Questions tagged [definitions]

定義. The precise meanings of Japanese words or phrases.

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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。?
Kalzem'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" ...
hippietrail's user avatar
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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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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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"雷{かみなり}" is thunder, or lightning, or both?

In daily conversation, " 雷 " means both the lightning and the accompanying thunder as a single phenomenon, right? At night, I sometimes see lightning on the horizon, but no thunder. That is 雷, right? ...
Wrythe's user avatar
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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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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 ...
Viridian's user avatar
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How can you figure out whether 鍵【かぎ】 means "lock" or "key"?

Recently, I forgot whether 鍵【かぎ】 meant lock or key, so I looked it up quickly on my phone's dictionary... And then I found out that it actually means both. What are the best ways to figure out if ...
atlantiza's user avatar
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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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2 answers
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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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What is Bowser saying in Super Mario RPG? よって! (includes picture)

I'm watching a YouTube video that helps learn Japanese through Mario RPG found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRBRLmhFy-4 I think Bowser is saying something like "I hate how you always ...
Grumpy Bread's user avatar
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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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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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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 ...
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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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1 answer
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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 ...
Questioner's user avatar
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Does 髭 refer to the beard or the moustache?

My dictionary lists 髭 as moustache / beard, but from the example sentences in WWWJDIC, it seems like 髭 is more often used to mean "beard" than "moustache" ? So for example, in this sentence: ...
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What is the meaning and root of 意味くじピーマン?

Recently a friend of mine threw the term 意味くじピーマン (imi kuji pi-man) into a story she was telling, and it totally threw me off. At first I thought, because I wasn't sure how to parse the くじ part, it ...
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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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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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what does 自己PR mean?

I keep coming across this word often 「自己PR」when looking at applications. I'm not sure what the "PR" part means in Japanese, but in English it usually means "public relations". What does this word mean,...
Chris's user avatar
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Can "みたい" mean "want to see"?

Can "みたい" mean "want to see", or does it always mean "looks like"/"seems like"? If not, how would "want to see" be expressed? Specifically, assuming it has both uses, it would seem ambiguous to me ...
Shane's user avatar
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What exactly is ありき?

I think from looking up ありき that it means "based on", but it's usage is unclear to me. I've come across it in these two examples: まずは結論{けつろん}ありき Which I think means "the conclusion is based on ...
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Why can't I say 「電車に遅刻する」?

In the 2012 JLPT-official N4 sample test book, question #34, you are tested on the meaning of the word ちこく. もんだい5 つぎの ことばの つかいかたで いちばん いい ものを 1・2・3・4から ひとつ えらんで ください。 34 ちこく 1 あの とけいは ちょっと ちこくして います。 ...
Hikonyan'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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What's the difference between 世間{せけん} and 世界{せかい}?

Both 世間{せけん} and 世界{せかい} seem to mean "world" in the sense of "a sphere of human activity or interest", or "a particular way of life", and that sort of thing. (As opposed to 地球{ちきゅう}, the literal ...
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11 votes
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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 ...
Questioner's user avatar
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11 votes
3 answers
349 views

How long of a time period does 最近 cover?

Can it cover an entire month? Two?
Louis Waweru's user avatar
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4 answers
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Does 「えらい 」also mean "terrible"?

For over a decade of speaking (poorly) and listening to Japanese, it seems to me that I have almost exclusively heard the word えらい in the sense of meaning "admirable". For example, I'd mention ...
Questioner's user avatar
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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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1 answer
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Why is this 理由 【りゆう】 given the furigana わけ?

It might be hard to read because of the image resolution, but on the cover of this book, on the bottom left side, it says: へんな日本語にも理由がある。 Which means something like: "Even strange Japanese has ...
Questioner's user avatar
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11 votes
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[潔]{いさぎよ}い meaning

Can anyone tell me more about 潔い? I've looked in Goo, Alc, Kenkyusha, and Edict, and the definitions refer to "sportsmanlike", "gracious", or "take it like a man". However, I'm doubtful if these are ...
edwinbradford's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
929 views

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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1 answer
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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.
dotnetN00b's user avatar
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10 votes
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What is the exact definition of 泥棒?

In English: a burglar is usually associated with someone who breaks into a house (victim is usually unaware during the burglary) a robber is usually associated with that person who uses weapons and ...
Pacerier's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
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Fun with synonyms - “flattery"

What are the differences in the following words meaning flattery / to flatter: お世{せ}辞{じ} 追{つい}従{しょう} おべっか 胡{ご}麻{ま}をする 阿{おもね}る 諂{へつら}う 煽{おだ}て(る) 美{び}辞{じ}麗{れい}句{く} Which ones are honest, sincere ...
istrasci's user avatar
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Is 風邪 more than common cold?

Two native speakers were chatting about what kinds of 風邪 can be cured by 抗生物質 (antibiotics). I linked to an English-language study showing that common cold can not be cured by 抗生物質. To which their ...
Nicolas Raoul's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
947 views

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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Does なかなか (with negative verb) mean "by no means" or "considerably"?

WWWJDIC defines なかなか (with negative verb) as by no means But shouldn't it have been considerably ? By no means means 100% not considerably means like 85% not So does なかなか (with negative verb) ...
Pacerier's user avatar
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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
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

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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9 votes
1 answer
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What does "夢プチ" mean?

I'm reading a manga in which a character mentions the following to another character: 今月の"夢プチ"見たよ I'm assuming that "夢プチ" is a play on something but I can't find anything via Google. Both ...
HouseAfloat's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why is ostracism called 村八分【むらはちぶ】?

While doing some reading of old questions, I stumbled upon the term 村八分【むらはちぶ】, which is apparently means ostracism. I'm curious what the 8 parts (八分) are and how this relates to ostracism.
Ringil's user avatar
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What's the difference between 理系{りけい} , 理科{りか}, and 科学{かがく}?

In my dictionary, 理系{りけい}, 理科{りか}, and 科学{かがく} are defined simply as "science". What, if anything, differentiates them? Especially in terms of the feeling or nuance when used in everyday ...
Questioner's user avatar
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8 votes
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What's the difference between 同然 and 同様?

As in the title, what is the difference between these two? dictionary.goo.ne.jp says: 同然: 同じであること。また、そのさま。同様。 同様: 同じであること。ほとんど同じであること。また、そのさま。 and on the 類語 page these two are listed under one entry:...
AyanamiSan's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

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: ...
Flash Trance's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
365 views

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 ...
silvermaple's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
286 views

What does ウ○ク mean in ウ○クの方の、中○、韓○嫌いは異常。?

So, I was looking on OKWAVE, because I wanted to know if anyone is asking about xenophobia in Japan. So there is a question asking, “外国人嫌悪症について、どう思いますか?” This can be translated as “What do you think ...
Micheal Gignac's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
440 views

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 ...
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