncertain about the usage of 注意する in this sentence from Japanese the Manga Way, Chapter 25 page 198. The context is that a woman has noticed the following message written on the back of her ...
Viridian's user avatar
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6 votes
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柄にもない and its connotations

I came across 柄にもない once while reading and since the immediate look-up didn't feel like a full explanation of the phrase, I've been motivated to try and understand it connotations better. In a quick ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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What is 我が身 and how is it justified in this sentence?

First off, I tried looking at the explanation here. However, the reasons for 我が家 don't seem to apply to 我が身. Here is the excerpt that doesn't seem to apply from Jesse Good's post: The above also ...
Chris's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
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Unknown word and strange use of えと

Take the sentence: バッサリいこうぜ!うっとうしいだろ[長]{なげ}えとよ。 The first, from context, I think means "You're gonna get a haircut!" I can't find バッサリ in the dictionary, though. The second probably says "It's ...
johnnd's user avatar
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2 answers
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How do I differentiate all these terms for "illiterate"?

I looked up the word "illiteracy", and was offered many different possibilities. Here they are, with my personal take on the nuance behind their origins: 活字{かつじ}離{ばな}れ ("removed from printing"?) ...
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Does 凝{こ}る mean "absorbed in" or "artistic" in this sentence?

My JLPT textbook gives me this example sentence to explain the meaning of 凝{こ}る: 釣{つ}りに凝{こ}る The book provides a translation, which is, "be absorbed in fishing." Later, in a test question, there ...
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What is the better 表現 of meeting someone unplanned / by chance?

Question I wonder what would be the better way to represent the idea of "meeting someone unplanned / by chance". Or is it just a matter of one's preference? I want the sentence to be least ...
ed9w2in6's user avatar
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The meaning of そう

I know when placed after a verb it means "seems like" or "looks like", but what I want to know is what the そう in そう です か means. I know そう です か means "Is that so?" but I've seen そう used with other ...
Nate's user avatar
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1 answer
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Meaning of Japanese slang phrase「モロです」?

Can somebody provide a explanation of the meaning of the term モロ as used in the phrase 「モロです」? I see references describing もろ/モロ as an adverb meaning "completely" or "totally" but that doesn't seem ...
Guest60221023's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
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meaning of ギッタンギッタン with reference

I tried to add a definition for ギッタンギッタン to JDIC using references on the Internet. http://www.edrdg.org/jmdictdb/cgi-bin/entr.py?e=1907714&svc=jmdict&sid= They're slow to add it (or reject ...
user7576's user avatar